Call for Papers for a Special issue Authorship: Comics and Authorship (deadline 31st July 2017)

Self portrait by comic artist Joe Decie

Self portrait by comic artist Joe Decie, the first in a number of British artist self portraits found on the Comic Artist Self Portraits tumblr

The open-access journal Authorship has issued a Call for Papers around the subject of Comics and Authorship. Here are the details…

The comic book, recently legitimized through the graphic novel phenomenon while remaining anchored in popular culture, can provide unique insights into issues surrounding authorship. Although comics scholarship has explored autobiographical comics and the strategies for authorial self-fashioning of individual canonized comics artists and writers, the complex and protean concept of comic book authorship remains by and large overlooked.

Self Portrait - Moebius

Self Portrait – Moebius

Analyses of the changing notions of authorship, their contextualisation and implications-aesthetic, political, economic-across different comics genres and formats can provide answers to key questions such as:

  • How do different techniques and styles mould conceptions of the author?
  • Who is the author in large franchises and studio collaborations?
  • What are the claims to authorship of vital but often overlooked mediators such as letterers and inkers?
  • How do conceptions of authorship vary with publishing format (serial comic book, graphic novel, syndicated comic strip, self-published fanzine)?

In this special issue dedicated to comics, the open-access journal Authorship seeks to specify the range and potential of the terrain covered by comics and authorship through bringing together papers on the following aspects:

  • Roles encompassed by the notion of authorship in comics (writer, artist, letterer, inker, penciller)
  • Differences in constructions of authorship across formats, genres, cultures and history
  • Self-creation of author (and auteur) personas through paratextual elements
  • Self-reflection on authorship in comics, cartoons and graphic novels
  • Issues of authorship raised by adaptations of comics in other media such as novels and films

Authorship aims to offer a venue in which to describe diverse historical and discursive settings of authorship, and to grapple with the complex issues of authorial authority, independence or interdependence, and self-fashioning.

A marvellous take on self Portraits from Simon Gurr:

A marvellous take on self Portraits from Simon Gurr. Gurr Illustration is a partnership concentrating on educational and narrative graphics. Formed by Julia and Simon Gurr in 2007, the studio is located in Bristol.

“The Romantic or New Critical concept of the solitary genius or auteur (if indeed such an entity ever existed at all) has for decades now been the subject of intense critical scrutiny and revision,” the editorial team explain on their web site. “As a result, what the general public might once have thought of as authorial agency is now submerged in an elaborate tissue of critical feedback, textual instability, editorial intervention, and accidents of publishing, branding, and spin.

“And yet the Author persists, as a nomenclature, as a catalogue entry, as a biographical entity, as a popular icon, and as an assumed agent of creativity and innovation. In analyzing cultural formations of ‘authoriality’ as they developed historically, over a long period of time and in a variety of geographical locations, in relation to cultural networks and social change, to transformations of the media, as well as to changing perceptions of gender and personhood, Authorship hopes to foster a more refined and precise theoretical and historical understanding of the complex ideological, technological and social processes that transform a writer into an author.

“We therefore welcome articles in on the cultural performance of authorship in any contemporary or historical literary milieu. We try to accommodate all languages, and can handle submissions in Dutch, English, French, German, modern Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Scandinavian languages. If you have a submission for us in another language, please do contact us, so we may evaluate our ability to process it.”

• Please send articles (ca. 5000 words) and direct queries to Dr Maaheen Ahmed ( by 31 July 2017. The special issue will be published in December 2017. Author guidelines can be consulted here

Comic Artist Self Portraits tumblr – features mainly British comic artists including Rachael Smith, Marc Ellerby, Steve Tillotson and more, created back in 2014

Art © Joe Decie | Jean Giraud | Simon Gurr

Categories: Comics Education News, Comics Studies, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

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