Call for Papers: International Conference of Graphic Novels and Comics

A Call For Papers for the Joint International Conference of Graphic Novels and Comics and 20th Anniversary of the International Bande dessinée Society at Manchester Metropolitan University next June has just been announced.

Taking place 24th -28th June 2019 the conference theme will be “Storyworlds and Transmedia Universes“.

The notion of a storyworld, or a shared universe within which the settings, characters, objects, events, and actions of one or more narrative are present, existed long before the present day media.  Examples include myths and legends of antiquity, folktales and Arthurian romances.  Today’s storyworlds, described in 2012 by Mark Wolf as, “transnarrative, transmedia, and transauthorial in nature”, open up fresh opportunities.

Storyworlds have found a fertile terrain in comic strips and graphic novels, given that the text/ images form provides narratives dedicated to specific characters, times and places; these narratives are often used as source material for adaptations in film, games and broadcast media.

Consequently creators, fans and corporations can interact with other forms beyond comics, thereby developing characters and narratives, as well as exploring new storytelling methods.

The possibilities seem almost infinite. Storyworlds may relate to Marvel’s and DC’s extended universes of the future.  They can be adapted or constructed from half-remembered myths and legends, as in Isabel Greenberg’s Encyclopedia of Early Earth.  Some storyworlds (for example, the manga Barefoot Gen) reveal historical events from individual perspectives.  Others recount alternate histories (the Gallo-Roman era in Asterix by Goscinny and Uderzo for instance, or the Belle Epoque with Adèle Blanc-Sec by Tardi).

Still others offer parallel worlds such as Clockwatch Watch by Yomi Ayeni, a collaboratively created storyworld involving fandom), or the ‘Sword and Sorcery’ parody Donjon, started by Sfar and Trondheim, which invites contributions from other artists and has given rise to numerous side projects.

This Call For Papers is based on the place of comics and graphic novels in constructing or adapting stories, as well as on techniques for creating storyworlds.

This conference will also mark the 20th Anniversary of the first International Bande dessinée meeting in 1999. Reflections on the critical reception of comics and bande dessinées over the past two decades would be welcome.

The organisers are therefore looking for 20 minute long papers about comics/graphic novels from all over the world, which are themed around, but not limited to, any of the following:

  • Storyworlds in comic strip history
  • Storyworlds and transmedia universe creation/iterations of characters
  • Authorial voices in multiple authored texts
  • Copyright and ownership issues
  • Fandom creators/ creations
  • Comic book serialization of other transmedial universes (eg: Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • Alternative histories and parallel universes
  • Reboots and revisions
  • Comics and myth-making
  • How storyworlds are constructed.

Reference: Wolf, Mark J. P. (2012) Building Imaginary Worlds: The Theory and History of Subcreation. (New York, London: Routledge).

• Please send your abstracts (150-200 words) and bios (up to 100 words) to by 1st February 2019

• For further information please contact the Organising Committee:  Joan Ormrod –;  Matthew Screech –;  David Huxley –;  Chris Murray –;  Julia Round –;  or Laurence Grove –

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