What is the narrative of comic book history in the United States? For some comic scholars, a canon defined by themes such as trauma, memory, and autobiography defines the use way that comics provide particular insight on popular culture. Whatever these debates about comic canon, the form offers an important opportunity. Comic history is also urban history. Comics have played a central role in shaping our collective understanding of urban life. As visual narrative informed by questions of community, consumption, and identity, the comic medium offers an opportunity to think deeply about how the perception and the reality of urban life evolve through comic pages. In this presentation, Julian Chambliss will discuss the potential benefits offered by Collection as Data project developed by a Michigan State University workgroup using Michigan State University Library (MSUL) library metadata. What narratives of comics and community does such a dataset offer to scholars? How can these narratives engage students and scholars to create a greater understanding of comics and culture in the United States? This talk will highlight some potential pathways offered by comic book cities as windows on a wider urban imaginary in the United States.
Presented by Julian Chambliss, professor of English at Michigan State University and Val Berryman Curator of History at the Michigan State University Museum.