comics in literary culture

Comics in literary culture are often treated as inferior genre work

As comics continue to gain increasing prominence as legitimate books, journalism, and writing, what role do they play in literature?

In Canada, graphic novels and comics most often fall under the same guidelines for written works in terms of grants, publishers, reviews and literary magazine submissions, yet many literary journals (The Puritan included) and publishers still reject graphic content solely based on its format. Most comics are published by a handful of specialty publishers and many readers, critics, and teachers still consider the medium to be beneath them or a sort of genre fiction. The fact that many comics creators come from backgrounds in the visual arts also underscores this disconnect.

How do comics creators then fit into the literary landscape in Canada or internationally? What does it mean to hold visual works to the same standards as written works? How should Canadian literary culture change to better accommodate writers/artists working in less traditional media?

As the guest editor for The Town Crier blog for February, I’m excited to bring together a month of coverage on the place of comics and graphic works in the lit scene and literary criticism of graphic works. I’m a comics creator, writer, and editor who has self-published, published work in Canadian and international comics and literary journals for over a decade, and worked in the media for eight years.

I am interested in seeing works of or about comics criticism, interviews, comparative reviews, and works dealing with issues of intersectionality in comics criticism (personal stories from minority writers included). For examples of graphic criticism, please take a glimpse at these reviews from LARB, including “MariNaomi on On Loving Women” and “Austin English on This One Summer.

Completed submissions should be articles of 500 words and up, or short graphic pieces (length to be discussed individually).

Topics I’d be particularly interested in seeing submissions on include:

  • feminist comics criticism
  • race in comics
  • articles on comics culture in other parts of the world (international submissions encouraged)
  • comparisons of comics culture in Quebec and the rest of Canada
  • graphic reviews/ graphic criticism
  • interviews

Deadline for proposals is January 25, 2016.

Please send proposals with the subject line “Town Crier Comics” to towncrieronline [at] gmail.com.

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