Month: September 2016

Deadline Friday: Poe and Comics at NeMLA 2017!

Friday, September 30, 2016, is the deadline to submit to the more than 400 calls for papers at the 48th annual meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association, in Baltimore, Maryland.

My colleagues and I are organizing exciting panels in studies of literature and popular culture, including two sessions I’m putting together on Edgar Allan Poe and representations of disabilities in comics.

And additional sessions below may be of interest in light of recent developments in comics and the superhero genre–Luke Cage premieres tomorrow as well, so why not watch the show, and use that to draft an abstract to a relevant session below?

These are just a few of the exciting sessions (with links for submitting 300-word abstracts) that can lead to dynamic discussions–so please consider submitting abstracts or forwarding these calls of papers to interested peers.

Fandom Report for Wednesday, September 28, 2016

An early Fandom Report ahead of deadlines for NeMLA 2017 (abstracts due September 30!), as well as news about more episodes of One Punch Man and The Tick–and X-Men burgers!

Comics and Superheroes at NeMLA 2017 Baltimore

The Northeast Modern Language Association seeks proposed presentations on transformations in comics, DC vs Marvel, disabilities in superhero narratives, debates around fan-canon, and more! Submit before the deadline on Friday, September 30!


Dudes Need Blush Stickers, Too: Incorporating Anime and Manga into Gender Studies Courses

During July 4th weekend in 2016, I presented at the Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, part of the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation’s Anime Expo. Below is the copy of the presentation as I wrote it. As this was a discussion about fanservice in anime and manga, some content below is not safe for work (but censored).


Fandom Report for Thursday, September 22, 2016

RIP Clay Martin Croker of Space Ghost fame, “Marvel vs DC” in Baltimore, the Ghost in the Shell adaptation looks awful, and the Avengers want you to vote against the supervillain Donald Trump.

Headlines, commentary, and rambling are below.

Did I miss some major news? Message me on WordPress or Twitter @dereksmcgrath.

Marvel vs DC in Baltimore, Deadline 9/30

My colleague Lisa Perdigao is organizing this academic/fan’s dream, a panel on representations of the rivalry between two of the biggest comic book publishers, or about how Marvel and DC differ in representing rivalries. Submit your 300-word abstract and short bio to the Northeast Modern Language Association CFP here online before the September 30th deadline, and read more about the Marvel vs DC rivalry here.

Avengers vs Trump

Joss Whedon and actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe campaign against supervillain (and Marvel’s favorite presidential candidate) Donald Trump.

Video here.

Register to vote (for Clinton, and in all races) here.


Gene Luen Yang, comics creator behind American Born Chinese, Superman, and Avatar: The Last Airbender, has received a MacArthur Genius Grant.

DC Comics

The CW is releasing an app that allows viewers to watch its DC shows for free.

In other DC streaming news, Netflix just added Gotham Season 2. And its third season started on Fox, along with Season 2 of Lucifer. (Shameless plug: My review for the Lucifer Season 2 premiere is here.)


CFP: “Marvel vs. DC: Civil War?” (NeMLA Baltimore 2017; deadline Sep 30 2016)

Last year at the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA), my colleague Mary Ellen Iatropoulos and I were happy to host Lisa Perdigao on our academic roundtable about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This year, for NeMLA’s 2017 convention in Baltimore, Lisa is organizing a panel on rivalries, not just within Marvel Comics but as it pertains to its long-lasting competition with fellow comic book publisher DC Comics.

DC and Marvel have collaborated in the past for crossovers and amalgamations of their fictional universes, revealing the parallels between them, such as Batman and Daredevil (or Iron Man), Green Arrow and Hawkeye, Atom and Ant Man, Superman and Captain America (or Thor)–or just so we could see a fistfight between the Justice League and the Avengers, or watch Superman wield Captain America’s shield and Mjolnir.

This competition has moved off of the comic book pages and onto the silver screen. Whereas Marvel has embraced a fun, eclectic blending of various genres in its numerous film adaptations from Disney and other film studios, DC has remained fixed largely at Warner Bros and has persisted with a grim portrayal of superheroes that has appealed to some fans and irritated many others. It’s even inspired popular web parodies. This shift from comics to film production even resulted in a new bicoastal rivalry: DC Comics has moved to Hollywood, while Marvel Comics stays in New York City.

This CFP also has the potential for presentations not necessarily as to the rivalry between DC and Marvel, but a comparison of how the two comic book companies portray rivalries. How does the rivalry between Superman and Batman differ from that between Captain America and Iron Man? How are metahumans portrayed differently from mutants and inhumans? What is it about superhero stories that perpetuate the idea of rivalries rather than collaboration?

And that’s not even touching upon all of the other works that DC and Marvel have created but which are outside of the superhero genre, such as literary adaptations, The SandmanPreacher, and Lucifer.

Obviously, there are a wealth of topics for consideration to this CFP, and I strongly encourage interested scholars to submit to Lisa’s session, or to forward this CFP to interested colleagues.

The full CFP is below.

Marvel vs. DC: Civil War?

Northeast Modern Language Association
Baltimore, March 23-26, 2017
Chair: Lisa Perdigao (Florida Institute of Technology)
Deadline: September 30, 2016

Submit 300-word abstracts and short bios online at 

Released in spring 2016, Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice converge on the narrative of a house divided. Marvel’s and DC’s staging of the wars between their respective superheroes is suggestive of a larger battle between the two franchises that dates back to the comics. These two films represent turning points for the companies, as they threaten to disassemble the Avengers and the Justice League as soon as—and even before—they are created. Adapted from the comics, the films’ narratives highlight central tensions within the individual universes as well as the ongoing rivalry between the two companies.

This panel will explore how the concept of civil war plays out within and between the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and DC Entertainment films and television series. Papers are sought that examine individual Marvel and DC works (comics, films, and television series), the expansive Marvel and DC universes, and the relationship between the two rival companies. Possible topics include the difficulties of assembling a superteam in the twenty-first century, the race to utilize new mediums in the digital age, and the conflicting ideologies represented by Marvel and DC.


REVIEW: Lucifer Season 2, Episode 1, “Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer”


Lucifer is back, with a lackluster procedural and a much more interesting start to this season’s arc, regarding his relationship with his mother, and problems for his brother.

It’s easy to write about the overarching plot to Lucifer because it has dynamic characters and largely realistic relationships between them.

It is more difficult to write about the procedural structure of Lucifer, because such structure is so prevalent in so many series that either it works or it doesn’t. The quality will vary episode by episode, and show by show. The procedural leaves a bad taste for many reviewers–especially after news that The Walking Dead, another television adaptation of a supernatural comic book, almost became a procedural. For me, it is less about whether it is good or bad; most of my reviews here tend to be analytical, about what works and doesn’t work, and considering paths not taken by the writers and other staff on a comic, TV show, and so on and whether such paths would have improved the story.

In other words, it’s a challenge for me to come down upon quality of one story when it is read in the context of so many other works, good and bad ones. Lucifer, for example, is going to suffer by comparison to series that benefit from the Netflix model of watching: the pace can slow down to develop characters. Tonight’s Season 2 premiere, “Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer,” not only has to go through a procedural crime investigation, one that had potential to be interesting but was largely dull, but to re-introduce the characters and their relationships to each other to the audience. A streaming series, in which all episodes are released at once online, tends to skip the reminders because they expect viewers remember what they watched just a few moments ago in the previous episode. Lucifer, broadcasted on Fox, even if it is watched by many viewers on demand, has to remind autumn viewers what they may have forgotten since Season 1 ended before summer.


Fandom Report for Thursday, September 15, 2016

Jojo uncensored on Toonami, Jessica Jones on Blu-Ray overseas, and more news!

I’m wrapping up something I’ve been trying to write for a bit about the nexus of academia and fan culture. And since I have a small delay on the next LokiCast, I wanted to post something else this week: I read a lot of news in pop culture and fandom, so here is a wrap-up of this week, covering a bit of scholarship on fandom, comics, and television, and a lot on news updates about Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, DC, and Marvel.

Headlines, commentary, and rambling are below.

Did I miss some major news? Message me on WordPress or Twitter @dereksmcgrath.



I’ll be at Animate Florida this weekend. I’m not presenting there, but in addition to appearances by actors, illustrators, and writers, there are panels on LGBT and disability representation in comics and fandom.


There is a CFP for a new academic volume on Monty Python.


CFP: “And Now for Something Completely Different: Critical Approaches to Monty Python” (Deadline Oct 20, 2016)

Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock (Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts) and Kate Egan (Aberystwyth University) are co-editing a planned volume on the works of Monty Python. The full CFP is available here, with 250-word proposals and CVs due October 20, 2016, to and

Thanks to University of Minnesota and the University of Florida’s cultural studies and pop culture studies listservs for sharing this information.

Good Luck on the Job Search!


Today, the Modern Language Association has posted its job listings. As with every year, the job market is competitive and challenging, professionally and personally. Self-care is vital because you likely will be stressed: there are always fewer jobs than you hope there would be in your field, and the range of advice you’ll receive from colleagues and mentors will seem to contradict itself.

So here is some general advice that will probably contradict something you already heard!

Do you have additional advice to share for the job market? (I could certainly use some.) Message me here or on Twitter @dereksmcgrath.


Regarding safe spaces and trigger warnings, continued

I cannot reply to all the readings I have done on safe spaces and trigger warnings this week, so I wanted to cite a few before continuing from my earlier post:

I disagree with some points raised by Franke,[1] and with some points in the readings linked in their post (although I recommend reading just about anything by Sara Ahmed). But as with any debate, I appreciate getting to read counter-arguments to points I was raising about why safe spaces and trigger warnings are valuable teaching tools.

Some of Franke’s links include:

Chancey also had an additional question for me:

“How do you think safe spaces/trigger warnings can/should help prep students for [the] ‘real world’?”

My lengthy response is below.