Comics Scholars Survey Results, November 1995

compiled by Peter M. Coogan

K. Organizational
K.1. What comics related organizations exist?

Besides the Popular Culture Association, both national and regional, the only organizations mentioned were the Association of Comics Enthusiasts, a British fan organization interested in pre-1950s comics and John Lent's Comic Art Working Group of the International Association for Mass Communication Research. Douglas Hig hsmith noted that he is the current chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries' Discussion Group on Popular Culture and Libraries.

K.2. In what other organizations and associations are comics studied, and which ones accept comics related papers at their meetings?

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), the Speech Communication Association (SCA), the American Journalism Historians Associations, and the Southern States Communication Associati on were mentioned. Ian Gordon gave a paper at the Organization of American Historians' annual meting in 1993 and gave one in 1991 at the American Studies Association and also at the American Association of Australian Literary Studies.

Martin Barker said that in England cultural studies and media studies conferences accept papers, and that teachers' organizations were showing a rising level of interest.

The Comics Arts Conference is designed to bring together comics scholars, practitioners, critics, and historians who want to be involved in the dynamic process of evolving an aesthetic and a criticism of the comics medium. The CAC has met in San Diego (92-93, 96) and Chicago (94-95). The organizers have plans to take it to other cities and comicons.

On the reverse side Luca Somigli's panel "Comics: The Final Frontier of Academia?" was rejected by the MLA because his proposal "academicizes this subject in just the wrong way." Luca's reaction, "Dogmatism, anyone?" just about sums it up.

K.3. Would you support a comics organization or newsletter to inform you about what is being studied and done?

The respondents enthusiastically supported these ideas. I plan to continue the Comic Art Studies newsletter and to see that it con tinues when or if I leave MSU. We have been publishing the Comics Scholars Directory for the last two years (see the form at the end) and will continue to update it. I should soon have a comics scholars email discussion list up and running.

Guillaume de Syon fears that a new organization could cause fragmentation in the field of Popular Culture studies, and brings up the issue of who would dominate the organization, "artists, post-modern scholars, Marvel enthusiasts, or would there be more su bgroups?" Currently I am working on forming a Comics Arts Council, a non-profit, tax deductible organization to coordinate communication about comics and comics scholarship. It would be a clearing house of information about comics studies, both Ame rican and international, broadly defined. My plan is for the advisory board to contain professionals, scholars, and fans, and for the membership to be as broad and as deep as possible, in the industry, the academy, and fandom.

At the 1995 Popular Culture Association a discussion occurred about forming a Comics Studies Association. Gene Kannenberg and Charles Hatfield are working on forming this institution.

Back to the Introduction and Survey Outline