Meet The Board: Web Editor Jeremy M. Carnes

We are continuing our Meet The Board posts this week with Web Editor, Jeremy M. Carnes. Jeremy is a Ph.D. Candidate and AOP Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Department of English, on the Literature and Cultural Theory track.

How long have you been involved with CSS? What brought you to CSS?

I joined CSS as a founding member at the International Comic Arts Forum in 2016 in Columbia, SC. That was my first time at a comics studies conference, and it seemed like a boon to get in on the ground floor of this new organization. Shortly after ICAF 2016, I began working with then Vice President Josh Kopin and former President Colin Beineke to develop a plan for the web presence of the Graduate Student Caucus.

What was the first comic that you remember reading, or the first that really had an impact on you as a reader?

I actually don’t remember the very first comic I read. For some reason, when I get asked this question, the comic that always sticks out is Giant Size X-Men #4 from 2005. This issue focuses in large part on the “Legacy of Thunderbird” the Apache mutant introduced back in Giant Size X-Men #1 and promptly killed off two issues later. I think part of the reason this particular issues sticks out to me though is because of my work in indigenous studies. In one bound issue, Marvel reproduces the bulk of Thunderbird’s story, and the issues of indigenous erasure are hard to miss or forget.

What are you reading now that you think others should look into?

One of my favorite new publishers to keep up with is Native Realities Press, which focuses on Indigenous comics. I especially love Elizabeth LaPensée (Anishinaabe) and Jonathan R. Thunder’s (Ojibwe) “Deer Woman: A Vignette” and the accompanying Deer Woman: An Anthology. I also think everyone should read Arigon Starr’s (Kickapoo) SuperIndian and Volumes 1 and 2 of Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection (Volume 3 is coming soon).

I am also really enjoying Sina Grace’s continuation of Iceman, now with Nate Stockman on art. Nnedi Okorafore and Leonardo Romero’s Shuri is incredible, issue after issue. I still am enjoying Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther and Captain America, but understand why these aren’t appealing to everyone. Finally, I am continually longing for more issues of David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene’s Bitter Root; Tee Franklin and Alitha Martinez’s Jook Joint, and Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk’s Man-Eaters.

I also just finished Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do, which is incredibly beautiful.

What comics scholar has most impacted your current research, and why?

I got the pleasure of meeting Ramzi Fawaz back when I was an M.A. student at Ball State University before his book, The New Mutants, came out. It was a singular experience. His book and the more recent “Queer About Comics” special issue of American Literature he edited with Darieck Scott have been formative in my thoughts about the medium. I also find myself returning to Hillary Chute and Charles Hatfield, whose work has been so foundational to the field.

More specifically though, my grad student and early career colleagues in comics studies help me to actually do the hard work. They inspire me every day. Margaret Galvan and Nicholas Miller have been amazing writing partners and brilliant people to think alongside. Osvaldo Oyola has been singularly kind in encouraging my work, and in splitting room costs with me at pretty much every comics studies conference. Further, the work of folks like Adrienne Resha, Leah Misemer, Francesca Lyn, Rachel Miller, Colin Beineke, Josh Kopin, Biz Nijdam, Andréa Gilroy, Joshua Plencner, and Sean Guynes has been so important in my own development as a comics studies scholar. I really wouldn’t be doing what I am without these folks and their brilliant work.

Is there any recent shift in the field of comics studies that you are particularly excited about?

In his 2010 article “Indiscipline, or, The Condition of Comics Studies” Charles Hatfield wrote about how comics studies has been an import discipline; approaches from other fields, like literary studies or film studies, have been brought in to make sense of comics. I think, following on Hatfield’s hope he describes later in the same piece, comics studies is beginning to flip this approach. I am very heartened by the notion that approaches to comics on their own terms can exist and that these approaches can actually help us to think differently about literature, film, language, philosophy, medicine, or art history, etc.

Who is the comics writer/artist/scholar that has most influenced the way you think about the field?

Again, Ramzi Fawaz has been a huge influence in this way. However, I also recently finished Hannah Miodrag’s book Comics and Language, which has totally made me rethink the ways we talk about the form of comics. I think this is one of the most important works in comics studies in the past five years and really affects every facet of the field.

If you could choose one comic writer or artist to meet who would it be and why?

I’m going to cheat and name three writers, all of whom are working or worked on related projects: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Nnedi Okorafore, and Roxane Gay. I have so many things I’d love to discuss with them about the particular decisions they made in their respective Black Panther (or BP adjacent) series. The Wakanda that we’ve seen emerge in the past three years is quite different from the Wakanda of the 1960s and 1970s. I’d love to just hear them talk about these series.

What are you currently working on and do you have plans for future projects?

I have a handful of articles that are going through the editorial process right now, but the main project is my dissertation. Tentatively titled Historical Dissidence: The Radical Possibilities of Comics Form, this project explores the various ways comics depict temporality and how these depictions can complicate our understanding of history. I am focusing on critical indigenous theory and queer theory to argue that comics form carries radical possibilities for the queering and decolonization of both time and history.

I’m also hoping a certain X-Men project comes together with a couple of colleagues!

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @jmcarnes or email him at jcarnes@uwm.edu.

Next week will be our final Meet The Board Post until after elections! We get to hear more about our current Vice President and incoming President, Biz Nijdam.


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Meet the Board: Member-at-Large Hanah Stiverson

We are back again with another installment of our Meet the Board posts! This week is Member-at-Large Hanah Stiverson. Hanah is a Ph.D. Candidate (who recently passed her prelims! Yay, Hanah!) and Instructor in American Culture at the University of Michigan.

How long have you been involved with CSS? What brought you to CSS?

This is my first year working with CSS. I know Elizabeth (Biz) Nijdam, the CSS Vice President, from the University of Michigan where we both attended. When a position opened up she contacted me to see if I would be interested and I jumped at the chance to meet more comics folks! There are relatively few of us at my institution and I’m always looking for opportunities to branch out into the comics studies world and see what others are working on.

What was the first comic that you remember reading, or the first that really had an impact on you as a reader?

I read serial comics sporadically as a kid, generally ones that I would find in boxes labeled ‘free’ at yard sales and such. I grew up out in the boonies, so I didn’t have access to much beyond newspaper comic strips, which I still love for nostalgia if nothing else. The first actual comic book that I remember reading in full is one of the earlier Swamp Thing collections. I can’t be sure, but I would guess that it was during Alan Moore’s tenure because what impacted me was the cerebral darkness of the storyline. I’m not a fan of Moore in general, but Swamp Thing as a series had a way of bridging my twin interests of dark fantasy and superpowered beings in a way that I hadn’t experienced up to that point. However, a much more impactful read for me as a comics fan and scholar is Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’s Saga. I started reading that shortly after it debuted in 2012 and it radically altered how I thought about comics as a medium.

What are you reading now that you think others should look into?

God, this is a hard question. I have so many titles to choose from! Probably everyone has read this already, but one of my favorites is Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda. The artwork by Takeda is beyond fantastic. It’s moody, intricate, and gently morose. I love the use of the dystopian Matriarchy which reminds me of some of my favorite SF writers, namely Ursula LeGuin and Sheri Tepper. I also have to mention a relatively new comic also published by Image called Prism Stalker, written and drawn by the fantastic Sloane Leong. It’s been likened to a trippy Sailor Moon, which I’m not sure I agree with, but it is definity trippy. More importantly it explores notions of settler-colonialism, indigeneity, and cultural erasure. I don’t know that she is the strongest writer or artist out there, but her use of both has created something a bit magical.

What comics scholar has most impacted your current research, and why?

My research is heavily focused on systems of power and representation, so three scholars that I’m deeply indebted to are Adilifu Nama, Grace L. Dillon, and Kodwo Eshun. Dillon’s use of ‘Indigenous scientific literacies’ and ‘Ceremonial worlds’ is fantastic and vital, and Nama and Eshun both explore comics, power, and blackness in uniquely important and nuanced ways.

Is there any recent shift in the field of comics studies that you are particularly excited about?

I’m going to have to echo Josh on this and say the aspect of comics studies that I’m most excited by is the growth in the field! There are so many innovative people and ideas that are emerging that it would be nearly impossible to pin down one aspect.

Who is the comics writer/artist/scholar that has most influenced the way you think about the field?

There have been a lot of scholars (and writers/artists) that have at different points shaped how I view this ever expanding and evolving field we’re in, but two recent reads have been wonderful for me to see the breadth of possibilities. Kate Polack’s work Ethics in the Gutter and Carolyn Cocca’s Superwomen are both fantastic books that helped me find my scholarly footing, so to speak.

If you could choose one comic writer or artist to meet, who would it be and why?

I’m going to cheat a bit and say a creative team that I’d like to meet: Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Not only are they both unbelievably talented people, but they have a really unique partnership. Vaughan is such a huge name and yet it seems like Staples is still an equal partner both economically and in creative decisions. I’d love to sit down with them and talk about their individual and collective experiences working on Saga and their other projects.

What are you currently working on and do you have plans for future projects?

Literally nothing for at least one more week! I just finished prelims/field exams and I am exhausted. In reality though, I’m beginning work on my dissertation which is broadly about the middle spaces in the comics industry that exist between ‘mainstream’ production and ‘alternative’ products, which can hold radical potential. I’ve just started writing the framework for a chapter about digital comics and forms of cultural capital – so it should be a fun project.

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Welcome!

Welcome to the new website for the Graduate Student Caucus of the Comics Studies Society!

We hope that this website can become a tool for networking and professionalization for graduate students, early career faculty, and other applicable individuals working in or around comics studies. We will continue building this website in the coming months to include even more Call for Papers, various resources, and a forum for discussion between individuals about issues related to comics studies research. For now, please take a look at what we have on the website, and come back to see the work we will continue to do!

The most engaging space for this site, we hope, will be this very blog. We encourage anyone to propose a blog post based on their research, their experience working in comics studies, or any other facet related to the study of comics. If you would like to propose a longer post (750+ words), please email a short (200-250 word) proposal to our Web Editors at gradcaucus.web@gmail.com. If you would like to write a shorter post, you can send the entire post instead of a proposal. We welcome a variety of posts. We hope that this space can jump start conversations between scholars and give us all more outlets to discuss our research and make both personal and professional connections.

If you have suggestions for the website, or something you’d like to see, please send your request to the address above or use the “Contact Us” form. We want this to be a space that gets used, so we are open to hearing what would be most useful to everyone engaging with the website.

Here’s to the road ahead!

Sincerely,

The Graduate Student Caucus Board

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