Friday, April 6, 2018

Beowulf in Comics

I've begun a project collecting representations of Beowulf in comic format as a resource for teaching the text. If you have any suggestions please contact me at (I'm in that account more often than the Medieval Comics Project one). I'm also looking for works of scholarship (or reviews and/or interviews) on these adaptations and will eventually add my findings to the blog.

One interesting text, I have discovered so far is a story in Jumbo Comics No. 50 (Apr. 1943). It looks to be the first adaptation of the work into American comics. The story is sort of a version of the Connecticut Yankee narrative with a hot-headed, twentieth-century young man trying to one-up Beowulf with varied results. I am hoping to present on the comic this fall at our MAPACA roundtable, and I include here the second page of the story where the youth faces Grendel for the first time. I've also added an image of Beowulf's arrival at Heorot to the main page of the blog.

Michael Torregrosa
Founder and Blog Editor

Friday, March 9, 2018

CFP Comics Get Medieval 2018 (A Round Table) (6/30/2018; MAPACA Baltimore 11/8-10/2018)

I am pleased to announce the return of "The Comics Get Medieval" sessions this fall at the 29th Annual Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association. My thanks to the Medieval & Renaissance Area chairs for their support.

The Comics Get Medieval 2018 (A Round Table)

A Continuing Celebration of Medieval-themed Comics

Sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture for the Medieval & Renaissance Area of the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association

29th Annual Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association

Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland

8-10 November 2018

Proposals due by 30 June 2018

Hoping to revive the successful Comics Get Medieval series after a multi-year absence, the Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture seeks proposals for inclusion at “The Comics Get Medieval 2018 (A Roundtable).” The goal of this session is to foster communication between comics scholars, medievalists, medievalismists, and specialists in other aspects of popular culture studies.

The organizers define “medieval comics” as any example of the comics medium (e.g. panel cartoons, comic strips, comics books, comics albums, band dessinée, graphic novels, manga, webcomics, comics to screen/screen to comics, and other related media) that feature medieval themes either in stories set during the Middle Ages or in stories presenting some element of the medieval in anachronistic settings (pre-medieval or post-medieval eras or medieval-inspired secondary worlds). We are also interested in papers looking at medieval-themed comics from a pedagogical perspective.

Select lists of potential topics and an expanding bibliographic guide to medieval comics can be found at The Medieval Comics Project site ( and The Arthur of the Comics Project site (, outreach efforts of the Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture and its sibling organization the Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain,.

Presentations will be limited to 10-15 minutes depending on final panel size. All proposals will also be considered for inclusion in a potential essay collection to be edited by the panel organizers.

Interested individuals should, no later than 30 June 2018, notify the organizers of their topic via email directed to using “Comics Get Medieval 2018” as their subject heading. They will also need create an account with the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association at AND submit into the system both an abstract of no more than 300 words and an academic biographical narrative of no more than 75 words.

Again, please send inquiries and copies of your submissions to the organizers at using “Comics Get Medieval 2018” as the subject heading.

In planning your proposal, please be aware of the policies of the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association (available at

Further details on the Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture can be found at its website:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Of Interest: Echoes of Valhalla

Echoes of Valhalla: The Afterlife of the Eddas and Sagas

Jón Karl Helgason; Translated by Jane Appleton
Distributed for Reaktion Books

256 pages | 50 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Cloth $24.95
ISBN: 9781780237152
Published June 2017
For sale in North and South America only

Tolkien’s wizard Gandalf, Wagner’s Valkyrie Brünnhilde, Marvel’s superhero the Mighty Thor, the warrior heading for Valhalla in Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” and Donald Crisp’s portrayal of Leif Eriksson in the classic film The Viking—these are just a few examples of how Icelandic medieval literature has shaped human imagination during the past 150 years. Echoes of Valhalla is a unique look at modern adaptations of the Icelandic eddas (poems of Norse mythology) and sagas (ancient prose accounts of Viking history, voyages, and battles) across an astonishing breadth of art forms.

Jón Karl Helgason looks at comic books, plays, travel books, music, and films in order to explore the reincarnations of a range of legendary characters, from the Nordic gods Thor and Odin to the saga characters Hallgerd Long-legs, Gunnar of Hlidarendi, and Leif the Lucky. Roaming the globe, Helgason unearths echoes of Nordic lore in Scandinavia, Britain, America, Germany, Italy, and Japan. He examines the comic work of Jack Kirby and cartoon work of Peter Madsen; reads the plays of Henrik Ibsen and Gordon Bottomley; engages thought travelogues by Frederick Metcalfe and Poul Vad; listens to the music of Richard Wagner, Edward Elgar, and the metal band Manowar; and watches films by directors such as Roy William Neill and Richard Fleischer, outlining the presence of the eddas and sagas in these nineteenth- and twentieth-century works.

Altogether, Echoes of Valhalla tells the remarkable story of how disparate, age-old poetry and prose originally recorded in remote areas of medieval Iceland have come to be a part of our shared cultural experience today—how Nordic gods and saga heroes have survived and how their colorful cast of characters and adventures they went on are as vibrant as ever.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Bishop's Medievalist Comics and the American Century

With apologies to the author for the long delay:

Medievalist Comics and the American Century
By Chris Bishop 

University Press of Mississippi
224 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, bibliography, index

9781496808509 Printed casebinding $65.00S


The comic book has become an essential icon of the American Century, an era defined by optimism in the face of change and by recognition of the intrinsic value of democracy and modernization. For many, the Middle Ages stand as an antithesis to these ideals, and yet medievalist comics have emerged and endured, even thrived alongside their superhero counterparts. Chris Bishop presents a reception history of medievalist comics, setting them against a greater backdrop of modern American history.

From its genesis in the 1930s to the present, Bishop surveys the medievalist comic, its stories, characters, settings, and themes drawn from the European Middle Ages. Hal Foster's Prince Valiant emerged from an America at odds with monarchy, but still in love with King Arthur. Green Arrow remains the continuation of a long fascination with Robin Hood that has become as central to the American identity as it was to the British. The Mighty Thor re ects the legacy of Germanic migration into the United States. The rugged individualism of Conan the Barbarian owes more to the western cowboy than it does to the continental knight-errant. In the narrative of Red Sonja, we can trace a parallel history of feminism. Bishop regards these comics as not merely happenchance, but each success (Prince Valiant and The Mighty Thor) or failure (Beowulf: Dragon Slayer) as a result and an indicator of certain American preoccupations amid a larger cultural context.

Intrinsically modernist paragons of pop-culture ephemera, American comics have ironically continued to engage with the European Middle Ages. Bishop illuminates some of the ways in which we use an imagined past to navigate the present and plots some possible futures as we valiantly shape a new century.

CHRIS BISHOP, Canberra, Australia, teaches classics at the Australian National University. He has published widely on the history of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, as well as comic book studies. In 2012 Bishop was awarded a Kluge Fellowship at the Library of Congress for his research.


Utz Reviews Bishop

The latest number (Vol. 27, No. 2) of Arthuriana has a review by Richard Utz on Chris Bishop's book Medievialist Comics and the American Century (more on this to follow).

You can read the review on Project MUSE (or preview you it if,like myself,you have no access to the site) at

Update 6/24/17

Sorry to not have kept things up to date this past year.

Our session in honor of the eightieth anniversary of Prince Valiant on American medievalisms was not accepted for the 2017 ALA conference.

Michael Torregrossa
Founder and Blog Editor

Friday, January 6, 2017

Call for Proposals on The Medieval in American Popular Culture: Reflections in Commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of Prince Valiant

The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture is sponsoring a session on "The Medieval in American Popular Culture: Reflections in Commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of Prince Valiant." Complete details can be found at our main site at

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Web Links Updates

Please be advised, as neither The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain nor The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture has funds for operating expenses, we will no longer be renewing our domain names effective January 2016.

The Arthur of the Comics Project can now only be accessed at, and The Medieval Comics Project accessed at

Please update your links.

Michael A. Torregrossa
Founder, The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain
Founder, The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Berserker by Loverd and Haun

I'm still not ready to get back to work on this but did want to post on a series I just re-read:

Rick Loverd and Jeremy Haun's Berserker (Top Cow, 2009) presents a secret society composed of the descendants of Viking Berserkers at work in the world. There are two groups, one peaceful and the other not, which seeks to bring about Ragnarok. The series focuses on two young men and their discovery of their heritage and its curse. The comic is fairly bloody, with bodies torn apart (repeatedly) and dead loved ones--depicted rather graphically--returning to haunt their respective protagonist. The series can be accessed at comiXology at

A collected edition (978-1-60706-109-0) was released in 2010 with additional supplemental material, including the suggestion that the modern-day Berserkers are meant to represent (reincarnates?) members of the Norse pantheon. The book can be purchased at Amazon or other retailers. .

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Helvie at Plymouth State Medieval Forum

Sorry to have missed this:

Forrest C. Helvie recently presented on "When the Present Makes Contact with the Past: Comic Adaptations and Translations of Medieval and Early Modern Sources" at the 34th Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum, Plymouth State University, on Saturday, 20 April. The essay is now on the website of Sequart Research & Literacy Organization at Apparently, this is an early (or alternate?) version of the essay Helvie published in The Once and Future Classroom (at, which I posted on earlier this summer.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lee on Robin Hood and Prince Valiant

With apologies for the multiple cross-postings:

Lee, Peter W. “Red Days, Black Knights: Medieval-themed Comic Books in American Containment Culture.”Corporate Medievalism II. Ed. Karl Fugelso. Studies in Medievalism 22. Cambridge, Eng.: D. S. Brewer-Boydell & Brewer, 2013. 181-200. Print.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Helvie on Teaching Comics

Came across the following by accident. It should be of value; Forrest does good, interesting work (both in Medieval Studies and Comics Studies).

Helvie, Forrest. "Teaching Comics in Medieval and Early Modern Classrooms." The Once and Future Classroom 11.1 (Spring 2013). Web. Available at

Medieval Comics News Updates

Two quick updates today, both related to blog posts.

Michael A. Johnson of UT Austin asks "Are Comics Medieval?" at the Pencil Panal Page blog and gives a heads up to the work of the Medieval Comics Project. includes the query "The first ever comic book?" over at Medieval News in reference to a tumblr posting by Damien Kempf highlighting "A medieval comic book", further evidence of sequential art in medieval manuscript illumination.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Update April 2013

A quick update.

Time and technology continue to conspire against me. Consequently, all activities and functions of The Medieval Comics Project have been cancelled for 2013 and 2014. No sessions will be run at PCA or any other venue.

I do, however, hope to have an update on the status of the Comics Get Medieval collections by the summer months.

Michael Torregrossa

Michael A. Torregrossa, Listserv Moderator/ Blog Editor The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages
Michael A Torregrossa and Carl James Grindley, Co-Founders

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2013 Session Updates

A much belated notice:

The 2013 sessions of "The Comics Get Medieval" solicited for both the Popular Culture Association annual conference and the Plymouth State University Medieval and Renaissance Forum have been cancelled. Individuals who have submitted a proposal will receive an email later in the month and preference (if desired) for future sessions.

Contributors to "The Comics Get Medieval" collection should expect an update on the status of the project in the spring.

Michael Torregrossa