Encapsulations: Critical Comics Studies – Editorial Board

University of Nebraska Press has launched its comics studies series with a long-needed focus: “By looking at understudied and overlooked texts, artists, and publishers, Encapsulations facilitates a move away from the same “big” and oft-examined texts. Instead the series uses more diverse case studies to explore new and existing critical theories in tune with an interdisciplinary, intersectional, and global approach to comics scholarship.”

I am so happy, honored, and enthusiastic that I can be on the editorial board of this series. Send us manuscripts! More info at the homepage of the press.

Editorial Board

Michelle Ann Abate
The Ohio State University

José Alaniz
University of Washington

Frederick Luis Aldama
The Ohio State University

Julian Chambliss
Michigan State University

Margaret Galvan
University of Florida

A. David Lewis
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science

Jean-Matthieu Méon
University of Lorraine, France

Ann Miller
University of Leicester, United Kingdom

Elizabeth Nijdam
University of British Columbia, Canada

Barbara Postema
Massey University Manawatū, New Zealand

Eszter Szép
Independent Researcher, Hungary

Carol Tilley
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


2018 – My publications

2018: The year most of my projects bloomed, when I finished my PhD, when I reworked my PhD thesis into a book (added 2 chapters, took one away) (to be published in 2020). In terms of non-academic achievements, I organized (almost alone) the comics festival in May, co-curated a major exhibition on comics in the National Széchényi Library, opened Hungary’s first community comics library. Basically a year when I worked my arse off.

1.Books I Edited

Turning The Page. Gendered Identities in Contemporary Literary and Visual Cultures. Ed. Kata Gyuris, Eszter Szép and Dóra Vecsernyés. L’Harmattan, Budapest. Download link.

2018 [Exhibition catalog, bilingual] Kép-regény-történet: A kilencedik művészet ikonjai Magyarországon. Ed. Eszter Szép. Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, Budapest, 2018.

2. Articles and Reviews in English

“Kids’n’Comics: An Equation with Variables to Rearrange.” Kids’n’Comics Exhibition Catalog, D17 Gallery, 2018. pp. 10-12.

“A review of Simon Grennan: A Theory of Narrative Drawing. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. 277 pp, 96,29 €.” INKS – The Journal of the Comics Studies Society, Summer 2018, pp. 261-264.

“A review of The Materiality of Writing. A Trace-Making Perspective. Edited by Christian Mosbæk Johaannessen and Theo van Leeuwen.” Image & Narrative. online.

“A review of Unflattening, Nick Sousanis (2015), Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 208 pp., ISBN: 9780674744431, p/bk, £18.95.” Studies in Comics 8.2. 262-264.

“Ben Katchor: A képregény túllép a próza kifejezési lehetőségein” [The title is in Hungarian, but the interview is in English] Ben Katchor: Conversations. Ed. Ian Gordon. University Press of Mississippi, 2018, pp. 152-154.

3. Articles and Reviews in Hungarian

“Metacomics: Poetics of Self-Reflection in Comics” [Metaképregény: Az önreflexivitás képregényes poétikái”][This is the Hungarian version of my article in Studies in Comics featuring examples taken from H. comics.]Intézményesülés, elbeszélések, médiumok: Tendenciák a kortárs magyar képregényben és képregénykutatásban II. ed. Ferenc Vincze, Szépirodalmi Figyelő Alapítvány, 2018, pp. 95-119. 

“Kölykök + képregények: egy régóta rendezésre váró egyenlet.” Kölykök + képregények kiállításkatalógus, D17 Galéria, 2018, pp. 7-9.

“Setting a Limit on Fantasy.” [in Hungarian. Original title: “A fantáziának határt szabni.”] Szépirodalmi Figyelő no. 3, 2018, pp. 100-104.

“Comics on the Power of Poetry: Nyugat + Zombik by Olivér Csepella.” [in Hungarian. Original title: “Képregény a költészet hatalmáról: Csepella Olivér: Nyugat + zombik.”] Alföld, vol. 69, no. 4, 2018, pp. 96-101.

“Comics Around the Globe Today: A Review of Gyula Maksa’s Comics in Intercultural Currents,” [ “A képregényről globálisan, ma: Maksa Gyula Képregények kultúraközi áramlatokban című könyvéről.”],
Médiakutató vol. 19, no. 1, 2018, pp. 97-99.

4. Non-Academic Writings on Comics in Hungarian

“Történetváz a fiókból – Michael Crichton: Dragon Teeth.kilencedik.hu/tortenetvaz-a-fiokbol-michael-crichton-dragon-teeth/

“Brit istenek – Gillen & McKelvie: The Wicked + The Divinekilencedik.hu/brit-istenek-gillan-mckelvie-the-wicked-the-divine/

“Hogyan került a szövegbuborék a képregénybe?” kilencedik.hu/szovegbuborek/

“A magyar képregény 2017-ben, kilenc pontban.” kilencedik.hu/a-magyar-kepregeny-2017-ben-kilenc-pontban/

“Mellékszereplők reflektorfényben: Paper Girls 1-4.” kilencedik.hu/paper-girls/

“Jessica Jones és a sötét.” kilencedik.hu/jessica-jones-es-a-sotet/

5. Extras

  • I co-curated a major comics exhibition
  • I co-founded the first comics library in Hungary

Lynda Takes the Line for A Walk — Abstract for the Transitions 8 Conference

Lynda Takes the Line for A Walk: Attitudes and Philosophies of Drawing in Lynda Barry’s Comics

Transitions 8, 10 November, Birkbeck, University of London (detailed program)

Lynda Barry’s What It Is (2008), Picture This (2009), and Syllabus (2014) are not simply educational or self-help books on making comics, they reveal Barry’s theory about drawing and about creation. In my presentation I examine what Barry’s explanatory texts, creative exercises, and autobiographical comics inserts reveal about her philosophy of drawing.

In her exercises designed for either students or readers to engage in making drawings, Barry emphasizes the importance of bodily engagement in thinking and in creation. This idea appears in comics scholarship as well, but, unlike scholars, Barry thinks of the line as a trace of one’s personality. This way Barry engages in an ongoing discourse on the authenticity/conventional nature of the line in comics. Authenticity in non-fiction storytelling has become possibly the most overinvestigated term in the study of comics autobiography and journalism, but the relationship between the line and the drawer and the line and the story has not been studied that much.

While approaching Barry’s work, I reach back to theories of drawing by Jan Baetens, Hillary Chute, Jared Gardner, Simon Grennan, Philippe Marion, Nick Sousanis, and parallel theories in contemporary approaches to drawing in contemporary art, namely by Karen Kurczynski, Elizabeth A. Pegram, Katherine Stout. Philip Rawson’s Drawing and Laura U. Marks’ recent article “I Feel Like an Abstract Line” have shaped my understanding of the line and provide the starting point of my analysis of Barry’s work.s

As the title of the presentation hints, I believe Barry’s idea of drawing a line is closely related to that of Paul Klee. I will show that, similarly to Klee, Barry considers the line as a partner of the drawer. I also offer close readings of some of the drawing exercises Barry designed for her students and for the reader, and these pages will serve as prompts to illustrate the already mentioned theories on the nature of the drawn line.

barry what it is 157

My review of Simon Grennan’s A Theory of Narrative Drawing is out in INKS

To reveiw Simon’s Grennan book has been my greatest accomplishment recently. It is a book that you either put away instantly or you immense yourself into it by taking notes and by constantly using google. I elaborate in detail why Simon’s model and demonstration of narrative drawing is indeed seminal, and I also say that the book demands maybe too much from the reader.

On a personal note, this book is important for me as my upcoming monograph is also about drawing, at least the first part, and I think that my view on drawing and Simon’s view on drawing are very close.

So here is the review:  muse.jhu.edu/article/698085


Edited collection has been published

I am really happy to share this piece of news with you:

“Turning the Page – Gendered Identities in Contemporary Literary and Visual Cultures” has been published. It is based on a 2-day international conference for young researchers held in 2014 at ELTE Budapest. My friend Kata Gyuris and I organized this conference, and the newly published book has been edited by Kata, Dóra Vecsernyés and me.

We have papers on soap operas and gender under Communism, ghost writers of female jazz autobiographies, motherhood in Bulgarian theatre, Italo Calvino and Jeannette Winterson, female space in contemporary African novels, crossdressing, reality tv, and many other topics!

Many thanks for Bence Bodó for the layout design, Gergely Oravecz for the cover, and for Judit Friedrich, who is the series editor.

Behold the beautiful cover and the inspiring table of contents, and you can download the full PDF for free via this link: http://www.eltereader.hu/kiadvanyok/kata-gyuris-eszter-szep-dora-vecsernyes-eds-turning-the-page-gendered-identities-in-contemporary-literary-and-visual-cultures/

turning the page covertable of contents

New Publication in Hungarian

I am very enthusiastic about comics scholarship in Hungary: in the last two years so many things happened! There were two comics conferences, and we have finally started to build a network of university people and critics who are not afraid of comics.

I have decided that I’ll publish more in my native language, and I was really happy when out of the blue I was asked if I could write about one of the major poets of the 19th century, János Arany. His poetry is very layered and amazing, he also translated the most of Shakespeare to become one of the most influential literary figures of his times. Well, he was born 200 years ago, so 2017 was devoted to celebration and a reflection on both his heritage and the cult around him. Lucky for me, an innovative and clever comics adaptation of one of his ballads also came out (link). The artist, Dániel Csordás is possible the Hungarian cartoonist with the greatest number of awards. It goes without saying that his adaptation won the best webcomic award in 2017.

So I was writing about the success of this comic, which is I think based on several factors. It is aesthetically more interesting than the other adaptations made that year (for me, naturally), it uses irony, it inserts the story of the ballad into the corrupt worlds of (Hungarian) politics of the present. But the success of this adaptation is also rooted of it being part of a marketing campaign, and also of the Hungarian cultural climate which still considers comics as curiosities. Csordás’s comic uses the wow-factor with which comics are surrounded really cleverly (wow, it is not only for children! wow, it uses literature! wow, I actually like it! wow, no superheroes! wow, it is not American!). I also argue in this article, that marketing agencies and non-profit organization, as well as institutions serving the memory politics of the current political regime often use comics — more often than we would suspect — but they always use the medium only once, and do not return to it in their next campaigns. Plus the people who see these marketing-boosted comics do not see the other comics that exist in our country under the radar: the translations of DC and Marvel, and the varied and (mostly) interesting original output made by Hungarian artists. (Let me take the opportunity and recommend the sci-fi comic series Fantomatika.) For the general public, comics is invisible, and it is because of this lack of cultural reception that marketing campaigns using comics are so successful.

I also interpret Csordás’s comic in light of  Linda Hutcheon’s theory of adaptation and Henry Jenkins’s theory of convergence culture. And I am very grateful to the 13 secondary school teachers who shared with me their ideas on how they teach comics at school.

2018-01-10 13.05.55

Absztrakt – Képi testet öltés és önreprezentáció önéletrajzi képregényekben

Oravecz Gergely Blosszájáról fogok beszélni Kolozsváron. Arról, hogy a vonal nem csak esztétikai tényező, de a narratívában is komoly szerepe van. Sok példával.

A konferencia neve: Tendenciák a kortárs magyar képregényben és képregénykutatásban, időpontja: május 6–7.


Képi testet öltés és önreprezentáció önéletrajzi képregényekben

Az előadás Oravecz Gergely Blossza c. stripsorozatában vizsgálja az alkotó önreprezentációs stratégiáit és azt, hogy ezek árnyalásához az alkotó kézjegyét és testi lenyomatát viselő vonal hogyan járul hozzá.

Elsősorban a rajzolás folyamatára és annak talán legkisebb egységére (ha létezik ilyen), a vonalra fókuszálok. A vonal Jared Gardner megfogalmazásában nyom (trace), mégpedig a rajzoló kezének közvetlen lenyomata (54). A kéz („the hand”) fogalma egyaránt jelenti az aktuálisan megrajzolt panelt vagy oldalt, illetve az alkotó felismerhető stílusát. A vonal és a kéz fogalma egyrészt a rajzolás átéltségére, hitelességére, másrészt az alkotás fizikai, testi aspektutásara utal. A véget nem érő folyamatot, amiben az identitást számtalan önarckép sorozataként hozza létre az alkotó, Elisabeth El Refaie képi testet öltésnek [pictorial embodiment] nevezi (51).

Egy olyan értelmezési keretben igyekszem tehát Oravecz Blosszáját értelmezni, mely a képregényt – tömeges és nyomdai előállítása mellett – az oralitáshoz közelíti, és a vonal (és stílus) társadalmi és kulturális kódoltsága mellett is annak performatív, átélt, és expresszív jellegét hangsúlyozza (graphic enunciation). Így válik az önéletrajzi ihletettségű képregény az autentikusság fix értelmezésétől lemondva is auratikus műfajjá (Chute 112).


Hivatkozott irodalom:

Baetens, Jan. —. “Revealing Traces: A New Theory of Graphic Enunciation.” The Language of Comics. Word and Image. Ed. Varnum, Robin and  Christina T. Gibbons. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2001: 145-155.

Chute, Hillary. “Comics Form and Narrating Lives.” Profession 2011: 107-117.

El Refaie, Elisabeth. Autobiographical Comics: Life Writing in Pictures. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2012.

Gardner, Jared. “Storylines.” Substance 40.1. 2011: 53-69.