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

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.


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.


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

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:


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.

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