Frank Miller (5/10/09; MWPCA/MWACA 10/30/09-11/01/09)

full name / name of organization: 
Terrence Wandtke
contact email: 

Frank Miller (5/10/09; MWPCA/MWACA 10/30/09-11/01/09)

CALL FOR PAPERS (Please circulate)

Panel for the 2009 Midwest Popular Culture Association / Midwest American Culture Association Conference in Detroit, MI, October 30-November 1

Panel Title: Frank Miller—Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Deadline for submissions: May 10, 2009

Frank Miller is one of the writer/artists responsible for the growth in sales and respectability of superhero comic books in the 1980's. With his realistic and gritty treatments of Daredevil and Batman, he elevated the sophistication and self-consciousness of the medium. Devoted to classic crime stories, he eventually produced works like the Sin City series with innovative visuals and excessive violence; as a consequence, he has been alternately called an uncompromising artist with a postmodern sensibility and a derivative hack with a sexist worldview. This panel seeks to shine a critical light on the complexities of the life and career of Frank Miller.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to) the following:
--Influences on his work from crime fiction and film noir to classic comic books and manga
--Early work within the industry model with titles like Daredevil
--Mid-career work as a "star" creator within the industry model with titles like Ronin and The Dark Knight Returns
--Later work with "independent" publishers with titles like Give Me Liberty, Sin City, and 300
--Work as a film creator from early writing projects like Robocop to his directorial debut: the recent, widely panned The Spirit
--Redefining the comic book superhero particularly with characters like Daredevil and Batman
--Redefining and creating the comic book anti-hero with characters like the Punisher and Elektra, respectively
--Redefining the comic book villain with characters like the Kingpin, the Joker, and Lex Luthor
--Consistency or inconsistency in his Batman universe (with Batman: Year One, All Star Batman and Robin, The Dark Knight Returns, and The Dark Knight Strikes Again)
--Influencing the shape of the grim and gritty trend in superhero comics of the 1990's
--Influencing the shape of film visuals and narrative with the Batman films, Sin City, and 300
--The evolution and influence of his visual style in graphic literature
--Collaboration with other artists in both comic books and film
--Relationships with other creators of graphic literature and his anti-institutional leanings
--Post 9/11 views on race, religion, and global politics

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 University; 1151 North State Street; Elgin, IL 60123-1498. Your e-mail or hard copy proposal must be received by May 10, 2009. Please include your affiliation and contact information.

For more information about the MPCA/ACA conference, visit

Dr. Terrence Wandtke
20th Century Literature, Film, and Popular Culture
Judson University