• CXC Symposium

2018 CXC Scholarly Symposium

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In the Gutter:
The Public Work of Comics

For the 2018 CXC Symposium we are focusing on how comics enter public spaces to do social, transformative work. Whether in the classroom, the clinic, the library, the community center, or the protest march, comics are not just for private consumption or production anymore - if they ever were. How do comics and their creators adapt to, intervene in, and direct public discourse about pressing contemporary and historical social issues? What gaps in such discourses can the medium and comics professionals fill? And what happens when the medium enters new realms of the public sphere?

This year's Symposium is hosted by Columbus College of Art & Design’s Comics & Narrative Practice program and by the Ohio State University’s Popular Culture Studies program, in partnership with the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, Sol-Con: the Brown + Black Comics Expo, and the Comics Studies Society.

DRAFT SCHEDULE

DAY 1 (Thursday September 27th)

8-9:00 COFFEE

9:00 Welcome

9:15-10:30 Panel 1: Graphic Accounts: Comics History & Resistance (Chair: Jared Gardner)

  • Elizabeth Nijdam, “Towards a Graphic Historicity: Authenticity and Photography in the German Graphic Novel”
  • Brittany Tullis, “Race, Immigration, and Latinidad in the Jim Crow South: Comics as Testimony in Lila Quintero Weaver’s Darkroom
  • Arturo Meijide Lapido, “Graphic Narration and Social Resistance in Prior and Rubin’s Gran Hotel Abismo (2016)”

10:45-12:15 Panel 2: Comics Histories: Contexts for the Medium (Chair: Margaret Flinn)

  • Ian Gordon, “The Australian Underground Comix of the 1970s”
  • Nhora Serrano, “Columbia Calls: Public Discourse and Feminine Visuality”
  • Tammy Clewell, “Beyond Morale Boosting: British First World War Cartoons”
  • Alexander Beringer, “Bohemianism and the Radical History of the 19th Century American Comic Strip”

LUNCH 12:15-1:30

1:30-2:45 Panel 3: Editorial Agendas: Comics Journalism & Activism (Chair: Joshua Anderson)

  • Daniel Worden, “Oil Comics: Corporate Relations, Speculation, and Climate Change”
  • Susan Kirtley “Sacco’s Comic Book Campaign: Rent Crisis”
  • David Allan Duncan, “On-Location with The Nib: Young Cartoonists on the Frontline of Editorial Cartooning”

2:45-3:15 coffee

3:15-4:45 Panel 4: Comics Publics: Assembling the Medium

  • Carlotta Vacchelli, “Luca Enoch’s Gea. Refounding Multiethnicity in the Multiverse”
  • Hannah Hurley, “Avengers Sassemble!: The Noncompliant Counterpublics of Contemporary Comics Back Matter”
  • Nick Miller, “Mind the Glitch: ‘Hacking’ the Visual Aesthetics of Mental Illness in Marvel’s The New Mutants and FX’s Legion
  • Jenny Blenk, “The Politics of Feminism and Silence in Georgia Webber's Dumb

SÕL-CON RECEPTION (4 – 7PM) Hale Hall | 154 W. 12th Ave.


Day 2 (Saturday September 29th)

9:30-11:00 Panel 5: Activating the Medium: A Comics Activism Roundtable (Chair: Jeremy Stoll)

  • Leah Misemer
  • Margaret Galvan
  • Laurenn McCubbin
  • Whitney Taylor

11:15- 12:30 Panel 6: Educating Comics: Teaching and Curation

  • Wesley Cray, “Some Refections on Fun Home, Duke University, Pornography, and Pedagogy”
  • Liz Laribee, “Participatory Design at the Smithsonian: a Comic Book Pathfinder for the Digital Archives”
  • Evan Keeling,“Comics In Museum Education: Tackling Difficult and Complex Subjects”

LUNCH 12:30-1:30

1:45-3 Panel 7: Comics Practice: Methods of Engagement

  • Christopher Sperandio, “The Social Practice Comics of Grennan and Sperandio”
  • Mauricio Espinoza, “‘Educating and Challenging’: The Publicly Engaged Graphic Art of Eric J. García”
  • Jeremy Stoll, "Drawn Alongside: An Ethnographic Approach to Comics"


3:15-4:45 Panel 8: Drawing Injustice: Activism & Artistry (Chair: Rachel Miller)

  • Jason Rodriguez (et al.?), “Comics As Empowerment for Latinx Teenagers”
  • Emily Lewis, Jenny Blenk, and Melanie Stevens, “Miss Anthology: Operating a Nonprofit Comics Anthology in the Portland Community”
  • Eric J. García, "Beyond the Page: Infiltrating Every Space for Critical Dialogue"
  • Nate Powell


Alex Beringer is an associate professor at the University of Montevallo where he teaches and researches nineteenth century American literature, visual culture, and comics. His research has appeared in publications including American Literature, Arizona Quarterly, and Studies in American Fiction. He is currently at work on a book project about American comic strips between 1830-1870.

Jenny Blenk earned her MA in English Literature and a certificate in Comics Studies from Portland State University. She is an Assistant Editor at Dark Horse Comics as well as the Editor and co-Coordinator of Miss Anthology. Her area of expertise lies in disability representation and graphic medicine. Jenny lives in Milwaukie, OR with her partner, five houseplants, and a little black rabbit named Bernadette. 

Tammy Clewell is Professor of English at Kent State University. She is author of Mourning, Modernism, Postmodernism (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013) and editor of Modernism and Nostalgia: Bodies, Locations, Aesthetics (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013). Her essays have appeared in such journals as PMLA, Modern Fiction Studies, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Wesley D. Cray received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Ohio State University in 2012, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Texas Christian University. His articles have appeared in journals such as The Journal of Aesthetics and Art CriticismThe British Journal of Aesthetics, and Contemporary Aesthetics. He is currently teaching Philosophy and Comics at TCU and working on a book, Philosophy of Comics: An Introduction, co-authored with Sam Cowling (Denison University) and under contract with Bloomsbury Press.

David Allan Duncan (who goes by Duncan) is Professor of Sequential Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design where he teaches comics history, theory & practices, hand-lettering, mini-comics, and Franco-Belgian comics. He makes comics, writes papers, runs an annual mini-comics expo, gives workshops, and travels to conventions and conferences. He can be found online at www.gobnobble.com

Mauricio Espinoza is assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Cincinnati. He holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Literatures and Cultures from The Ohio State University. His research and publications focus on Latin American/Latino comics and film, Central American migration narrative and poetry, and Latin American immigrant communities. His research on graphic narrative has appeared in the journals Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature and Hispanet; and the anthologies The Routledge Companion to Gender, Sex and Latin American Culture (Routledge, 2018), Between Love & Madness: Mexican Comic Art of the 1970s (Rice University, 2017), Graphic Borders: Latino Comics Past, Present, and Future (University of Texas Press, 2016), and Heroines of Comic Books and Literature: Portrayals in Popular Culture (Scarecrow Press, 2014).

Margaret Galvan
is Assistant Professor of Visual Rhetoric in the Department of English at the University of Florida. She is at work on a book, In Visible Archives of the 1980s, under contract with the University of Minnesota Press, which traces a genealogy of queer theory in 1980s feminism through representations of sexuality in visual culture. Her published work, which analyzes comics through intersectional approaches, can be found in journals like Australian Feminist Studies, WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, Archive Journal, American Literature, and Journal of Lesbian Studies. See margaretgalvan.org for more information.

Eric J. Garcia is known for mixing history and culture with contemporary themes, always trying to create art that is much more than just aesthetics.  Received his BFA with a minor in Chicano studies from the University of New Mexico, Garcia went on to completed his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has shown in numerous national exhibitions and his artwork can found in the collections of The National Hispanic Cultural Center, National Museum of Mexican Art, and The Art Institute of Chicago.  A versatile artist working in an assortment of media, from murals, to sculptural installations, to his controversial political cartoon series El Machete Illustrated, they all have a common goal of educating and challenging. 

Ian Gordon’s most recent books are Superman: The Persistence of an American Icon (2017)the Eisner nominated The Comics of Charles Schultz (2017) co-edited with Jared Gardner, and Ben Katchor Conversations (2018). His other works include Kid Comic Strips: A Genre Across Four Countries (2016) and Comic Strips and Consumer Culture(1998). He teaches cultural history and American Studies at the National University of Singapore where he is the Head of the Department of History. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Australasian Journal of American Studies, ImageText, Inks, the International Journal of Comics, the Journal of American History, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Popular Communication, and Studies in Comics.

Susan Kirtley is a Professor of English, the Director of Rhetoric and Composition, and the Director of Comics Studies at Portland State University.  Her research interests include visual rhetoric and graphic narratives, and she has published pieces on comics for the popular press and academic journals.  Her book, Lynda Barry: Girlhood through the Looking Glass, was the 2013 Eisner winner for Best Educational/Academic work.  She served as a judge for the 2015 Eisner Awards and is currently the Secretary for the Comics Studies Society and a member of the Executive Group on Graphic Narratives for the Modern Language Association.
Liz Laribee is an Educator with Smithsonian Libraries. She holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from University of Maryland, with a specialization in Diversity and Inclusion. Before moving to the DC area in 2016, Liz had launched The MakeSpace Arts Collective, Sprocket Mural Arts, and DCBA Lawyers for the Arts in Harrisburg, PA. While there, she was granted the Spectrum Arts Award, the YWCA Emerging Leader Award, and the title of Artist in Residency for the City of Harrisburg.   She has taught writing and art-making to children in and out of the classroom for fifteen years, and she has used that experience in helping shape interdisciplinary programs for young audiences though Smithsonian Libraries. She lives in Northern Virginia, happily.

Nicholas E. Miller is an Assistant Professor of English at Valdosta State University, where he teaches multicultural American literature, gender and a/sexuality studies, and comics studies. His recent publications include “Asexuality and Its Discontents: Making the ‘Invisible Orientation’ Visible in Comics,” published in Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society, and “‘Now That It’s Just Us Girls’: Transmedial Feminisms from Archie to Riverdale,” published in Feminist Media Histories. In addition to his scheduled presentation at CXC, Miller is currently working on a book chapter that examines the queer politics of Marvel’s Dazzler and an essay on plural sovereignties and mixed-race mutations in FX’s Legion.

Leah Misemer is a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgia Tech where she serves as the Assistant Director for the Communication Center and teaches first year writing. She has published in Forum for World Literature Studies and Composition Studies, and has a forthcoming article on Wimmen’s Comix in the special issue of Inks on the “Counterpublics of Underground Comix” she co-edited with fellow panelist Margaret Galvan. She is at work on two book projects: an edited collection of Lynda Barry interviews for the Conversations series at University of Mississippi Press, and a monograph that explores how marginalized audiences use serial comics to form communities, tentatively titled Comics Correspondence: The Counterpublics of Seriality, under contract with the Ohio State University Press. She currently serves as Member at Large for the Comics Studies Society.

Jason Rodriguez is an Eisner and Harvey Award–nominated writer and editor. Jason specializes in editing comic anthologies focusing on history and social justice, including Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750 (Fulcrum, 2014), Artists against Police Brutality (Rosarium, 2015), Colonial Comics: New England, 1750-1775 (Fulcrum, 2017), and Voces Sin Fronteras (Shout Mouse Press, 2018). Jason lives in Arlington, VA.

Nhora Lucía Serrano is presently the Mellon Press Diversity Fellow at the MIT Press. Previously, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Hamilton College and a Visiting Scholar of Comparative Literature at Harvard University. Originally from Colombia, Dr.Serrano is a trained Medieval And Renaissance Studies scholar who specializes in the interplay between image and word in illuminated manuscripts, illustrated texts, editorial cartoons, and the book arts in Latin America, France, and the Anglophone world. As a visual culture and transatlantic studies scholar, her comics research and teaching firmly centers on interdisciplinary topics: comics in/about museums, world fairs, and art; im/migration and the editorial cartoon; the figure of Columbia; Latin American and US Latinx Comics. Dr. Serrano was selected as a 2018 Eisner Awards judge, and is currently the Treasurer of the Comics Studies Society. From 2014-2018, she served on the MLA Executive Forum on Comics and Graphic Narratives. In 2014 Dr. Serrano was awarded a Smithsonian National Postal Museum fellowship for her project on the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair postage stamps, which she in turn related to Chris Ware’s work. Also, Serrano was a recent recipient of a Special Collections fellowship at Hamilton, where she is studying the George Cruikshank collection as well as Gus Arriola’s Gordo . During the summer 2017, she was selected to participate in a NEH institute where she researched Chicago Tribune cartoons by John McCutcheon, Clare Briggs, Sidney Smith, Frank King, and W.W. Denslow. An author of several visual studies, medieval and renaissance studies, and comics studies articles and encyclopedia entries, and co-editor of Curious Collectors, Collected Curiosities: An Interdisciplinary Study (2010), Serrano’s edited anthology Immigrants and Comics: Graphic Spaces of Remembrance, Transaction, and Mimesis (Routledge) will be forthcoming in 2019.

Christopher Sperandio’s work operates in the numerous margins between mass and museum cultures, taking a variety of forms including comics and books, games, temporary sculptures, painted installations, television, billboards and digital media, all usually featuring a public involvement component, in the form of open calls, canvassing, or workshops. Commissioning institutions include: MoMA/PS1, the Public Art Fund, Creative Time, London's Institute of Contemporary Art, Project Row Houses, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, and DC Comics. He is Associate Professor of Art at Rice University, and the Founder and Director of the Comic Art Teaching and Study Workshop, a hybrid learning and research space, online at cats.rice.edu

Brittany Tullis is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Women and Gender Studies at St. Ambrose University. Her work, which revolves around Transamerican comics and cultural studies, appears in Hispanic Issues On Line, the International Journal of Comic Art, and Comics Studies: Here and Now. She is co-editor/contributing author of the 2018 Eisner Award nominee Picturing Childhood: Youth in Transnational Comics (with Mark Heimermann), and currently serves as Academic Director of the International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF).

Carlotta Vacchelli is a PhD student, Associate Instructor and Graduate Assistant in the Department of French and Italian, Indiana University, Bloomington. In 2015 she completed her MA in Italian Philology at the University of Pavia. Her final thesis won the Graduate Student Award held by the International Association Dino Buzzati. In 2017, she completed her second MA at Indiana University, Bloomington. She published articles, chapters, and reviews in the field of Italian Cinema and Comics. Her PhD research project focuses on Italian dystopian comics.

Daniel Worden is Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is the author of Masculine Style: The American West and Literary Modernism, the editor of The Comics of Joe Sacco: Journalism in a Visual World, and the coeditor of Oil Culture and Postmodern/Postwar & After: Rethinking American Literature. He is currently at work on an edited volume titled The Comics of R. Crumb: Underground in the Art Museum, and a new research project on oil's literal and aesthetic connections to comics.