Comics: The End is Here

deadline for submissions: 
May 1, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
CLOSURE: Kiel University e-Journal for Comics Studies #11

Open Section


 At the end of autumn 2024, the e-journal CLOSURE once again offers a forum for all facets of comic research. From cultural, visual and media studies to social or natural sciences and beyond: issue eleven of CLOSURE will publish essays and reviews that deal with the ›state of the comic‹. Whether detailed analysis, comic theory or innovative new approaches – our open section welcomes a diverse range of interdisciplinary studies of all things ›comics‹.  


 Thematic Section: »The End is Here«


The last page, farewell, finale, death, apocalypse – the idea of the endpoint in relation to comics may seem paradoxical at first. After all, the medium has experienced an astonishing renaissance in recent decades, both in its diversity and cultural significance. However, there are numerous disruptions that raise the question if the tradition and form of the comic, which has accompanied us since the 19th century, has come to an end.


Building on the CLOSURE conference of 2016 on ›Beginnings‹ in comics (CLOSURE #4, 2017), the upcoming issue #11, commemorating the ten-year anniversary of the e-journal's foundation, now focuses on the various dimensions of the ›end‹. How do comics end, and how are they exploring the possibilities of ›the end‹?


Historical analysis reveals numerous moments in the history of comics that can be seen as possible ›endpoints‹. Foremost among these is the era of the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s, which dramatically changed the industry (Lent, 1999). In recent years, another transformation has occurred, driven by technological progress, what Resha (2020) refers to as the ›blue age‹ of comics. The way comics are created, distributed, and consumed has changed dramatically. Do webcomics, digital platforms, and interactive media signify the end of the traditional comic world? Is the comic created by (human) authors/artists facing extinction due to stories generated by AI?


Content-wise and formally, the phenomenon of the end is a persistent element since every narrative must find its (temporary) conclusion. This can serve as a harmonious resolution to conflicts and the convergence of storylines, or it can raise entirely new perspectives and questions, as demonstrated by the final interaction between Batman and the Joker in Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke (1988). Additionally, seriality, as one of the formal pillars of the comic medium, is specifically aimed at the continuation, not the conclusion, of the story. How do comic series, for example, come to an end?


Variations of the end – whether through the departure of characters or even the end of the world – can be determinative of the storyline, both in a concrete and overarching sense, as demonstrated by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen (1986/87). This elegy for superheroes was a fundamental contribution to the reevaluation and reorientation of comics in the mid-1980s. Recently, the end of the world has been a popular theme, as seen in Robert Kirkman's global hit, The Walking Dead (2003-), to the extent that Bishop even spoke of a ›zombie renaissance‹ in 2009.


›The End‹ in its manifold dimensions and potentials as a »conceptual form« (Stierle and Warning 1996, IX) is thus the focus of the upcoming issue.


Possible topics include but are not limited to:  


• Innovation in the Finale: Experimental forms of comic endings

• The Finiteness of the Infinite: Examining cliff-hangers and transitions in series

• The end as plot: Exploring various aspects of endings

• Starting from scratch: What comes before the retcon?

• Last things, last images: What and how are final pages/panels narrated?

• The color of the end: The symbolism of the palette in relation to death, farewell, etc.

• It's the End of the World as we know it: On the iconography of the apocalypse in comics

• Digital instead of analog? New challenges in production and reception

• Creative exodus: Bidding farewell to legendary comic authors and its effects

• The end of (assumed) innocence: Right-wing ideology in the comics scene 


Please, send your abstract to the open section or to the focus »The End is Here« (approx. 3000 characters), as well as a short bio, for consideration for our eleventh issue of CLOSURE to by January 8th, 2024. The contributions (35,000-50,000 characters) are expected by May 1st, 2024. For more information about the e-journal CLOSURE and our previous issues, please visit




Bishop, Kyle. Dead Man Still Walking: Explaining the Zombie Renaissance. In: Journal of Popular Film and Television 37.1 (2009), S.16-25.

CLOSURE #4 (2017),

Grünewald Dietrich. Das Prinzip Bildgeschichte. Struktur und Geschichte

der Comics. In: Beiträge zur Comicforschung. Hg. Dietrich Grünewald. Bochum: Bachmann, 2010, S. 11-31.

Lent, John (Hg.). Pulp Demons: International Dimensions of the Postwar Anti-Comics Campaign. London: Associated University Presses, 1999.

Palandt, Ralf (Hg.). Rechtsextremismus, Rassismus und Antisemitismus in Comics (Archiv der Jugendkulturen). Berlin: Hirnkost 2011.

Resha, Adrienne. The Blue Age of Comic Books. In: Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society 4.1 (2020), S. 66-81.

Stierle, Karlheinz / Warning, Rainer (Hg.). Das Ende. Figuren einer Denkform (Poetik und Hermeneutik 16). München: Fink 1996.