Key Terms in Comics Studies (Palgrave)

Although limited to the English-speaking world (meaning that if one could in fact quote and integrate other sources, the field would expand substantially), its entries are concise yet thorough, as informative points of departure, and the set draws quite a broad field, interconnected to many other issues and fields.

I am quite honored to have been part of the roster of international comics scholars participating in this excellent book, which I’m certain will become a must-have for Comic Studies approaches everywhere, both for introductory or more advanced levels.

I penned the entries for “Composition,” “Historicism,” “Icon,”, “Scripts,” and “Trauma.”

I want to thank editors Erin La Cour, Rik Spanjers and Simon Grennan for the invitation and trust.

Published by Palgrave, it is available in both print and e-book versions here.

Talking with Douglas Wolk on “All the Marvels”

On the occasion of the publishing of All The Marvels (Profile Books, 2021), I interviewed the author, comics and popular culture scholar Douglas Wolk. In this volume, Wolk proposed to read the astonishing number of 27000 comic books from Marvel, in order to explore and show how all of these different texts make up one unified narrative thread, as a sort of “perpetually expanding canvas” (pg. 13). He states that “there’s hidden knowledge to be found in them, for those who take the time to look deeply” (121), and he did take that time, and shared his finding with us.

This was a very simple talk, and I’m grateful for having had this time to talk to Mr. Wolk. I hope you enjoy it too.

Talking with Lucy Sullivan on “Barking”

Lucy Sullivan put out a wonderful, punchy book called Barking (Unbound, 2020). Semi-autobiographical, but also the result of an intense research, we follow a young woman in the UK has she descends into mental turmoil, is sectioned into a psychiatric hospital and goes through a tumultuous experience. Broader political and social issues are brandished throughout this non-linear, paradoxical narrative, which gives us a first-person account of depression and anxiety. A riveting addition to the graphic medicine subfield of contemporary comics, Lucy Sullivan took some of her precious time to talk to us about the book, its production, its scope and impact.

Check the artist’s site:

El Color de la Selva. Aidan Koch (Tinta nos Nervos)

This is a very different post. As I am involved with the production of this exhibition and the edition of Aidan Koch’s book, while a partner of bookstore-gallery Tinta nos Nervos, in Lisbon, Portugal, instead of writing an exclusive text about this particular project, I’ll share all the materials that were developed for it. Below, you’ll find a video-tour of the exhibition and a video showing the book. Moreover, a copy of the exhibition handout, with the text about it. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, we couldn’t put up the new show (with works by French bande dessinée master Edmond Baudoin) and we had to close our doors. Aidan’s works are still on the wall, so passersby can check their beauty from afar… You can also check it, closer though, by purchasing the book here. Continue reading “El Color de la Selva. Aidan Koch (Tinta nos Nervos)”

Révolutions 1: Liberté. Florent Grouazel et Younn Locard (Actes Sud/L’An 2)

Take a moment to understand what the word Revolution means etymologically. A “course” of bodies, “revolving” along an appointed path. There must be a central body, exerting gravity, and other smaller bodies, revolving around it. That is what takes place in this first volume of this trilogy, dedicated to the French Revolution. The “immaterial” core is made up by the shattering events of 1789. The smaller bodies are the myriad of characters that we follow, in a complex, kaleidoscopic, varied social portrait of French society in this epochal shift.   Continue reading “Révolutions 1: Liberté. Florent Grouazel et Younn Locard (Actes Sud/L’An 2)”

Dédales. Charles Burns (Cornélius)

Charles Burns seems to be returning to his roots, by treading known ground. After the masterpiece of body horror meets teen angst that was Black Hole and the masterful genre-crushing disguised as weird ligne claire homage Last Look trilogy, the author puts out the first volume of a purported new series focusing, once again, on a young slacker loser and his awkward love interest, a more mature young woman, and references galore to Americana, B movies, and its crossing with science fiction, horror and kaiju. It is also, even if to lesser extent in terms of power and subtlety, about comics-creation itself. Continue reading “Dédales. Charles Burns (Cornélius)”

The Man Without Talents. Yoshiharu Tsuge (New York Review of Books)

The output of the New York Review of Books imprint dedicated to comics is really outstanding in terms of its variety, attention to both older and more recent historical work, artistic experimentation and porosity of genre and style boundaries, and, more importantly, I’d argue, translation. Despite its newness, and relatively limited catalogue, making available to the English-speaking world – which means beyond native English speakers and with an impact throughout the globe – work by authors such as Edmond Baudoin, Gébé, Dominique Goblet, Ulli Lust and Yvan Alagbé already makes it grandiose. Adding to this list an English edition of The Man Without Talents, by Yoshiharu Tsuge, and with a translation and wonderful essay by Ryan Holmberg, takes the cake.   Continue reading “The Man Without Talents. Yoshiharu Tsuge (New York Review of Books)”

Sabrina. Nick Drnaso (Granta)

Historically speaking, comics have been quite attentive to current topics. One way or another, even if through the most unabashed fantasy, comics’ active participation as public discourse on current events has always been part and parcel of its output. And even though we could create an idea that comics started out closer to such an attitude (say, from Francis Barlow 1682 Popish Plot illustrated ballad, rightly celebrated by David Kunzleto the way 19th century North American newspaper cartoons responded to the social mores of their heyday), then moved away into escapism throughout most of three quarters of the 20th century and then, late in the 1980s, started to move back into realityrelated modes (through autobiographical, biographical, documentary, reportage, historical and essaylike comics), there is always a manner to interrogate comics texts in order to understand it’s contextual ground.  Continue reading “Sabrina. Nick Drnaso (Granta)”

Sadbøi. Berliac (Canicola)

Short disclaimer: some of these thoughts were penned down in mid-2016, when I reviewed Berliac’s Desolation.Exe, then a small zine gathering multiple material, which the author republished later in book format, with my text as a preface.

This a book that conflates a significant number of themes, all of which are considerable in terms of some call “relevance,” almost in a programmatic manner. A comic book that concatenates its elements, tempers them in a hotly fashioned object, and then brandishes it in a weaponized manner.  Continue reading “Sadbøi. Berliac (Canicola)”

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