Our Mission

The Comics Studies Society (CSS) is the US’s first learned society and professional association for comics researchers and teachers. It is an interdisciplinary society open to all comics scholars—whether working in the academy or independent—who share the goals of promoting the critical study of comics, improving comics teaching, and engaging in open and ongoing conversations about the comics world.

CSS defines comics studies liberally to include the study and critical analysis of comics strips; comic books, papers, and magazines; albums, graphic novels, and other graphic books; webcomics and other electronic formats; single-panel cartoons, including editorial and gag cartoons; caricature; animation; and other related forms and traditions. All types of sequential art, graphic narrative, and cartooning are relevant to our mission.

CSS will be the first professional society of comics scholars in the US to be supported by members’ dues while emphasizing professional development opportunities for students and the exchange of best practices among teachers.

CSS celebrates and seeks to foster diversity in comics studies, including diversity in scholarly discipline, career position, job niche, and cultural and personal identity. We are serious about helping this field grow.

Report on ICAF 2016

(The following originally appeared as “The International Comics Art Forum 2016” on The Middle Spaces blog, April 26, 2016. It is republished here with the author’s permission.)


(image by Keith Knight)

I flew down to Columbia, South Carolina week before last to attend and present a paper at the 2016 International Comic Art Forum conference. As I write this I am still buzzing a bit, inspired by spending three whole days surrounded by more comics scholars than I have ever seen in one place, and having some of the deepest and most informed academic conversations—about comics of all kinds—than I have ever had.I have been to more academic conferences in my time as a scholar than I can recall, but this was the first conference I had ever been to dedicated to nothing but comics, and in my experience so far the best academic conference I have ever been to period. You might think that the subject matter is the biggest influence on that feeling, but no, I’ve been to other conferences dedicated to my various scholarly interests. What made it such an amazing experience was the combination of rigorous high-level work on all aspects of comics (each paper presented was sharp and smart and deeply engaging), and the sense of community and support.  This was the very first conference I have ever been to without a single example of the academic posturing that mars the experience so often. Everyone was not only friendly, but generous with their time and their responses. The conversations at ICAF2016 were as enriching as the presentations and the question and answer periods that followed them. It makes me wonder if the marginal position of comics studies in relation to literary and art studies makes for a more supportive and close-knit community of people looking for everyone else to succeed. Continue reading

CSS Election Results!

Carol Tilley (@comicscrusader)Congratulations to Carol Tilley, Matt Smith, and Christina Blanch! The Comics Studies Society held elections for the Second Vice President and Members at Large positions and the results were announced at the culmination of festivities at ICAF on April 16th. We are delighted to announce that Carol Tilley will be our new Second Vice President and Matt Smith and Christina Blanch will join the Executive Board as Members at Large. Thanks to everyone who voted, all of the candidates, and our new Officers!