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.

Statement from the CSS Executive Board

In the wake of a rancorous campaign season, marked by cultural division and threats of disenfranchisement and violence, the Executive Board of the Comics Studies Society proudly reaffirms the Society’s commitment to diversity, inclusiveness, and working toward greater cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary understanding. This, we know, is challenging work, but we believe it is our calling: the necessary work of building and upholding community and recognizing our differences not as weaknesses, but as the wellspring of our collective strength, professionally, socially, civically. And it is deeply rewarding work.

As the welcoming statement on our website puts it, the CSS “celebrates and seeks to foster diversity throughout the field of Comics Studies, including diversity in scholarly discipline, career position, job niche, and cultural and personal identity. We are serious about helping this field grow.” Recent events have forcefully reminded us of this commitment, and we aim to carry that lesson forward. The CSS Executive Board therefore confirms and celebrates the centrality of diversity to the mission of Comics Studies, and we register our opposition to divisive policies and rhetoric that threaten to tear at the very identity of the United States and of higher education as diverse, pluralistic, accepting, and affirming places.

In our view, scholars and students of all ethnicities, colors, traditions, faiths, heritages, origins, and nations, of all abilities, ages, genders, and sexualities, and of neurodiverse and nonnormative identities – in short, of all kinds and cultures – are not only welcome but absolutely vital to the continuing relevance of Comics Studies as a field. We, the CSS leadership, emphatically reject, and we urge all CSS members to reject, the politics and rhetoric of divisiveness, intolerance, and fear. Furthermore, we aim to stress this commitment in our journal, in our conference activities, and in all our official communications. In the months ahead, CSS members can expect us to underscore and act on this commitment in concrete ways (as will be signaled in our journal and on our website).

In sum, we of the CSS Executive Board will continue to support efforts to fight intolerance, promote cultural visibility and understanding, and stand up for the members of the communities we serve, and we will take steps to foster understanding and inclusion through our collective work. We invite all of CSS to join us in this commitment.

Satirical News Site THE ONION Says What All Comics Scholars Think

From The Onion: “Comics Not Just For Kids Anymore, Reports 85,000th Mainstream News Story”

The incredibly perceptive and original article also specifically mentioned the work of writer Alan Moore, an obscure reference point that has only been used in every single article like this ever written.

Well played, Onion. And not a BIFF!, POW!, or “It’s a bird, it’s a plane…” in sight.