Call for Chapters: Translation and Adaptation in Comics and Graphic Novels

The exploration of comics through the lens of translation and adaptation studies is a relatively recent advent, a natural evolution of the field of comics studies. The history of comics is inexorably intertwined with adaptation, in keeping with its nature of a mix of text and image.  Comics are read the world over by diverse audiences, in a variety of media beyond the traditional ink on paper, and seem uniquely suited to our modern media moment, with examples in every genre and medium. The process of creating comics, already the result of the collective effort of artists, writers, and editors, is further complicated by the processes of adaptation and translation (outlined by scholars like Linda Hutcheon and Ilaria Meloni), with new meanings being created out of the process at large, meanings potential at odds with the intent of the creators' intentions. To that end, this volume discusses the translation and adaptation of comics and graphic narratives with an emphasis on transnational and digital contexts. What is the ultimate goal of bringing a comic into a new cultural context or new medium? What is the value of fidelity in translations and adaptations, and what efforts are undertaken to retain the meaning of the source text? Who decides whether a translation is ultimately faithful, and what does that fidelity actually entail? Which lessons can be garnered from earlier efforts, and what do those indicate about the future of translation and adaptation?

Possible topics include, but are not limited to...

  • What steps do editors take when translating manga for American audiences?  What cultural references and jokes are retained, and what is lost?  What duty do these individuals have to the source material?
  • How has the adaptation of comics into film changed?  What texts are drawn from in the creation of films like Batman Returns, Wonder Woman, or Black Panther, and how does this change how the originals are understood?
  • How do audiences engage with translated/adapted texts, and how does it differ from audience engagement with the original? How do works like EC Comic’s Classics Illustrated or Willingham’s Fables process centuries-old works in the context of other modern adaptations?
  • To what degree do translators have agency in determining the meaning of a text?  Borrowing from Dorfman and Mattelart, are the South American adaptations of Donald Duck propaganda as a result of some inherent trait of the character, or is it the result of editorial choices?
  • In what ways do authors incorporate different cultures within Kraidy’s hybridity framework? Neil Gaiman’s Sandman wove mythology and the Western canon (including superhero comics) together into something entirely new.

Abstract and CV Due: 31 December 2019

Complete Draft Due: 30 April 2020

Abstracts should be between 400 and 700 words and should present a basic outline of your potential contribution to the volume and potential methodology. If you make the initial cut, you will be contacted in early January by Dr. Bryan to discuss and finalize your contribution to the volume. Send an abstract and a CV to adaptationcomics@gmail.com. Final drafts will be approximately 5,000 to 8,000 words, but exact word counts for each article will be discussed at the time of acceptance.

About the publisher: Vernon Press is an independent publisher of scholarly books in the social sciences and humanities. We work closely with authors, academic associations, distributors and library information specialists to identify and develop high quality, high impact titles.

This proposal is due at December 31st 2019.

Page last updated on November 20th 2019. All information correct at the time, but subject to change.

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