Join us to celebrate the publication of "The Comics Studies Multiverse: Graphic Transformations in Education and Culture," Vol. 32 of Works & Days.
A special journal launch party will take place on Thursday, October 22, 2015, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Breezedale. This journal issue was co-edited by Alex Romagnoli, of Monmouth University, and Gian Pagnucci, chair of the IUP English Department. The issue features 22 articles by 26 different scholars. This interdisciplinary issue features articles by scholars from the fields of English, criminal justice, education, history, and mathematics. Attendees of this event will have the chance to:
• Hear from the authors
• Enjoy hors d'oeuvres and desserts
• Get free issues of Works & Days
• Collect scholar autographs
• Talk about comic books and graphic novels
The "Comics Studies Multiverse" Launch Party will include guest appearances by a number of IUP faculty and graduate students featured in this issue of Works and Days:
• John Branscum
• Brian Burke
• Jonathon Cooper
• Brandon Galm
• Oriana Gatta
• Tanya Heflin
• Chris Kuipers
• John Marsden
• Scott Moore
• Edel Reilly
• Steven Schroeder
The "Comics Studies Multiverse" issue argues that comic books and graphic novels are becoming increasingly important as tools for educational study. The issue looks at this phenomenon across multiple disciplines. The issue also defends Comics Studies as an important field of inquiry, and argues that more academics should explore comics since they offer a powerful way to connect with contemporary culture and today's students.
Here is a brief expert from the issue's introduction, "Rebooting the Academy:
Why Universities Need to Finally Start Taking Comic Books Seriously" by Gian Pagnucci and Alex Romagnoli:
"Has the age of the comic book dawned at last? Comic book superheroes dominate movie theatres across the land. The Walking Dead scares millions on television while others tune in to Gotham City. Clothing stores are filled with t-shirts bearing Superman's "S" and the Bat symbol. And book stores now hold large graphic novel sections while comic book style novels like Captain Underpants (Pilkey, 1997) and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Kinney, 2007) are best sellers.
Yet for all the excitement that comic books and comic book based ideas have generated in popular culture, there still remains skepticism about the scholarly value of studying comic books and graphic novels. If a person searches hard enough, it is possible to find a course about comic books here or there or a graphic novel on a few required course reading lists. A few departments have comics studies scholars laboring away in them, and there are more books and articles about comic books and graphic novels now being published by academic presses. Yet job ads asking for knowledge of the comics studies field are rare, and the most prestigious academic journals contain few articles that discuss comic books and graphic novels.
This means comics studies scholars are forever having to defend the genre they find so compelling…. Why should academics take the comic book seriously? We know comics studies scholars would like to respond that comic books should be taken seriously because of their multimodal nature, because of the rich histories of their characters because they require multiliteracy skills to be understood and because they are a medium which has widespread sociocultural influence. We know all of that is true. Yet we want to make an even more pragmatic argument for why comic books should be made a more important part of today's curriculua: Comic books have the power to draw students to the study of the humanities." (pp. 9-11).
Department of English