This text was originally presented at the International Graphic Novel and Comics Conference in Bournemouth last June. In keeping with the conference’s interest in memory and nostalgia, this paper analyses the long-lasting influence that Neil Gaiman’s Sandman had on the Vertigo imprint. Over the last 25 years, Sandman has inspired countless spinoffs and rewritings, and played an important part in Vertigo’s editorial identity. Through an analysis of Lucifer, one of Sandman‘s most important spinoffs, I suggest that Gaiman’s work is treated with reverence, but also sometimes questioned, subverted and used as a support for the writers to develop in new directions.
A little while ago, I published an article on Elfquest, Wendy and Richard Pini’s long-running fantasy comic. It began as something very small, but it was, to my knowledge, the first published article on the topic, and it seems to have attracted the attention of some fans and scholars. Since I am now gathering material for something bigger, and as an early celebration for the upcoming final issue of the series, here are some follow-up thoughts on Elfquest as a power fantasy for readers of all ages and genders. Before continuing to read this, I’d advise you to go and have a look at the article, which I will be discussing in detail.
Comics scholars recently have been dedicating much time to the consideration of comics as scientific discourse: not just writing essays about comics, but writing essays in comics form (regardless of their subject). More and more, I’ve seen some brilliant people use pictures in conferences, as a visual support to their presentation. These efforts to start a discussion on comics as an academic practice culminated a few months ago with the foundation of Sequentials, a platform for comics-as-scholarship. I’m convinced that the ability to express ourselves in drawing as well as writing would change the way we academics think, research, and teach what we’re leaned.
Therefore, this post is about my own very humble attempt at bringing comics into my doctoral dissertation, not in the analysis itself (that would have been impossible in the context of the degree I’m taking) but in the thank-you section of the volume. For those of us who cannot craft an entire comics dissertation (see Nick Sousanis’ Unflattening), be it because of their limited abilities or because of academic conservatism, this may be an easy way to get started and perhaps push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable in scholarly documents.
Actually, it has been time to talk about him for about 20 years. Milligan began his career on the British comics scene at the end of the 1980s, where he worked with Brendan McCarthy on Rogan Gosh, Paradax! and Skin; he was then recruited by DC and contributed to the emergence of the Vertigo imprint, penning notably Shade, The Changing Man (1990-1996) and the miniseries Enigma with Duncan Fegredo (1993).
In 1994, in the letter column of Shade, The Changing Man #54, a reader named Stephen J. Townsend wrote : “Peter Milligan’s one of the best writers in comics today even though I don’t hear a lot of hype on him.” Well, not that much has changed since then: Peter Milligan’s still one of the best writers in comics, and we still don’t hear a lot about him – at least compared to other superstar writers of the British Invasion like Neil Gaiman or Grant Morrison. Maybe it’s time to change that. Continue reading It’s time to talk about Peter Milligan→
This blog deals with comics studies and US-American visual culture. It is curated by Isabelle Licari-Guillaume, a PhD candidate in Anglophone studies in Université Bordeaux Montaigne, France, who is also a member of La Brèche, a francophone association of junior researchers in the comics field. This blog should be seen as a complement to traditional academic activities (articles, conferences etc.). It aims at providing access to documents that possess academic value but are not publishable in their current states, such as interviews with comics creators, critical pieces dealing with a specific issue, popularization essays, or even practice-based projects exploring the value of comics as a scientific discourse. From the point of view of the researcher herself, the blog helps encourage and develop enquiry into new topics,while also providing a simple way to archive past works. This blog is not intended to serve as a platform for conference announcements, book reviews, bibliograpies or calls for papers. Such information is available on the website of the association La Brèche (https://labrechebd.wordpress.com/), which should migrate to Hypotheses by the end of the year.