Children characters in comics

Something is brewing in literary studies, specifically among the comics and graphic novel scholars. Could it be the genre’s reckoning with its lasting and deep connection to childhood? If so, this is a good sign, as it reflects the maturity of the field, which painstakingly overcame the stigma of a literature of lesser importance. Stigma it endured for too long in the past.

At the centre of this momentum is a dynamic group of researchers, led by Maaheen Ahmed, at the Ghent University (Belgium). They initiated informed discussions about children characters in European comics, and the influence childhood had, and still have on writers and illustrators. They put in place the appropriately named COMICS project. In their own word, the project “advances the hypothesis that children in comics are distinctive embodiments of the complex experience of modernity, channeling and tempering modern anxieties and incarnating the freedom denied to adults.”

The instigators will host a conference this September 18 and 19th in Ghent: Comics, Children and Childishness. A rare coming together of literary criticism and the history of childhood, it promises to be an innovating event.

Another comics studies conference, this one covering a wide range of contemporary concerns, is to take place this week on July 27-29th, at the University of North Texas. Themed Comics on the Margins, it is hosted by the Comics Studies Society.

To follow progress in comics studies, see the academic journal The Comics Grid.

Source: Gyphy on Pinterest, 2023.
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