Approaching the Practices of Reading Comics: Perspectives from Phenomenology and Interface Studies // Call for Participation

Workshop of Cinepoetics – Center for Advanced Film 
Studies and the Committee for Comics Studies 
(AG Comicforschung) of the German Society for Media Studies (GfM)

Date: 29th/30th of November 2019 (Friday/Saturday)
Location: Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe Cinepoetics, 
Grunewaldstr. 35, 12165 Berlin
Max. 30 participants
Registration needed by 1st of October 2019, 
please write to and

How do readers engage with comics as texts, as material objects, as complex visual surfaces, or as structured experiences? The workshop „Approaching the Practices of Reading Comics“ would like to outline and discuss a ‚poiesis‘ of comics reading. With a different focus than the many narratological, formalistic, or semiotic approaches to comics and comics scholarship, two theoretical perspectives are put in relation to each other and to the medium: a potential ‚comic book phenomenology,‘ as well as the theoretical and analytical considerations of recent interface studies. Together, these approaches might conceptualize comic reading as an experience with and in relation to deliberately designed surfaces and a distribution of agency between artists and readers, facilitated by material and technological affordances. From this perspective, we would like to analyse and theorize comics in relation to readers’ experiences of time, space and motion. Differently from the moving images of film and related ‚real-time media,’ aspects such as the actual order, speed, and duration of reading a comic are traditionally controllable by the individual recipient. This poses particular challenges for a reception aesthetics of comics, further complicated in digital comics. In digital works autonomous movement and interactive affordances are either taken as a demarcation to ‚other media’ such as online games and animated motion comics (closer to film than to comics), or these aspects can become part of the design of a given digital comic themselves. The resulting aesthetic options—in digital as well as in analogue spaces—have rarely been explored in any detail.

Prior to the workshop, two comic texts are made available to all the participants: Chris Ware‘s Jordan Wellington Lint (2010, print) and Stuart Campbell‘s These Memories Will not Last (2015, digital). Each day focusses on one of these comics, which are explored together in thorough analytical discussions. The discussions are aided by theoretical impulses from two guest lecturers and analytical impulses by the workshop’s organizers.
The first day is dedicated to phenomenology. Simon Grennan will introduce his aetiological study of comics and comics pictoriality, A Theory of Narrative Drawing (2017), which represents the most comprehensive exploration of comics research with a phenomenological conception of intersubjectivity yet. After discussing Grennans work, Björn Hochschild (Berlin), who works on a phenomenology of comic (and film) characters, opens the analytical discussion of Jordan Wellington Lint.
The second day focusses on media theoretical interface studies. Christoph Ernst from the Committee for Interface Studies of the German Society for Media Studies (GfM) will provide an overview of a process-oriented notion of the ‚interface.‘ Here, the term is not exhausted in the description of technical user interfaces, but focuses rather on particular processes of subjectivisation derived from the distributions of mediated agency. The following discussion of These Memories Will not Last is initiated by Lukas R.A. Wilde (Tübingen), who explores questions of comic digitization from a media theoretical perspective.

Call for Participation

Deliberately designed to leave much space for extensive and dedicated discussions, the workshop is open to a maximum of 30 participants. We warmly invite comic scholars, particularly PhD candidates, to contribute to our program. In general, we’d like to focus not so much on self-contained presentations and instead offer everyone the opportunity to add challenging questions, discuss related problems, or introduce the participants to pertinent primary material that a focus on reception aesthetics might help to address in a new light. Both afternoons of the workshop are reserved for contributions of any kind and in any format. Please write us with ideas of your own by October 1, 2019: and

Preliminary Schedule:

Friday, November 29: Saturday, November 30:
10:00 Welcome and introduction to the topic 10:00 Welcome
10:30 Guest lecture and discussion: Phenomenological approaches (Simon Grennan) 10:15 Guest lecture and discussion: Interface-Studies – An Overview
(Christoph Ernst)
12:30 Lunch break 12:15 Lunch break
13:30 Brief approaches to analysis
(Björn Hochschild)

& Analytical discussion

13:15 Brief approaches to analysis
(Lukas R.A. Wilde)

& Analytical discussion

15:00– Participants’ ideas and formats 14:45– Participants’ ideas and formats
Afterwards Short Conclusion Afterwards Short Conclusion


Call for Papers: Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies


Themed Section: Comics/Fandom: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Intersection of Fan Studies and Comics Studies

Expected publication date: November 2020

Co-Editors: Sophie G. Einwächter (Philipps-University Marburg, Germany); Vanessa Ossa (University of Tuebingen, Germany); Véronique Sina (University of Cologne, Germany), and Sven Stollfuß (University of Leipzig, Germany)

Participations is an online journal devoted to the broad field of audience and reception studies. It aims to bring works and debates from various fields concerned with media and culture into dialogue. The journal has pioneered a system of open refereeing for all contributions, designed to encourage open, critical debate among researchers. For more information see:

Call for Papers

Considering how crucially comic book marketing depends on loyal customers, especially fans, and to how great an extent the ever‐expanding franchises surrounding Marvel’s or DC’s comic worlds rely on user participation and fandom, it seems striking that the connection between comics studies and fan studies has hardly been explored in any great detail so far. Is this because comics studies focus on the text and fan studies on its recipient? Depending on the respective national background, comics studies, may have stronger roots in (comparative) literary studies, art history, or philology while fan studies are predominantly grounded in media and cultural studies or in sociology (focusing on individual and mass consumption practices or group phenomena).

The aim of the themed section is to bring together contributions that address overlaps and frictions between fan and comics studies. Potential topics for contributions may include, but are not limited to, the following questions:

  • In which ways do approaches and perspectives, topics, and objects of investigation differ in comics studies and fan studies?
  • In how far can comics studies profit from fan studies’ approaches and conceptions – and vice versa?
  • Which production, distribution, and consumption practices of comics and other media formats rely on and inspire fan cultural practices?
  • What is the role that cult fandom plays within professional contexts, either in the industry (as comic or media fans aspire to become illustrators, designers, authors, producers etc.), or within academia (as comics scholar‐fans and film/tv scholar‐fans emerge as leading figures within certain disciplinary fields)?
  • Are there gendered notions for the respective fields – perhaps a tendency for comparatively ‘male-dominated’ comics studies to stand out against more ‘female‐oriented’ fan studies?
  • Historical perspectives on comics studies and fan studies

The editors are happy to receive submissions from a variety of disciplines and are particularly interested in encouraging submissions from a range of research contexts. We welcome theoretical essays as well as empirical studies from various methodologies.

Please submit a 500-word abstract along with a 100-word author bio to Please title the email “Participations Themed Section Fandom/comics – your last name.”

Articles will be published in English. We recognize that writing in English can be challenging for authors who are not native speakers. As editors, we will help where we can, but we kindly ask authors to arrange for proofreading by a native speaker before confirming the acceptance of a submission. Please indicate in your proposal if you have access to proofreading, so that a good standard of presentation can be ensured.

Please visit the journal’s information for submission guidelines at

Abstracts Due: October 31 2019
Decisions to Authors: November 30 2019
Full submissions: May 1 2020
Final drafts: September 1 2020
Publication: November 2020

Contact Info: Sven Stollfuß, Junior Professor for Digital Media Culture, University of Leipzig,

CfP: Formen der Selbstreflexivität im Medium Comic (2./3. März 2017, Köln)


Der dritte Workshop der AG Comicforschung der Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft (GfM) steht unter dem Thema „Formen der Selbstreflexivität im Medium Comic“ und wird vom 2. bis 3. März 2017 an der Universität zu Köln stattfinden.

Weiterlesen CfP: Formen der Selbstreflexivität im Medium Comic (2./3. März 2017, Köln)