Remembered Reading, a reader’s history exploring the forgotten genre of British girls’ comics by Dr Mel Gibson, has just been published by Leuven Univeristy Press.
Girls’ comics were a major genre from the 1950s onwards in Britain. The most popular titles sold between 800,000 and a million copies a week. However, this genre was slowly replaced by magazines which now dominate publishing for girls.
Remembered Reading is a readers’ history which explores the genre, and memories of those comics, looking at how and why this rich history has been forgotten.
Dr Mel Gibson’s research is based around both analysis of what the titles contained and interviews with women about their childhood comic reading. In addition, it also looks at the other comic books that British girls engaged with, including humour comics and superhero titles. In doing so it looks at intersections of class, girlhood, and genre, and puts comic reading into historical, cultural, and educational context.
Mel – one of the presenters at this year’s Lakes International Comic Arts Festival – is a UK based comics scholar and consultant who’s run training and promotional events about comics, manga and graphic novels for libraries, schools and other organizations since 1993, when she contributed to Graphic Account on developing graphic novels collections for 16-25 year olds, published by the Youth Libraries Group.
She runs also training events on working with young adults in libraries and working with picture books.>As a Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University specialising in teaching and research relating to children and young people, she has a huge interest in visual literacies. She is a National Teaching Fellow and writes about Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in the UK. This writing has also encompassed advising on successfully completing a Humanities PhD in Britain. Tome Reader, located on Mel’s website offers support, guidance and humour about this particular academic challenge.
Mel’s doctoral thesis was on British women’s memories of their girlhood comics reading, which ties in to her training work, and her MA thesis also focused on comics. She has published a number of articles and chapters related to this research and about other aspects of comics, graphic novels and manga. She has presented papers at many conferences and has been involved in organising strands on comics, pedagogy and visual literacies.
Mel has also worked extensively with television and radio, promoting and enthusing about comics, graphic novels and manga, including the BBC4 series Comics Britannia.
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