CFP: “Monsters in the Margins”

[Blog Administrator’s note: I have been asked to post this specifically to encourage submissions from children’s lit folks! Get to it!]

UF Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels (10th Anniversary Event!)

The first UF conference on Comics and Graphic Novels was held in 2002. We ask that you come join us to celebrate our conference’s anniversary at “Monsters in the Margins,” which will be held on April 13-15.

In any crisis, whether economic or cultural, there is a sense of an unimaginable danger right around the corner. These unknown and unfathomable terrors fascinate the imagination and dramatically play out our anxieties in a more cognitively relatable form—we attempt to embody them, to transplant them, or to make them somehow tangible—yet the underlying terror persists. The narratives and mediums we channel our terrors into become our monsters.

In the midst of the first true economic crisis of the 21st century, we return to these sites with renewed curiosity. How can we depict the sublime terror of our anxieties? How can we convey our unabashed horror through image and text, and communicate those feelings? Why do we keep trying to re-imagine the same monstrous templates, especially when the tools of a craft are perpetually unable to represent the unimaginable?

The 9th University of Florida Comics Conference hopes to address these issues by welcoming any and all explorations into the representation of monsters and the monstrous in a visual/textual form. We are especially interested in how text augments the imaginative image (or vice versa) and approaches horror in ways that help the conscious mind endure and (hopefully) resolve the trauma that the unknown antagonizes within us. From traditional genres to new horizons of horror, we seek to examine the monsters of media and attempt to understand how the medium influences the message.

The “monsters” in our conference’s title are open for interpretation. Presentations do not need to address the literal representation/illustration of monsters (e.g. zombies, vampires and werewolves, oh my!), but they should address the presence (or absence) of the monstrous, traumatic or unsettling.

Submissions should maintain a focus on comics, manga, children’s literature, video games, imaging technology or any other form that includes both image and text in its representations (either simultaneously or indirectly).

Building on the interdisciplinary and multi-modal aims of the conference, “Monsters in the Margins” encourages scholars and artists from all fields to consider alternative, interactive presentation models that utilize both technology and audience collaboration.

While traditional lecture models remain the core of the conference, “Monsters in the Margins” will also re-think the margins of the conference itself by hosting discussion-oriented panels that emphasize and incorporate audience participation. We hope that this conversational framework will facilitate a discursive space in which audience and speaker can come together to explore content, theory, and process. If you are interested in this alternative format panel, please submit an extended abstract outlining your topic and approach. Abstracts will be published online prior to the conference to help facilitate these colloquia.

Suggested topics and approaches include (but are not limited to):

  • Historical (EC Comics and the censored monster, historical context and development of a monster/the monstrous through manuscripts or newspapers)
  • Cultural (monster as metaphor for crisis, mimetic manifestations in monstrous traits)
  • Graphic/Image (illustrating the monster, monstrous representations)
  • Graphic/Text/Digital (‘wording’ the monster, ‘voicing’ the monster’s image, ghost in the machine)
  • Adaptation (monsters across mediums, times, and periods)
  • Topological (landscapes, territories, terrain, environment, haunted spaces)
  • Socio-Cultural (PTSD and its manifestations, the neighbor, anxiety and influence)
  • Fantastic creatures in comics and picture books (immortals in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, Wild Things in Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are)
  • Noir (approaches to the genre and its techniques in comics, film, illustration)
  • Horror and Science Fiction (the monstrous and the terrifying from the cult/camp classics [Tales From the Crypt] to today [Jonathan Case’s Dear Creature, Charles Burns’s Black Hole])
  • The supervillain as monstrous other
  • Graphic memoir, childhood and the trauma of growing up (Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Phoebe Gloeckner’s Diary of a Teenage Girl)
  • Institutional violence, the horror(s) of war and the propagandistic/monstrous representation of the enemy (or the self)
  • Video Games and the people it’s OK to kill in them (or what zombies, Nazis, demons, darkspawn and your roommate’s avatar have in common)

Ten years ago, our first conference was “The Will Eisner Symposium.” In honor of that and of our conference coming on the heels of March’s Will Eisner week (the week of March 6), we will also be accepting submissions for a special panel on Will Eisner’s works and their ongoing influence in comics, film and other media.


20 February ’12 (NEW DEADLINE!): Extended abstracts for experimental panels

25 February ’12 (NEW DEADLINE!): Presentation abstracts (Priority will be given to those presentation abstracts sent in by our original deadline, February 15.)

Please direct all items and inquiries to

Categories: CFP, Critical Conversations, On and Around Campus

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