President: Zachary J.A. Rondinelli

Zachary J.A. Rondinelli (he/him) is a Ph.D. student in Educational Studies at Brock University in St. Catharines, ON Canada. His primary research interests include comics theory, multimodality, and reading/literacy studies. Since the on-set of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zachary has been engaged in a social media research project on Twitter called, #WelcomeToSlumberland (@LittleNemo1905). This transactional reading project, which was awarded the 2021 Gilbert Seldes Prize in Public Scholarship by the Comics Studies Society, intends to explore individual and collaborative meaning making practices by engaging in discussion about Winsor McCay’s “Little Nemo” comic strips within the digital social media environment. 

Beyond his qualitative research in comics, Zachary has published scholarly work in tba: Journal of Art, Media and Visual Culture, Digital Culture & Education, and Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review. He is also an active public scholar, having published online scholarship with The Vault of Culture and PopMatters, as well as printed work in Sequential: Canadian Independent Comic Book Magazine and PanelxPanel. In 2021, Zachary served as a member on the Organizing Committee for the first ever conference dedicated entirely to Canadian comics, “80 Years and Beyond: A Symposium on Canadian Comics”, and is serving as Co-Editor (alongside CSS Past-President, Candida Rifkind) to a special issue of Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review dedicated to Canadian Comics. Zachary is active on Twitter (@zjarondinelli) and Facebook and always eager to connect with other comics scholars!

Vice President: Sydney Heifler

Sydney Heifler is a comic book historian who specializes in romance comics created during the immediate post-war era in both the United States and the United Kingdom. She is a recent graduate of the MSt in Women’s Studies from the University of Oxford. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in history at the Ohio State University with a Distinguished University Fellowship. Sydney can be found on Twitter @romancecomicbks. Pronouns: she/her/hers.

Secretary-Treasurer: Maite Urcaregui

Maite Urcaregui (she/her/hers) is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research investigates how multiethnic US authors employ visual poetics to navigate and critique the visual politics of race, particularly as they demarcate national belonging and who is seen as “citizen.” She has published in Prose Studies and has chapters featured in The Routledge Companion to Gender & Sexuality in Comic Book Studies and Gender and the Superhero Narrative. Her public scholarship has appeared in The Black Scholar, The Middle Spaces, and the Eisner Award-winning Women Write About Comics.

Member-at-Large: Katlin Marisol Sweeney-Romero

Katlin Marisol Sweeney-Romero (she/her) is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at The Ohio State University who specializes in Latinx Studies and popular culture. She is at work on her dissertation, which explores how Latina content creators use social media profiles to produce self-images and an online self. She has published chapters in TikTok Cultures in the United States (Routledge, 2022), Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century (U of Arizona P, 2022), Cultural Studies in the Digital Age (SDSU Press, 2021), and The Routledge Companion to Gender and Sexuality in Comic Book Studies (Routledge, 2020). In 2020, she also co-edited a special issue of Prose Studies (vol. 41, no. 2) on Latinx nonfiction with Frederick Luis Aldama.

In addition to her research, Katlin has been actively involved in programming focused on comics and popular culture, especially for BIPOC high school and college students. From 2019-2021, she served as both the Central Coordinator for SOL-CON: The Brown, Black, and Indigenous Comics Expo and as an Executive Team Leader with the Latinx Space for Enrichment and Research (LASER). She presently serves as the Co-Coordinator of Programming and Marketing Support for The Latinx Comic Arts Festival (LCAF) and is an Advisory Board member with LCAF at Modesto Junior College.

Member-at-Large: Frida Heitland

Frida (she/her) completed her master’s degree at the University of Oxford in 2020, which means that – ironically – she spent that summer immersed in the theme of comics and subjective, potentially traumatic experience. Her interest in comics germinated quite innocently while reading Donald Duck and Asterix as a child. It took a more theoretical turn during her undergraduate work on David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp and questions of (the presentation of) multimodal narrative identity construction. The arising theme of memory lead her to autobiographical works in her graduate studies and down the (somewhat darker?) rabbit hole of human experience, trauma, and its expression in works by Alison Bechdel, David B., and Katie Green. She seeks to delve deeper into questions of how/if comics form can facilitate an expression of subjective experience, drawing on phenomenological concepts by philosophers like Merleau-Ponty.

To distract her from the cookies distracting her from lockdown, Frida has translated the open access publication How to Study Comics and Graphic Novels (Enrique del Rey Cabero, Michael Goodrum and Josean Morlesín Mellado) into German. The finished German version will hopefully be available by January 2022. She has also transferred her personal interest in nature into the academic sphere and developed an interest in ecocriticism. Questions such as how humans define themselves against nature, what role technology plays, and if/how we can represent the non-human fascinate her (among many others). Ideally, some of Frida’s investigations would combine ecocriticism and comics studies. She’s always eager to hear from fellow scholars or private enthusiasts and you can reach her on ResearchGate.

Web Editor: Austin Kemp

Austin (they/them) graduated with their MA in English from Brandeis University where comics quickly became the focal point of all study. Punctuating their degree with a graduate paper on the semiotic myth-making of comics and their social implications, Austin hopes to move into the compositional aspects of comics studies and use their studies of comics linguistics to improve pedagogical approaches and student accessibility. In the meantime, Austin passes the hours supporting local comic book shops, writing comics reviews (@CultureandPop), and mustering motivation for paper proposals.

Austin is active on Twitter (@AustinKemp13) and is always open to talking about comics.