CFP: The Postmodern Comic Book Hero (4/30/07; MWPCA/MWACA, 10/12/07-10/14/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Wandtke, Terrence

Panel for the 2007 Midwest Popular Culture Association / Midwest
American Culture Association Conference in Kansas City, MO, October


Panel Title: "The Postmodern Comic Book Hero"


Deadline for submissions: April 30, 2007


Definitions of postmodernism vary but generally include references to
experimental forms, aesthetic surfaces, historical discontinuity,
fragmented worldviews, and the self-conscious embrace of the margin.
This panel will examine postmodern tendencies manifested within comic
books and how those tendencies reshape the comic book hero (this
includes superhero stories but also moves well beyond them).
Postmodernism in comic books can be dealt with from a narrative and/or
visual standpoint.


Possible topics include (but are not limited to) the following:

--The multi-verse created to explain multiple versions of the same DC
superhero; its destruction by Marv Wolfman and its resurrection by
writers such as Mark Waid and Geoff Johns

--Marvel comics as a self-conscious and digressive commentary on the
conventions established for superheroes by DC comics

--Alternate histories (past and future) of superheroes encouraged by
Frank Miller's Dark Knight, especially self-reflexive works such as Kurt
Busiek's Superman: Secret Identity and Steven T. Seagle's It's a Bird

--Deconstructions of the superhero genre such as Alan Moore's America's
Best Comics and Grant Morrison's The Invisibles and The Filth

--Works that parody pulp fiction but elevate the comic book form through
the intentional use of postmodern themes such as Rich Veitch's
Maximortal and Warren Ellis' Planetary=20

--Variations on hero/anti-hero themes along with relativistic views of
mythology in series such as Neil Gaiman's Sandman and Bill Willingham's

--Books that directly address the issues of postmodern authorship such
as Daniel Clowe's David Boring and Seth's Palookaville

--Existential and fractured musings on the creative process of the
artist hero ranging from Dave Sim's Cerebus to Grant Morrison's Animal
Man to Dave McKean's Cages

--Free form stories that radically de-center the central concerns of the
heroic quest and traditional plot development like Harvey Peckar's
American Splendor, Matt Wagner's Grendel, Gilbert Hernandez's Love and
Rockets/Palomar stories, and Charles Burns' Black Hole

--Narrative constructs that comment not only on traditional heroic
motifs and comic books but also the construct itself (such as Dean
Motter's Mister X and Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan)

--Stylistic innovations that overlap various styles of comic book art
and borrow from art forms not traditionally associated with the comic
book in the work of artists such as Jim Steranko, Art Spiegelman, Bill
Sienkiewicz, and David B.


Please submit a 300-word proposal to Terrence Wandtke at You may include the proposal within the
body of the e-mail or attach as a Word document. You may also mail a
hard copy to Terrence Wandtke; Division of Communication Arts; Judson
College; 1151 North State Street; Elgin, IL 60123-1498. Your e-mail or
hard copy proposal must be received by April 30, 2007. Please include
your affiliation and contact information.


Dr. Terrence Wandtke

20th Century Literature, Film, and Popular Culture

Judson College

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Received on Sat Feb 24 2007 - 13:11:35 EST