Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics plans Superhero Issue

Wonder Woman 2010
– designed by Jim Lee

The academic comics publication Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics has issued a call for papers for a special issue of the twice-yearly title that will focus on ‘Gender and Superheroes’.

“The superhero genre dominates the comics industry with representations of hypermuscular action men or sexy women wearing costumes that show off their near naked bodies,” editors Dave Huxley and Joan Ormrod note in their appeal.

“There are examples of more diverse approaches to both creating and analysing these figures but they remain, as yet, in the minority.

“Much of this work is produced by mainly male creators for similarly constructed audiences. Superheroes pervade all contemporary mass media and there has been a plethora of publication in this genre in recent years.

“We are, therefore, proposing a special issue in which this topic can be examined in a more sustained manner.”

Trina Robbins work on women superheroes uncovers a rich history of characters and creators, while Angela Ndalianis’s two edited collections of essays (Super/Heroes and The Contemporary Comic Book Superhero, published by Routledge last year), the latter contains essays by Karen Healey and Clare Pitkethly on female superhero fans (“fangirls”) and on Wonder Woman, respectively.

The editors of the magazine feel Lillian Robinson’s book Wonder Women: Feminisms and Superheroes is certainly relevant to the continued debate, and Wonder Woman is also the focus of Jennifer K Stuller’s survey of popular cultural representations of strong women, Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors, published by I B Tauris earlier this year as might be Roz Kaveney’s Superheroes!: Capes and Crusaders in Comics and Films.

“Clearly, given the continuing fascination with superheroes, there is rich potential in discussing gender and superheroes as evidenced by a significant proportion of papers submitted to the journal in recent months,” say the editors.

The Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics is a peer reviewed journal covering all aspects of the graphic novel, comic strip and comic book, with the emphasis on comics in their cultural, institutional and creative contexts. Its scope is international, covering not only English language comics but also worldwide comic culture. The journal reflects interdisciplinary research in comics and aims to establish a dialogue between academics, historians, theoreticians and practitioners of comics. It therefore examines the production and consumption of comics within the contexts of culture: art, cinema, television and new media technologies.

Submissions are invited of papers 5000-7000 words by 15th December 2011 relating but not limited to the following topics:

Wonder Woman revamped – 1968.
The cover of Wonder Woman #178.
Art by Mike Sekowsky (pencils) and
Dick Giordano (inks).
© DC Comics

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• Representation

– Representing gender: masculinity, femininity, gay, transvestite superheroes – transgression or queer readings)
– The superhero/ine body (Superheroes in other nations, for example, British, Indian or Latin American superheroes and how they hail transnational and national identities)
– Representing superheroes in comics (for example, Love and Rockets, Kim Dietch’s The Cat)
– Revisioning of the character (for instance, the reworking of Catwoman)

• Theoretical issues

– Feminist theory and gendered identities – Judith Butler
– Gaze and psychoanalytic
– Class and the superhero

• Audiences

– Manga superheroes and their audiences
– Girls reading superheroes
– Fan production – slash fiction, changing gendered identities for instance

• History and Industry•>
– Online comics – fan production or industrial production
– Tracing specific characters within an industrial context
– Creators representations of gender (for example, Alan Moore’s Promethea or Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles)

Read the full call for papers for more information or download the PDF using this link

If you are submitting an article please remember to check the Journal’s format guidelines and obtain agreement from copyright holders for any images you plan to use. If you have queries about this then contact the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics website for clarification. The magazine can publish black and white or colour images.

• Any queries about the issue should be sent to either Dave Huxley or Joan Ormrod

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