PatrimoniaLitté séminaire: Périodiques de jeunesse (21 février, 14h-16h)

La deuxième séance du séminaire PatrimoniaLitté sur la patrimonialisation des cultures populaires et médiatiques aura lieu à la bibliothèque de la Faculté des Arts de l’Université de Gand (Library Lab Loveling), 21 février du 14h à 16h.


Périodiques de jeunesse

Maaheen Ahmed (UGent), “(Re-)mettre en boîte : les plusieurs vies de la collection Van Passen”

Hélène Veilhan (MSH Clermont-Ferrand), “L’intention patrimoniale de Jean et Michel Bastaire, collectionneurs de littérature populaire”


Tous les séances du séminaire sont en mode hybride. Merci de contacter pour obtenir un lien de connexion.


ACME/COMICS lecture by Ivan Lima Gomes, 4 January 2024


Ivan Lima Gomes, Politics and criticism in the Latin American comics world during the 1960s and 1970s

4 January 2024, 2:00-3:30 PM, Camelot room, third floor, Blandijn


We are delighted to welcome Ivan Lima Gomes who will give the first ACME and COMICS talk for 2024 on his completed and ongoing projects on Latin American children’s comics!



Within Latin America, the 1960s and the 1970s constitute a pivotal period for the comics art world. It was a moment when comics artists and intellectuals sought to assert what meant to produce comics in the region, establishing a clear contrast between the Latin American historietas/quadrinhos and the American comics. Echoing critiques against the “dependency” condition and the U.S. “cultural imperialism”, several Latin American editorial projects aimed at introducing new characters and themes to the comics scene. Simultaneously, a range of publications endeavours to establish critical guidelines for the interpretation of comics in the region. This conference will address both aspects through two case studies: “Bingo, o pequeno jornaleiro,” a Brazilian comic strip published in the first half of the 1960s, whose stories unfold in low-income housing – favelas – and address issues such as blackness and poverty; and the intellectual debates on comics that resonates during the 1960s and 1970s in one of the foremost Latin American cultural magazines of the 20th century, the Cuban magazine Casa de las Américas.




Ivan Lima Gomes is Adjunct Professor for Latin American History and a CNPq funded scholar at the Federal University of Goiás, who works on image and text interactions in Latin American literature. Main topics of interest: Book History, Comics Studies and Latin American Studies, focusing on Memory, Historical Representation and Public History, with an interdisciplinary perspective. Author of several articles published in academic journals (IJOCA, Casa de las Américas, LARR, Caravelle etc.) and a monograph about comics and politics in Latin America during the 1960-1970, Os novos homens do amanhã: projetos e disputas em torno dos quadrinhos na América Latina. E-mail:

Reading Session with Barbara Postema

You are invited to attend our Reading Session with Dr. Barbara Postema (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)

Tuesday 7 November 2023, 13h30-15h45 pm

Ghent University, campus Blandijn, room Camelot


The two texts we will be discussing are:

Find all information in this BarbaraPostemaPoster.

ACME Speaker Series June @ULB

Two lectures by two visiting PhD students at Ghent University

Tuesday 13 June 2023, 10h00-12h00 am

ULB, Brussels, campus Solbosch, room AY2.107

Illustration © Dupuis 2023 Goscinny/Morris

The Imaginary Wild West: Transnational Tropes and the Franco-Belgian Cowboys as a Tool of Self-Reflection (a lecture by Audrey Garcia, University of California, Irvine)


Narrating Uncertainty through Comics: Precarious Times and Ghostly Worlds in Citéville and Citéruin by Jérôme Dubois (a lecture by Rodolfo Dal Canto, University of L’Aquila)




The Imaginary Wild West: Transnational Tropes and the Franco-Belgian Cowboys as a Tool of Self-Reflection (a lecture by Audrey Garcia, University of California, Irvine)


This project focuses on the trope of the Western and the Western cowboy firstly as a tool for transnational exchange and also for exploring national imaginaries, specifically, projections of Franco-Belgian identity. In this study, the prominence of the American cowboy rises to the forefront as I present the cowboy and the mythological West to be a “safe space” for Belgian comics to explore their relation to power and its identity through a third party. Because the mythologized West is an adaptable stage found within the adventure genre, it has potential to convey localized ideologies. Cowboys’ unique openness results from the fact that the “American” cowboy is truly not American at all; cowboys popularized by cinema are based on Italian Spaghetti Westerns or are inspired by tales of Mexican ‘vaqueros’. Therefore, the cowboy is a figment of imagination rooted in idealism and a mythologized version of the American West. The inherent transnationality of cowboys creates a figure capable of becoming adapted by any specific culture. The transnationalism of cowboys and geographic distance of its setting allows the genre to be used as a tool of fantasy that removes itself directly while maintaining its Franco-Belgian characteristics. Furthermore, the ability for these figures to travel internationally allows it to open pathways for various social commentary and expansion into new iterations of the trope.




Narrating Uncertainty through Comics: Precarious Times and Ghostly Worlds in Citéville and Citéruin by Jérôme Dubois (a lecture by Rodolfo Dal Canto, PhD student at the University of L’Aquila)


In 2020, French cartoonist Jérôme Dubois simultaneously published a couple of comics for two different publishing houses: Citéville, brought out by Cornélius, and Citéruin, released by Éditions Matière. The former features nine short chapters set in a major urban center, Citéville: here the characters are victims of various forms of systemic violence, within dynamics that border on dystopia. Citéruin looks like the same comic, with the division into short stories with the same title, identical layout and framing, with one fundamental change: the streets of Citéville are deserted, completely devoid of human presence, and the buildings seem to have been abandoned long ago or struck by a sudden catastrophe. Jérôme Dubois’ double work shows different levels of precariousness, which turn out to coexist in a layered dialogue. On the one hand, Citéville shows through a grotesque style some characteristics peculiar to our contemporary times, such as job precariousness or the difficulty of building a future within dynamics that are as rigid as they are absurd; on the other hand, Citéruin stages, through a story told by subtraction, the existential uncertainty of humanity as a whole. Through an original use of tools proper to the comic medium, the author makes human presence coexist with his own absence, inviting reflection on the time and space we inhabit, and the ruin inscribed in them. The presentation will navigate through these intersections, analyzing the two texts using an approach that links the themes related to ecocriticism, posthumanism, and precarity with the formal strategies through which they are told, using a medium-specific approach.

ACME Speaker Series Event 12 May: Clara Vilaboa Saenz and Eva Van de Wiele

12 May 2023 –  3 – 5 pm –  KULeuven, Mgr. Sencie Instituut MSI, room 02.15


Comics in the reading ecosystem: Discussing children’s comics as part of literary education in the Spanish Elementary School

The lecture by Clara Vilaboa Sáenz (PhD student of Education and Literature, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona)


Elementary Schools constitute a key context in the literary experience of the child reader as open, public spaces in which all children have an opportunity to encounter literature. This research project aims to analyse the literary and pedagogic value of children’s comics and focuses on the double impact that comics have as tools to promote reading and as strategies to develop the multimodal reading competence. To document and interpret the reality of comics in the reading ecosystem of the school, we have carried out an ethnographic, collaborative study on a public school in Spain (6- to 12-year-olds) that has focused on the needs, interests and challenges that appear when integrating comics in the school. Here, we have designed two main lines of action: the analysis of how comics are integrated and promoted from the school library and the analysis of the pedagogy implied in the promotion, reading and discussion of comics in a 4th-year classroom (8- to 10-year-olds). In addition, we have documented the perspectives of children, teachers, librarians and families to have a holistic perception of the role of comics in the school. This ethnographic study constitutes the core of the research project and has been complemented with a theoretical review of the research published on the intersection of comics and Elementary Education between the years 2000 to 2023. Thus, the project has allowed us to acquire a longitudinal and contextualised perspective of the role that children’s comics have in Elementary School.


Group discussion on Sugar, Spice, and the Not So Nice: Comics Picturing Girlhood

The group discussion will focus on chapters 1 and 9 of Sugar, Spice, and the Not So Nice. The book is available open access, and was edited by Dona Pursall and Eva Van de Wiele, Eva will chair the discussion.


Eszter Szép talk on Comics and Graphic Design

7 March, 2023, 10:00-12:00, Faculteitszaal, Blandijnberg 2, Gent


How can we understand comics differently if we ask questions inspired by design theory and use methodologies borrowed from design practice? The talk is about an ongoing and open-ended research project aimed at uniting design thinking and comics theory in an attempt to rethink the status and affordances of the medium of comics.

For more information on Eszter Szép, please visit her website:


Comics, the Children and Childishness

Comics, the Children and Childishness

Ghent, Belgium, 18-19 September, 2023


Comics have often been dismissed as child’s fare.  While comics scholars have long struggled with such dismissals, today they are more likely to run up against the stereotype that ‘comics are not just for children’ (Pizzino). The ‘for children’ snub has encouraged scholarship to focus on comics and graphic novels for adults. Although we have seen several exciting studies on the children in comics (Abate; Apostolidès, Chaney; Gordon; Saguisag) and comics for children (Abate and Tarbox, Heimermann and Tullis), most of which have appeared over the past decade, the many complex connections between comics and children remain understudied. These include but are not limited to:

  • child characters and comics childhoods
  • caricature and its closeness to, and inspiration from, childlike drawing styles
  • the historically unstable status of comics as the medium transitioned into the realm of children’s culture and then out of it; contents, publication contexts and sociocultural factors contributing to changes in intended readerships
  • the presumed childishness of the medium and the ways comics authors, readers and critics engage with it


Comics, the Children and Childishness seeks to disentangle these and other forms of interactions between comics and children. This follows the objectives of the COMICS project at Ghent University which focuses on children’s comics magazines, child characters in comics and graphic novels, young readers’ interactions (both programmed and unexpected) with their comics and children’s drawings.

The conference elaborates on two key strands: comics and children’s culture, especially print culture, and childishness and comics.


  1. Children’s (Print) Culture

 The conference is keen on exploring the vast range of comics in children’s magazines, especially, but not only, from the early decades of the twentieth century, to map out the different roles accorded to comics, the kinds of comics associated with children’s culture and how conceptualizations of comics have varied in children’s print cultures. It hopes to interweave insights from comics studies, periodical studies and the broader field of childhood studies.

Possible questions to be broached include, without being limited to, the following:

What kinds of spaces were accorded to comics in children’s magazines?

What kinds of paratexts accompanied these comics?

How did comics sections change over time and across contexts?

How did comics interact with changing media landscapes?

What kinds of pedagogical and editorial influences molded (or ignored, or criticized) children’s comics and the publications in which they appeared?

This strand is also interested in transmedia interactions with children’s and youth cultures and the ways in which children interact with comics as readers and critics (Tilley) and as comics makers. Contributions on memories of childhood comics readings are also welcome. Further topics to explore therefore include:

Expansion of comics characters and storyworlds beyond printed pages;

Changes in reader segments (young, gendered, mixed, teen);

Interactive segments in magazines and other activities promoted by them, including children’s letter columns, competitions, games and clubs;

The retelling and revisiting of childhood memories of comics readings in comics and other media (novels, films etc.).


  1. Childishness

The second strand of the conference explores how notions of childishness affect critical and popular discourses around and within comics. Seeking reflections on a diverse range of comics, including self-published and unpublished works, such as children’s drawings incorporating comics, this strand also encourages contributions on the manifestations of childishness in comics for children. We hope to combine insights into comics forms and styles with new methodologies for better understanding unpublished, scattered and marginal materials. Once again transdisciplinary insights from comics studies, children’s literature and childhood studies are especially welcome.

Possible questions and topics include:

How does the labeling of comics as childish impact reading practices?

How has childishness impacted the reception of comics and how have artists and authors responded to it?

How can conceptions of childishness have an impact on comics styles, ranging from the imitation of childish styles to artists incorporating or taking inspiration from children’s drawings?

What are the possibilities for reading and interpreting childishness in comics stories and styles?

How do connotations of, and interactions with, childishness compare across comics for children, crossover comics and comics for adults?

What kinds of impact can different publication contexts and formats have on notions of childishness?

How can such reflections on childishness in comics benefit from insights on comictuous (see Beineke) corpora including children’s drawings, outsider art, doodles, and the more institutionalized visual and popular arts?


For the purposes of this conference, children include all non-adults. Comics is likewise understood to encompass a broad range of publications, from comic strips and zines to magazines with comics, comics albums and graphic novels. We welcome papers on comics cultures from all over the world, ranging from the earliest printed comics to contemporary publications.


The conference will be held in Ghent, Belgium, from 18 to 19 September 2023.

Please send abstracts of about 500 words and a brief bio note by 15 January 2023 to and to

Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 30 January 2023.


Image from Noël Bayon’s photo essay, La Bourse aux Illustrés, 1953


This conference is a COMICS activity, which has received generous funding from the European Research Council under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant no. 758502).




Selected Bibliography

Michelle Ann Abate, Funny Girls: Guffaws, Guts and Gender in Classic American Comics. University Press of Mississippi, 2018.

Michelle Ann Abate and Joe Sutliff Sanders, eds. Good Grief! Children and Comics. A Collection of Companion Essays. Ohio State University Libraries, 2016.

Michelle Ann Abate and Gwen Athene Tarbox, eds. Graphic Novels for Children and Adults: A Selection of Critical Essays. University Press of Mississippi, 2017.

Jean Marie Apostolidès, “Hergé and the Myth of the Super Child,” Yale French Studies no. 111 (2007), 45-57.

Bart Beaty, The Twelve-Cent Archie. Rutgers University Press, 2015.

Michael Chaney, “The Child in and as Comics,Reading Lessons in Seeing: Mirrors, Masks and Mazes in the Autobiographical Graphic Novel, 57-94. University Press of Mississippi, 2016.

Jared Gardner and Ian Gordon, eds. The Comics of Charles Schulz: The Good Grief of Modern Life. University Press of Mississippi, 2017.

Mel Gibson, Remembered Reading: Memory, Comics and Post-War Constructions of British Girlhood. Leuven University Press,

Ian Gordon, Kids Comics: A Genre Across Four Countries, Palgrave, 2016.

Charles Hatfield, “Comic Art, Children’s Literature and the New Comics Studies,” The Lion and the Unicorn vol. 30, no. 3 (2006), 360-382.

Mark Heimermann and Britanny Tullis, eds., Picturing Childhood: Youth in Transnational Comics. University of Texas Press, 2017.

Christopher Pizzino, Arresting Development: Comics at the Boundaries of Literature. University of Texas Press, 2016.

Julia Round, Gothic for Girls: Misty and British Comics. University Press of Mississippi, 2019.

Lara Saguisag, Incorrigibles and Innocents: Constructing Childhood and Citizenship in Progressive Era Comics. Rutgers University Press, 2018.

Gwen Athene Tarbox, Children’s and Young Adult Comics. Bloomsbury, 2020.

Carol L. Tilley, “Children and the Comics: Young People Take on the Critics,” Protest on the Page: Essays on Print and the Culture of Dissent Since 1865, edited by James L. Baughman et al., 161-182. University of Wisconsin Press, 2015.