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Monday 24 Friday 28 June 2019

Graphic Novels and Comics

Joint International Conference of Graphic Novels and Comics and 20th Anniversary of the International Bande dessinée Society

Storyworlds and Transmedia Universes
in Comics and Graphic Novels

The notion of a storyworld, or a shared universe within which the settings, characters, objects, events, and actions of one or more narrative are present, existed long before the present-day media.  Examples include myths and legends of antiquity, folktales and Arthurian romances.  Today's storyworlds, described by Mark Wolf (2012) as, "transnarrative, transmedia, and transauthorial in nature" (14), open up fresh opportunities.  Storyworlds have found a fertile terrain in comic strips and graphic novels.  After all, the text/images form provides narratives dedicated to specific characters, times and places; these narratives are often used as source material for adaptations in film, games and broadcast media.   Consequently creators, fans and corporations can interact with other forms beyond comics, thereby developing characters and narratives, as well as exploring new storytelling methods.

The possibilities seem almost infinite. Storyworlds may relate to Marvel's and DC's extended universes of the future.  They can be adapted or constructed from half-remembered myths and legends, as in Isabel Greenberg's Encyclopedia of Early Earth.  Some storyworlds (e.g. the manga Barefoot Gen) reveal historical events from individual perspectives or a world view from the perspective of a particular historical and cultural moment such as Tintin.  Others recount alternate histories (e.g. the Gallo-Roman era in Asterix by Goscinny/Uderzo, or the Belle Epoque with Adèle Blanc-Sec by Tardi).  Still others offer parallel worlds (e.g. Clockwatch by Ayeni, (a collaboratively created storyworld involving online fandom; likewise, Les Cités obscures by Peeters and Schuiten), or the 'Sword and Sorcery' parody Donjon started by Sfar and Trondheim, which invites contributions from other artists and has given rise to numerous side projects.

This international conference includes scholars and practitioners who debate the fascinating issues surrounding storyworlds and the location of comics within transmedia universes.  It is presented jointly by scholars from Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Glasgow, the University of Dundee and the University of Bournemouth.

The conference also marks the twentieth anniversary of the first IBDS gathering in Glasgow in 1999, and as such will reflect upon the development of BD scholarship over this period.

Call for Papers

Please send your abstracts (150-200 words) and bios (up to 100 words) to by 1st February 2019.

Organising Committee