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The Comicality project

Comicality will explore a graphic culture specific to practices such as comics, illustration, caricature, cartoons, animated films or even video games... Our goal is to question the specificity and evolution of their modes of expression, production and reception.

Comicality: the project

Our journal enables researchers to investigate a way of creation that constructs a meaning by putting together lines and curves on a flat surface. In that point of view, comic books occupy a special place in our publication and we intend to approach it as an object in continuous change, which may take multiple forms in terms of aesthetic propositions or media configurations.

Organized around a director of the publication, a scientific committee and a peer-review process, Comicality is a resolutely scientific publication that faces a paradoxal French academic situation.

  • The academic interest in comics and graphic culture is in France real. Statistics of a scientific information tool as Les Carnets de la bande dessinée (that we have created in December 2009) has stabilized between 1600 and 1800 unique visitors per month, while recognized journals as Communication et langage, Hermes or Mots (which devoted an entire issue to caricature) do not hesitate to discuss topics relating directly to "graphic culture".

  • This interest is not necessarily structured within the university, and more broadly in French research. No research centre conduct at the moment of ambitious programs on comics; meanwhilek of many French theorists (Pierre Couperie, Pierre-Fresnault Deruelle, Thierry Groensteen ...) have long crossed the border. It seems that a link has not made between research booming in the last two decades and institutions would be able to stimulate them.

This lack of a rallying point among researchers is probably due in part to the lack of journals: Neuvième Art is the only successor of the famous Cahiers de la bande dessinée, and a scientific publication like Comicality therefore seems to take its place in the current French research landscape.

Comicality: research fields

Comicality intends to maintain relations with other scientific publications as Neuvième Art, European Comic Art, Studies in comics or Image [&] Narrative in order to participate effectively in the construction of an emerging scientific field. Its objective is to approach “graphic culture” by focusing on, for example, the following problems.

  • The situation of comic books in the reading practices, and more broadly in cultural practices of certain social groups. Could thus be considered call for publications like "Comics and adolescence", "Comics and culture of childhood," "Comic strip: a popular art?", "Reading comics: what skills?" etc..

  • The construction and evolution of comics editorial system, in order to raise the issue of power, actors and objects that constitute it. We have already considered calls for papers as "The graphic novel: what identity?", "Independent publishing, dependent publishing?", "(A suivre) : history of a collection" and so on.

  • The report of the comic to the media environment in which it operates and the study of different forms engendered by its inclusion in the press, the book or digital. Will be considered: "The comics: an art book?", "The Strip: from newspaper to screen," "The comic book album"...

  • The comic strip's relations with other forms of creation, both in methods and purposes. This could lead to calls for publication like "The colour in comics", "Literature: a model for comics?", "Comic and cartoon", etc..

Through these axes, Comicality falls within the scope of "cultural studies" and is an area marked by hospitality to researchers coming from sociology, history, cultural anthropology, science information and communication...

Comicality: operating mode

Our project has always been to create a e-journal: Comicality intends to use all the resources offered by new technologies to be part of a scientific field that is not fully structured and whose approach may face many obstacles (lack of abundant documentation outside the French Cité Internationale de la Bande Dessine et de l’Image, low number of available critical essays, lack of access to published comics except the “new”...).
It seems to us necessary to give researchers working on comics, the means, the audience and the time required for the development of thinking. We thus adopted the following system.

  • Continuous publication. Comicality is organized around "thematics", that is to say sections containing articles responding to a given call for papers. It is valid for an indefinite period of time: the publication of articles is limited only by the evaluation process, and we hope that the works that we will release first provide to other researchers a scientific support that will be discussed on our scientific blog.

  • Administration of a scientific blog. Comicality works closely with Les Carnets de la bande dessinée that we have created in December 2009. It publishes initial calls for papers (as well as Calenda, Fabula, H-Net) and they are detailed and actualized by the researchers in charge of a "thematic". We will publish regular calls for more specific texts, making clear the fields research are not yet covered by the proposals already endorsed.

  • Animation of a scientific network. To get the most out of its operation, Comicality willdevelop a newsletter announcing the latest releases and calls for papers. We hope it will allow the emergence of a scientific community whose Carnets de la bande dessinée statistics prove the existence (85.8% of connections are coming from Bookmarks). We also plan to create an electronic discussion list and to contribute to any effort to aggregate the work of journals focusing on objects close to ours.

Comicality is a place of hospitality for all work on comics and graphic culture. Scientific journal with a very rigorous peer-review process, it aims to promote the work of researchers in all disciplines and all grades.

Submitting articles and calls for papers

Comicality’s publicationstake place in two spaces.

A "Thematic" depends of a call for papers that is presented at the beginning of each section. It is valid for an unlimited period of time and its delivery date ensures a fast process of evaluation and publication. But you can always send us proposals in the form of a draft of around 3000 characters.

The animation of a "thematic" is given to researchers who wish to structure a scientific field from their own work. They write a call for papers and precise it several times on Les Carnets de la bande dessinée. They may insist on remaining aspects of their proposal they believe to be explored. Finally, they participate with the editor in the selection of proposals and articles submitted for evaluation.

“Eclectics” bring together articles not responding to a call for papers and involve the same evaluation rules as a "thematic". Proposals take the form of a draft of around 3000 characters.

Peer-review process

Our objective is to give value to works on comics and graphic culture and Comicality is organized around a peer-review process mobilizing several committees. Examining all the scientific proposals, they are intended to help researchers improving their writing stating any track of thoughts or useful reference.

All texts (articles, call for papers) are presented to them anonymously and the editor is the only one who knows the identity of their authors.

  • Call for papers (scientific committee). They are written by the researcher wishing to take a "thematic" in charge and are subject to an exchange with the editor. When this one judges the project mature enough, it submits it to the scientific committee that makes suggestions for strengthening the coherence of the approach.

  • Proposals (scientific committee). Selected by the editor and eventually the researcher heading a "thematic", they are submitted to the scientific committee. It gives an opinion that is worth encouragement or request the researcher to clarify its approach.

  • Articles (peer committee). They are first submitted to the editor who eventually invites the author to rework. The editor then chooses to present them anonymously to two experts of the peer committee: they formulate an opinion based on specific criteria (see downloadable form). The unanimity of the three votes is required for publication.

Certifying information and ensuring the publication of quality works, this process can be extremely long: we invite researchers who wish to publish in comicality to contact us well before the drafting stage of their work. To do this, you should use the following email address: comicalites@gmail.com

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