CFP for SCMS 2013 Panel: Women in/and Comic Book Culture

17 07 2012

Hey aca-friends, are you or is someone you know interested in being part of a SCMS panel on Women in/and Comic Book Culture?  If so, read on…

Reading the recent (and excellent, I might add) In Focus section of Cinema Journal focused on the state of the field of comics studies, I was struck by a remark Scott Bukatman made about “the predictable parade of concerns that played through in other fields decades ago” (Smith et. al. 2011: 138), that he viewed as currently weighing down comics studies as a developing field.  Representation (e.g. women in comics, African Americans in comics, etc.) was used as the primary example, but the other male comics scholars in conversation with Bukatman (Greg M. Smith, Thomas Andrae,  and Thomas LaMarre) agreed that the emphasis should be on the “how,” rather than the “what” of comics.  Because I firmly believe that, as the past year in comic book culture has made abundantly clear, questions of the “what” of comics (representation), cannot be easily divorced from broader studies of industry and audience (what we might dub the “why” and the “who” of comics), I felt compelled to put together a panel on women and comic book culture, both to raise the visibility of female comic creators, readers, and scholars, and to consider how gender impacts the study of comics more broadly.

Some potential topics for this panel include:

  • Representations of women in comics
  • Fan reactions and transformative responses to women in comics and comic culture (Women in Refrigerators, New 52 representation and/or Neilsen survey fallout, Mary Jane meme, Batgirl of San Diego, etc.)
  • Female comic book auteurs
  • Female superheroes
  • Gender and ethnographic studies of comic book readership and fandom
  • Crowdfunding/Kickstarter comics (e.g. Womanthology or similar) [Fair warning, I may call dibs on this one]
  • Women and Indie Comics
  • Niche marketing and the history of “girls” comics
  • Gendered spaces of comic book fan culture (LCS, conventions, etc.)

I cannot stress enough that the topics above are just some initial ideas.  Ideally I’d like to collaboratively decide on the scope with others to create a cohesive panel that still represents a variety of viewpoints and topics.  This panel will hopefully be sponsored by the newly formed SCMS Comic Studies SIG (which, even if you aren’t interested in submitting to the panel, you should join if you’re an SCMS member interested in comics studies, they’re a fine group of folks).

If you’re interested, please email me a brief abstract (300 words) by August 1, or just contact me with any questions: suzannescott[at]


Greg M. Smith et. al., “Surveying the World of Contemporary Comics Scholarship: A Conversation,” Cinema Journal 50, No. 3, Spring 2011 (135-147).



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