COMICS GET MEDIEVAL AT KALAMAZOO: NEW PERSPECTIVES FOR INCORPORATING COMICS INTO MEDIEVAL STUDIES TEACHING AND RESEARCH (9/1/11)
CALL FOR PAPERS
THE COMICS GET MEDIEVAL AT KALAMAZOO: NEW PERSPECTIVES FOR INCORPORATING COMICS INTO MEDIEVAL STUDIES TEACHING AND RESEARCH
A ROUNDTABLE FOR THE 47TH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON MEDIEVAL STUDIES (WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY, KALAMAZOO, MI) FROM 10-13 MAY 2012 SPONSORED BY THE VIRTUAL SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF POPULAR CULTURE AND THE MIDDLE AGES
PROPOSALS BY 1 SEPTEMBER 2011 (EARLY SUBMISSION RECOMMENDED)
This session has been proposed in an effort to continue and expand upon the conversations initiated in our previous sessions at the Congress (in 2004 and 2008) on the potential uses of the comics in Medieval Studies teaching and research. In prior sessions, we have touched upon both the variety and vitality of the corpus of medieval-themed comics, medievalisms that have been in existence since at least the early part of the twentieth century and that continue to flourish in both the comics (in all its varied forms) and comics-related media, like adaptations into film and television, to this day. A number of characters and series celebrate significant anniversaries in 2012 (for example, Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant will be 75; Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby’s Thor 50; Roy Thomas and John Buscema’s Dane Whitman, the modern-day Black Knight, 45; Dik Browne’s Hägar the Horrible and Kirby’s Etrigan 40; and Mike W. Barr and Brian Bolland’s CAMELOT 3000 30), and we believe this is an ideal time to revisit this material at the Congress, a venue that has long been amiable to the furtherance of discussion of and debate on—goals we have adopted—representations of the medieval in popular culture.
Unlike other forms of medievalism, like film and Tolkieniana, that receive multiple sessions at conferences, like the Congress, each year, medieval-themed comics remain neglected and in need of much further research. Despite the vitality of these long-running series and other comics with medieval themes, the corpus of medieval comics as a whole has largely been ignored (though with a few notable exceptions) by medievalists except as curiosities, a pattern replicated largely in other academic disciplines. However, due to the interdisciplinary nature of Medieval Studies, our field (especially given the welcomeness many medievalists have for medievalisms) is ideally suited to tap into the high potentiality of the corpus for both teaching about the medieval to audiences of all ages, from children to adults, and, like other forms of medievalism, for understanding, through the processes of adaptation and appropriation, the contemporary reception of the medieval in popular culture. The general neglect of the corpus suggests that most medievalists are wary of studying these types of texts, and, in an effort to combat this apparent distrust, we endeavor in this session to create an environment where medievalists, perhaps familiar with some of more celebrated texts, can learn more about these works of popular medievalism. It is our intent that the papers presented at this roundtable will offer new possibilities to access this corpus so we may all come to a greater appreciation of its contents and contexts.