Monday, May 10, 2021

Our Sponsored Sessions for Kalamazoo 2021

56th International Congress on Medieval Studies

Hosted online by Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan.


Handouts, notices, call for papers, and a copy of the session agenda can also be accessed from the shared Google folder at https://tinyurl.com/Saving-the-Day-2021.


106 Tuesday, May 11, 11:00 a.m. EDT

Saving the Day for Medievalists: Accessing Medieval-Themed Comics in the Twenty-First Century I: Comics and the Classroom (A Roundtable)

Sponsor: Medieval Comics Project; Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture

Organizer: Michael A. Torregrossa, Independent Scholar

Presider: Richard Scott Nokes, Troy Univ.


Presenters:

A roundtable discussion with Dustin M. Frazier Wood, Univ. of Roehampton; Justin Wigard, Michigan State Univ.; Kara L. Maloney, Canisius College; Genevieve Pigeon, Univ. du Québec à Montréal; and Carl B. Sell, Lock Haven Univ.


Dustin M. Frazier Wood, University of Roehampton

Comics and the Canon: Medieval and Medievalist Texts in the Undergraduate Literature Classroom


Dustin M. Frazier Wood is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Roehampton in London. He holds a PhD in English and Art History from the University of St Andrews, an MPhil in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic from the University of Cambridge, and a BA in Liberal Arts from Bethany College in West Virginia. His research focuses on medievalism in English culture c1600-c1800, with a particular emphasis on the interplay of textual and visual studies in antiquarian culture. He has published articles on Anglo-Saxonist drama and visual art, on early modern Old English translators, and on antiquarian Old English studies. His book Anglo-Saxonism and the Idea of Englishness in Eighteenth-Century Britain has just been published by Boydell and Brewer. 



Justin Wigard, Michigan State University

Arthurian Legend, Animal-Centric Illustration, and Play in David Petersen’s Mouse Guard

Justin Wigard is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at Michigan State University, where he works with and teaches popular culture, game studies, comic studies, children’s literature, and digital humanities in the literature classroom. His work covers a wide range of subjects, including the Hallmark Channel’s Garage Sale Mystery film series (co-written with fellow grad student Mitch Ploskonka); professional wrestling and Street Fighter; chronotopal representations of feminism in Marvel’s Jessica Jones; the visual rhetoric of dinosaurs in Calvin and Hobbes; monstrous motherhood in Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and Beowulf comics; and digital visualizations of early-Modern Mughal biographies. Justin’s dissertation focuses on utilizing, and developing, video games as learning tools within the classroom.


Kara Larson Maloney, Canisius College (she/her/hers)

Aquaman to Arthur: How the Round Table Lives on In the Classroom

Dr. Kara Larson Maloney is an adjunct professor of English at several Buffalo-area colleges. She received her PhD from Binghamton University in 2015, focusing on chivalry and identity in King Arthur’s court in medieval British and French texts. While her current teaching duties include convincing an 8 year old to actually do the schoolwork assigned, Dr. Maloney enjoys researching both medieval and modern Arthurian adaptations, including television, film, and graphic novels. She’s especially happy when she can bring this work into the classroom. 


Geneviève Pigeon, Université du Québec à Montréal

From Medieval Texts to Contemporary Comics: Sacred Spaces and Communication with the Other World

Geneviève Pigeon holds a Masters Degree in Medieval Literature and a PhD in Religious Studies, with a focus on Arthurian Britain and myth theories. She is a researcher with the Centre de Recherche Bretonne et Celtique (Rennes, Brest ; France), the Centre de Recherche International sur l’Imaginaire (CRI) and teaches in the Religious Studies department at Université du Québec à Montréal. She is interested in better understanding how humans use space and natural elements to create order out of chaos through popular narratives, whether they are promoted by institutions (religious, political) or not. 

Geneviève is also the owner and general director of a publishing house founded in 1986 (L’instant même).


Carl B. Sell, Lock Haven University

Medievalist Comics, ComiXology, and eReaders: Embracing Digital Accessibility and 

the Uses of eReaders in Scholarship and Teaching

Dr. Carl B. Sell is the TRIO SSS Writing Specialist at Lock Haven University. Carl’s research explores appropriations of Arthurian legend narratives, characters, and themes in popular culture as an extension of the medieval adaptive tradition. He serves as a member of the advisory boards for The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture and the Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain, and he is the author of various film and literature reviews on medievalist and scholarly blogs and his own website, as well as journal articles on Arthurian topics and DC’s Aquaman.





142 Tuesday, May 11, 3:00 p.m. EDT

Saving the Day for Medievalists: Accessing Medieval-Themed Comics in the Twenty-First Century II: Comics Scholarship (A Roundtable)

Sponsor: Medieval Comics Project; Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture

Organizer: Michael A. Torregrossa, Independent Scholar

Presider: Carl B. Sell, Lock Haven Univ.


Presenters:

A roundtable discussion with Richard Scott Nokes, Troy Univ.; Tirumular (Drew) Narayanan, Univ. of Wisconsin–Madison; Karen Casebier, Univ. of Tennessee–Chattanooga; Scott Manning, Independent Scholar; and Michael A. Torregrossa.


Richard Scott Nokes, Troy University

Beowulf in Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Dr. Richard Scott Nokes is an Associate Professor of medieval literature at Troy University. He earned his B.A. from Butler University (1992) and PhD from Wayne State University (2002). He taught English in Korea for two years, and developed the American Studies program at Klaipėda University in Lithuania. After being hired at Troy University in 2003, he won a Fulbright-Hayes award to study the Maya epic in the Guatemala highlands (2003), was a regional finalist for the White House Fellows program (2007), founded Witan Publishing (2011), and has been featured several times in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

His current book project is a study of comic book adaptations of Beowulf  His other recent book chapters and articles include a study of medieval leechbooks for Health: A History in the Oxford Philosophical Concepts series and an article on “Medieval and Public Discourse” for The Heroic Age. As Senior Academic Editor for Witan Publishing, he has edited and published a number of books on subjects ranging from an edition of Beowulf to Formal Combats in the Fourteenth Century. Most recently, he has published editions of much older works, such as Ælfric of Eynsham’s Letter to Sigeweard and Elizabeth Elstob’s “English-Saxon Homily on the Birth-day of St. Gregory.”

In addition to his academic work, his outreach into fan culture has earned him the title “Professor Awesome” among non-academics. He netcasts on “Professor Awesome and the Minions of Doom” and is co-host of the PopMedieval Podcast. His most recent popular novel, a work of whimsical horror entitled From A to Zombie, is published under the pseudonym “Professor Awesome.”


Tirumular “Drew” Narayanan, University of Wisconsin—Madison

“Tarzan the Crusader?” Visualizing the White Cross and the Raced Crescent in the Lord of the Jungle’s Comic Book and Pulp Illustration Appearances 

[no bio provided]


Karen (Casey) Casebier, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

French Arthurian Comics and the Contemporary Art of Inventio (access the handout at https://tinyurl.com/Saving-the-Day-2021)

Karen (Casey) Casebier is an Associate Professor of French at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  Her principal area of research is the conflation of the sacred and the profane across different genres of thirteenth-century French literature, including saints’ lives, romance and the fabliaux.  Her research interests include manuscript studies, bestiaries and contemporary interpretations of Arthurian literature.  She recently published an article on representations of gender in Arthurian comics for Synergies as well as an article on resurrection motifs in Marie de France for Le Cygne.  In her copious free time, she is working on a series of unpublished, unedited miracle tales in a 14th-century manuscript branch of La Vie des pères.

Useful links:

Soleil Productions:  https://www.editions-soleil.fr/

BDthèque: https://www.bdtheque.com/


Scott Manning, Independent Scholar

Lessons Learned in Publishing Scholarship on Comic Books

Scott Manning is an independent scholar and the VP of Conference for the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association. He is published in The Year’s Work in Medievalism and Studies in Medievalism. Scott has several forthcoming works including a chapter in The DC Universe to be published by McFarland. 


Michael A. Torregrossa, Independent Scholar (he/him/his)

What If Merlin Was Mentor to Stephen Strange?: Philip DeGuere's Dr. Strange (1978) and Marvel Comics' Matter of Britain

Michael A. Torregrossa is a graduate of the Medieval Studies program at the University of Connecticut (Storrs) and works as an adjunct instructor in English in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. His research focuses on popular culture’s adaptation and appropriation of literary classics, including the Arthurian legend, Beowulf, Dracula, and Frankenstein.  In addition, Michael is the founder of The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain and The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture; he also serves as editor for these organizations' various blogs and moderator of their discussion lists. Besides these activities, Michael is also active in the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association and organizes sessions for their annual conference in the fall. Michael is currently Monsters and the Monstrous Area Chair for NEPCA, but he previously served as its Fantastic (Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror) Area Chair, a position he held from 2009-2018.



Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Call for Responses: Comics and Medieval Studies Survey (7/1/2021)

Please forgive the cross-posting.

Call for Responses: Comics and Medieval Studies Survey


The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture--in an attempt to further our outreach efforts--seeks to gather some information on experiences with the comics medium and uses of that material by teachers and/or scholars of Medieval Studies.

If you're willing to share, please complete the survey at https://tinyurl.com/Medieval-Comics-Survey no later than 1 July 2021.

More information on the Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture can be found at https://medievalinpopularculture.blogspot.com/.

The Medieval Comics Project is based at https://medieval-comics-project.blogspot.com/. We also maintain a listserv, the Medieval Comics Project Discussion List. Please sign-up at https://groups.io/g/medieval-comixlist.



If you have any questions or concerns on the survey or other related matters, please reach out to us at MedievalinPopularCulture@gmail.com or Comics.Get.Medieval@gmail.com.



Michael A. Torregrossa, Founder, Blog Editor, and Listserv Moderator, and The Comics Get Medieval Sessions Organizer

Thursday, April 29, 2021

CFP Saving the Day for Robin Hood Studies: Perspectives and Reflections on Comics Adapted from the Matter of the Greenwood (Roundtable) (10/11/21; IARHS virtual 12/3-5/21)

Saving the Day for Robin Hood Studies: Perspectives and Reflections on Comics Adapted from the Matter of the Greenwood (Roundtable)

Sponsored by The Medieval Comics Project, an outreach effort of the Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture.

For Global Outlaws: The Biennial Conference of the International Association for Robin Hood Studies

Tentative Date: 3-5 December 2021.                                          

Medium: VIRTUAL.

Deadline for Proposals: 11 October 2021.

 

            According to a recent search of the Grand Comics Database, creators of comic books and graphic novels have produced over three thousand comics directly based on or inspired by the Robin Hood tradition. These comics span almost ninety years and come from over twenty countries; however, the true scope of Hood’s influence on the medium appears much larger. A variety of archers, both heroes and villains, also feature within the pages of comics, and Hood and his fellows have also frequented both cartoons and comic strips, though their adventures there remain largely uncatalogued.

            Of these thousands of comics, how much and what items are actually known to enthusiasts of the Matter of the Greenwood? Robin Hood scholars, since the1990s, have started to offer some answers, but much work still remains to more fully explore the world of Sherwood Forest depicted in their panels. In this sponsored session, we hope to create a deeper connection between Robin Hood Studies and Comics Studies to highlight this rich corpus and provide tools and resources for how to find, access, and employ Robin-Hood-themed comics in our classroom and research.

Please send proposals of approximately 250 words and a short academic biography to the panel organizers at Comics.Get.Medieval@gmail.com. We will forward the full panel details to the conference committee.

For more information on the Medieval Comics Project and the Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture, please check out our websites at https://medieval-comics-project.blogspot.com/ and https://medievalinpopularculture.blogspot.com/.

 

 

 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Comics Get Medieval This Weekend at Keene State

 Here are the details of our upcoming panel this weekend. Further details and registration information are available on the conference website.


41st Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum: Scent and Fragrance in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

Virtual event, hosted by Keene State University, Keene, New Hampshire

Friday and Saturday, 16-17 April 2021

 

Session VI--Saturday, 17 April from 3:00 PM to 4:20 PM

Arthurian Comics (Breakout Option C)

Sponsored by the Medieval Comics Project, an outreach effort of the Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture

 

Moderator: Hayley Cotter, University of Massachusetts—Amherst

 

From Canon to Comics: Adaptations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the Comics

Medium

Michael Torregrossa, Independent Scholar

Michael A. Torregrossa is a graduate of the Medieval Studies program at the University of Connecticut (Storrs) and works as an adjunct instructor in English in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. His research focuses on popular culture’s adaptation and appropriation of literary classics, including the Arthurian legend, Beowulf, Dracula, and Frankenstein.  In addition, Michael is the organizer of The Comics Get Medieval, a series of sessions run at various conferences since the early 2000s. This work is sponsored by both Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain and The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture, which Michael founded and serves as editor for their various blogs and moderator of their discussion lists. 

 

Old Norse Gods and Ethnically Different Slaves in the Comic Book Series Thorgal

Anna Czarnowus, University of Silesia, Katowice (Poland)  

Anna Czarnowus, PhD, D. Litt., is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Silesia, Katowice (Poland). She specializes in Middle English literature and medievalisms. She published Inscription on the Body: Monstrous Children in Middle English Literature (Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego 2009) and Fantasies of the Other’s Body in Middle English Oriental Romance (Peter Lang 2013). She authored over 40 journal articles and chapters in monographs. She co-edited (with Professor Margaret Jane Toswell from the University of Western Ontario) Medievalism in English Canadian Literature: From Richardson to Atwood (D.S. Brewer 2020).

 

Vampires, Zombies, Aliens, and Superheroes: Reimaginings of Arthurian Legend in Comics

Rachael K. Warmington, Seton Hall University 

Rachael Warmington is a full-time instructor at Seton Hall University. She earned her B.A. in English from Montclair State University, M.A. in English from Seton Hall University, her MFA at CUNY City College and she is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Rachael is also the editor-in-chief of the open access academic journal, Watchung Review.  She is currently writing her dissertation which focuses on themes of Arthurian Legend in medieval texts and in contemporary literature, film and television adaptations and appropriations and how these themes create the space that challenges oppression in its various forms, but have also been used to perpetuate racism, sexism and religious intolerance. 

 


Thursday, March 25, 2021

New Robin Hood Comic

Mad Cave Studios has just published the first issue of a dark reinterpretation of the legend in Nottingham from writer David Hazan and artist  Shane Connery Volk. 

Be warned, it is violent and bloody. 

A digital version can be purchased from comiXology.  

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Comics scholarship in From Iceland to the Americas

My thanks to Kevin J. Harty for alerting me of this collection, which contains two items of interest:

From Iceland to the Americas: Vinland and Historical Imagination 
https://manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526128751/ (with full contents)

Edited by Tim William Machan and Jón Karl Helgason
Book Information
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-5261-2875-1
Pages: 304
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Series: Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture
Price: £80.00 / $120.00
Published Date: April 2020


Description

This volume investigates the reception of a small historical fact with wide-ranging social, cultural and imaginative consequences. Inspired by Leif Eiriksson's visit to Vinland in about the year 1000, novels, poetry, history, politics, arts and crafts, comics, films and video games have all come to reflect rising interest in the medieval Norse and their North American presence. Uniquely in reception studies, From Iceland to the Americas approaches this dynamic between Nordic history and its reception by bringing together international authorities on mythology, language, film and cultural studies, as well as on the literature that has dominated critical reception. Collectively, the chapters not only explore the connections among medieval Iceland and the modern Americas, but also probe why medieval contact has become a modern cultural touchstone.


Contents

11 'Who is this upstart Hitler?': Norse gods and American comics during the Second World War - Jón Karl Helgason

12 'There's no going back': The Dark Knight and Balder's descent to Hel - Dustin Geeraert





Editors

Tim William Machan is Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame

Jón Karl Helgason is Professor of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Iceland



Friday, June 5, 2020

New Scholarship in The Year's Work in Medievalism 33 (2018)

The latest volume of The Year's Work in Medievalism includes two items of interest to scholars of medieval comics:


The Year's Work in Medievalism 33 (2018)

Edited by Valerie Johnson & Renée Ward, with Laura Harrison


Karl Fugelso: A Mickey Mouse Inferno: Medievalist Legacies and the Marketing of the Middle Ages pdf

Scott Manning: Warriors “Hedgehogged” in Arrows: Crusaders, Samurai, and Wolverine in Medieval Chronicles and Popular Culture pdf


The complete volume can be accessed at https://sites.google.com/site/theyearsworkinmedievalism/all-issues/33-2018.


Saturday, May 30, 2020

CFP Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy in comics and sequential art (7/31/2021)


The following call came on the Comix Scholars List earlier this month.



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [COMIXSCHOLARS-L] Call for contributions: Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy in comics and sequential art
From: Mattia Petricola <mattia.petricola@gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 1:31 PM
To: COMIXSCHOLARS-L@lists.ufl.edu
CC:

(Apologies for cross-posting)

Dear all,

I recently became involved as co-editor in a project on the intermedial reception of Dante Alighieri headed by Caroline Fischer (University of Pau, France). The project stems from a panel originally held at the 2019 ESCL (European Society of Comparative Literature) Conference in Lille (France) and will result in a collection of articles. The articles will be published by the end of the year in Between (https://ojs.unica.it/index.php/between/index), the open-access, peer-reviewed journal of the Italian Society of Comparative Literature, in the wider context of an international number on intermediality edited by Massimo Fusillo (University of L'Aquila, Italy) and Hans-Joachim Backe (IT University of Copenhagen).

In order to further enrich our focus section on Dante and intermediality, we are looking for contributions in English or French (max 40.000 characters) exploring the intermedial reception of Dante (not limited to the Divine Comedy) in comics/graphic novels/manga/sequential art. The deadline for article submissions is July 30, 2020. If you are interested, please write to mattia.petricola@gmail.com as soon as you can with a short abstract and bio.

If you have any questions or require any further information, please let me know.

Kind regards,

Mattia Petricola

________________________

Mattia Petricola

University of L'Aquila

Department of Humanities

mattia.petricola@gmail.com


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Kalamazoo 2020 Update

This year's International Congress on Medieval Studies has been cancelled due to the coronavirus. Full details (and a request for donations) at https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress.

The Medieval Institute has offered to accept any cancelled session for the 2021 congress.

The Medieval Comics Project was set to run a two-session roundtable this year.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Comics Get Medieval at Kalamazoo 2020!

I am pleased to announce that the organizers of the International Congress on Medieval Studies have approved part of our proposal for sessions on medieval-themed comics for their 2020 assembly.

Details on our session, "Saving the Day for Medievalists: Accessing Medieval-Themed Comics in the Twenty-first Century (Roundtable),", will be forthcoming.

Michael Torregrossa
Founder, Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Hurlbut on Medieval Comics

From a recent number of the International Journal of Comic Art:


Hurlbut, Jesse D. “Comics Theory for the Ages: Text and Image Relations in Medieval Manuscripts.” International Journal of Comic Art Vol. 19, No. 1, Spring/Summer 2017, pp. 353-83. 

Ordering information available at http://ijoca.blogspot.com/.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Morrison on Beowulf. Leggenda cristiana dell’antica Danimarca

New well-illustrated article on Beowulf in the comics:

Morrison, Susan Signe. “Grendel’s Mother in Fascist Italy: Beowulf in a Catholic Youth Publication.” International Journal of Comics Art, Vol. 20, no. 1, Spring/Summer 2018, pp. 331-48.

Morrison includes the following information about the essay on her blog (http://www.susansignemorrison.com/blog.htm?post=1084681):



I’m delighted that my article “Grendel’s Mother in Fascist Italy: Beowulf in a Catholic Youth Publication,” has just been published in the International Journal of Comic Art. This essay focuses on a 1940-41 Italian comic book version by Enrico Basari (author) and Kurt Caesar (illustrator). An anti-semitic portrayal of Grendel’s Mother grows out of German views of Beowulf in the 1930s. The anti-semitic overtones present in German Beowulf youth translations and adaptations sympathetic to Nazi German propaganda, produced in the decade before and simultaneously with the publication of the comic under scrutiny here, likewise crop up under the Italian fascist reign. The fraught nature of Grendel’s Mother takes on insidious dimensions in Enrico Basari’s Beowulf. Leggenda cristiana dell’antica Danimarca, appearing in serial form from Oct. 5, 1940-Jan. 25, 1941. It was featured in Il Vittorioso, a Catholic youth publication, “a nationalist publication often distributed through Catholic parishes” (Calderón, 2007:112), that attempted to go beyond mere Fascist propaganda for young people. Just how could an anti-semitic inflected Beowulf comic have affected youth readers?

Sell on Aquaman at MAPACA 2018

Advisory board member Carl Sell is presenting a paper at the upcoming MAPACA conference on Aquaman and the Arthurian tradition. Here are the details from the online program at https://mapaca.net/conference. (He presents in the session just before our comics roundtable.)

Sell, Carl. “The Once and Future King of Atlantis: The Arthurian Figure in Geoff Johns’s Aquaman: Death of a King.” Presented as part of “Dark Arts,” a session of the Medieval & Renaissance Area. 29th Annual Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association, Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland. 10 November 2018.


“Writer Geoff Johns had arguably one of the most famous runs of DC’s Aquaman title in 2013. Arthur Curry, the titular hero and King of Atlantis, had previously been derided as a second-rate, low-powered hero without a compelling backstory or link to any serious subject matter. Geoff Johns changed all of that with an Arthur Curry who draws from the most obvious source material presented to the half-human, half-Atlantian king, that of the other—and perhaps more famously celebrated—King Arthur. While Johns drew from the Arthurian mythos as a whole rather than any one specific textual rendering of the legendary King of the Britons—save, perhaps, Sir Thomas Malory’s text via Johns’s title—the Atlantian King Arthur is confronted with an Arthurian return, a Mordred-like figure, a courtly betrayal, and a “final battle” for the kingship just as his namesake is in the many accounts of the famous British king. Johns complicates the established Arthurian cycle in Death of a King, however, in this collected edition of Aquaman #17-19 and #21-25, Johns introduces a rival Arthurian figure which I have termed the “Dark Arthur.” The Dark Arthur figure is a returned Atlantian king of old who sees his realm in peril, but instead of leading his people to salvation, his murderous rage sparks a war between those who follow him and those who seek to embrace the peaceful future of King Arthur Curry. The dual Arthurian figures of Johns’s writing are pulled straight from his larger concept of his mythic sourcetexts, and I argue that, to fully understand the Aquaman presented in these pages, the reader must be fully aware of the Arthurian figure and its literary history from which Johns draws.”


Comics Get Medieval at MAPACA 2018

The Comics Get Medieval is back! 

Here are the details on our sponsored session for MAPACA's conference this coming November. Registration information is available at https://mapaca.net/conference.(For information on our other session, visit https://medievalinpopularculture.blogspot.com/2018/09/sponsored-sessions-for-mapaca-2018.html.)


29th Annual Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association, Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland

The Comics Get Medieval 2018: A Continuing Celebration of Medieval-themed Comics (a Round Table) (Medieval & Renaissance Area / Round table)

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, organized by Michael A. Torregrossa (Independent Scholar)

Saturday, November 10, 2:45 pm to 4:00 pm (Salon E Calvert Ballroom )

This special round-table session is sponsored by The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture. The session revives the successful Comics Get Medieval series after a multi-year absence and seeks to foster communication between comics scholars, medievalists, medievalismists, and specialists in other aspects of popular culture studies through the study of “medieval comics”: 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).

Round Table Discussions will include:

Session Chair: Scott Manning (American Military University)

1. “Co-Starring Beowulf?: An Alternative Version of Beowulf in Jumbo Comics No. 50 (April 1943)”

Michael A. Torregrossa (Independent Scholar)

The story of Beowulf is one of the greatest legends of English culture and has inspired a wealth of texts that attempt to retell a traditional version of his deeds. However, there are also a number of works—most largely unnoticed by admirers of the hero—that introduce new characters into events from Beowulf’s life and attempt to make the Geat into a secondary figure in his own story. One of the earliest version of this motif appeared in Jumbo Comics No. 50 (April 1943), an American comic published during the Golden Age of the medium. Like other comics produced at the time, the story appears intended to educate readers about Beowulf, but the creators do not follow a Classics Illustrated approach and give readers a straight retelling. Instead, they adapt elements from Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and bring modern-day figures into the Anglo-Saxon past, where these intruders to the story in effect alter history to create a divergent account of the epic that attempts to place a new hero in the dominant role once held by Beowulf. This presentation offers the first extended discussion of the Beowulfiana of Jumbo Comics No. 50 to offer suggestions on how this forgotten work can be of value in our research and teaching about Beowulf and its afterlife.

Michael A. Torregrossa is a medievalist whose research interests include adaptation, Arthuriana, comics and comic art, medievalism, monsters, and wizards. He is founder of both The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain and The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture and outgoing Fantastic Area Chair for the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association.


2. “ ‘Ka is a Wheel’: The Arthurian Cycle and its Context in Marvel’s Stephen King’s Dark Tower”

Carl Sell (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)

Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series has distinguished itself as a series without an end and without a clear beginning; however, Marvel’s series Stephen King’s Dark Tower, which ran from 2007 to 2017 under the supervision of King himself, serves as a starting point to the adventures of Roland of Gilead, last in the line of Arthur Eld, the great king of All-World. Beginning with The Gunslinger Born, the Arthurian cycle repeats itself anew with Steven Deschain and the Affiliation, In-World’s incarnation of the Round Table and his treacherous advisor Marten Broadcloak, the man who steals Steven’s wife. As Roland’s story unfolds, he is caught up in the ka, the fate, of his long line, the fate of King Arthur Eld himself: death, renewal, betrayal, and the endless quest for the Dark Tower, the Grail-like salvation of All-World. Roland and his ka-tet, Cuthbert Allgood and Alain Johns, the stand-ins for Sir Kay and Sir Bedivere to Roland’s Arthur, are caught up in the Arthurian mythos and its endless cycle—ka, after all, is a wheel—and their journey together complicates the standard Arthurian narrative and blends character roles, motivations, and tropes found within more standard Arthurian adaptations. The story of King Arthur—as Arthur Eld—is ever-present in the world of Stephen King’s Dark Tower and in the gunslingers themselves as the new model of Arthurian chivalry.

Carl Sell is a PhD student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He studies the Arthurian Legend and modern adaptations of the legend as well as adaptations of Robin Hood. He is interested in all things medieval and Early Modern.


3. “I’m Holding Out For A Hero: The Disparity Between Male Warriors and Valkyries in Norse Mythology and the Depiction of Valkyrie in the 21st Century”

Lindsey Poe (Georgia College and State University)

Norse mythology has many depictions of warriors. The stories we have today are presumably long held Icelandic oral tales that had previously been passed on generation by generation. The eddas, for instance, are old Norse oral myths that were written down in the 13th century by Snori Sturluson. The myths are traditionally pagan, however Snori Sturluson was compiling them while priests were attempting to convert the people of Iceland to Christianity. As such, the works became a blend of both Christian and pagan beliefs. While Icelandic peoples were still worshipping the Norse gods, Snori wove in a watered down version of the Christian message in his written Edda. Throughout these texts, we see descriptions of god-like men such as Thor and Loki as well as characters like Sigurd, who simply represent a traditional warrior male. Interestingly enough, some women like Brunhild are elevated and are portrayed as strong, battle ready individuals. They exist as supernatural beings who wield power over life and death. These warrior women are known as Valkyries. They are not merely women, rather, Valkyries hold a third classification of gender and exist outside of the binary. Through “The Elder Edda,” “The Prose Edda,” and “The Saga of the Volsungs” the characterizations of these two classes of warriors will be broken down and their differences analyzed. In addition, the Valkyries of literature will be compared to the depictions of these women in films and comics, particularly in the Marvel universe.

Lindsey Poe graduated with her bachelor’s degree in English Literature with a minor in Spanish from Georgia College and State University in the Spring of 2017. Following graduation, she applied to and got accepted at her alma mater, where she is currently in her second year of graduate school, working towards a master’s in English.