Comics Grid Special Issue

The comics grid
special issue

Conjuring a New Normal: Monstrous Routines and Mundane Horrors in Pandemic Lives and Dreamscapes

The Comics Grid: Special Issue

Call for Papers

Deadline: April 2022

This special collection will focus on the C19 pandemic in contemporary comics and explore medium-specific potentials and limits in conveying these. The pandemic has revealed ominous and unnerving risks previously buried in our everyday events and lives. It has changed the ways we congregate for rituals like wedding and funerals and altered mundane routines from supermarket shopping to getting haircuts. 

A constant spectre of debt and fears of losing both loved ones and livelihoods – homes, jobs and social lives – lurk behind any attempt at building a new normal. Meanwhile, collective anxiety and living in constant states of uncertainty have led to the mass disruption of sleep patterns as we are haunted by future worries and the ghosts of past traumas. We invite submissions that explore how comics and their creators have attempted to convey the strangeness and experience of these times. Suggested themes include (but are not limited to):  
  • old and new monsters: disease, politics
  • masks, PPE, uniformity
  • transgression and border-crossing: anti-maskers, protests
  • othering: racism, blame, segregation
  • technological overload, data surveillance
  • medical contexts and treatments
  • essential workers and nightmarish environments
  • vulnerability (physical, mental, economic)
  • paranoia, uncertainty, the unknown
  • silence, exclusion, isolation
  • sequentiality and repetition
  • fragmentations, breakdowns, deconstructions
  • hauntings (of loneliness, ghosts of old lives)
  • excesses and absences (of time, consumption, socialisation)
  • gaps and gutters: buried memories, hidden populations, silenced voices
  • emergent platforms for comics creation and distribution
  • intertextual metaphors (The Shining, The Stand, Groundhog Day)
  • emergent signifiers and terminology, metonymy, synecdoche
In following the mission of the journal, we are looking for contributions that engage with the unique attributes of the comics medium. We are particularly keen on receiving research article submissions (rather than other formats such as reviews or interviews). We especially invite research on underrepresented comics, LGBTQ+ comics, women’s comics, and comics by BAME/BIPOC creators. Contributions may use any relevant methodology to address the topic and should follow the journal’s guidelines for submissions. For further information please see https://www.comicsgrid.com/.

Peer review will be double blind and we aim to bring together review teams of comics studies scholars and experts from other disciplines relevant to submissions. We also welcome suggestions of experts we could invite as reviewers in your area of research. For full submissions information, please go to https://www.comicsgrid.com/about/submissions/. Please note that The Comics Grid does not consider submissions on the basis of abstracts only; we only receive and consider full versions of submissions via our journal management system.

Peer review will be double blind and we aim to bring together review teams of comics studies scholars and experts from other disciplines relevant to submissions. We also welcome suggestions of experts we could invite as reviewers in your area of research. For full submissions information, please go to https://www.comicsgrid.com/about/submissions/. Please note that The Comics Grid does not consider submissions on the basis of abstracts only; we only receive and consider full versions of submissions via our journal management system.

Editors:
Anna Feigenbaum Administrator
Associate Professor in Communication and Digital Media

I am a writer, researcher, teacher and workshop leader specialising in data storytelling for civic good. From digging into dusty archives to data visualising absent deaths, I am drawn to the difficult, the messy, the ethically challenging questions that exist around the edges of debates over how we tell stories with science and data. As a consultant and trainer, I collaborate with charities, NGOs, Public Health organisations, investigative journalists and other researchers to explore empathetic and effective ways to tell data stories. I believe that it is often those without access to big budgets and fancy tools that hold the data stories we most need to change the world.

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Doctoral researcher and Research Illustrator

My PhD, titled Graphic Medicine Exhibited: Public Engagement with Comics in Curatorial Practice and Visitor Experience since 2010, explores the intersections of the comics medium, health, and exhibition to understand potential methodological approaches and sociocultural values of these experiences. My collaborative projects, namely with Dr Anna Feigenbaum and Aria Alamalhodaei, have explored such topics as public health, data storytelling and visualisation, comics (graphic medicine, graphic social science, data comics), and creative-led knowledge exchange. As a research illustrator I have worked on a number of projects, including the recent The Data Storytelling Workbook (Routledge 2020) and two COVID-19 webcomics.As a curator, I explore how different media, such as comics and zines, can create more emotive connections between different cultures, place, and timecontribute towards decolonisation, and foster social justice and care in upcoming museum professionals. 

Julia Round Author
Principal Lecturer in Communication , Bournemouth University

My research examines the intersections of Gothic, comics and children’s literature, which I’ve written about in my books Gothic for Girls: Misty and British Comics (2019, winner of the Broken Frontier Award for Best Book on Comics) and Gothic in Comics and Graphic Novels (2014). Gothic adapts to suit its time, and I’m interested in using my research to explore how its themes and archetypes appear in stories of the pandemic. How are isolation and anxiety conveyed? What metaphors of monstrosity and evil recur when we talk about illness and disease? What might our COVID vampires or zombies be like?