UPM LogoThe University Press of Mississippi has consistently been one of the most active publishers of English-language scholarship on comics, including manga. UPM is now accepting proposals for books in a series of collections of “original, multidisciplinary essays by established and emerging scholars on a major cartoonist or graphic novelist.” And, one of the cartoonists/graphic novelists that the call for proposals specifically identifies as being of interest is “God of Manga” Osamu Tezuka.

As is the case with most academic disciplines or areas, anime/manga studies is characterized by several different forms of “research output”. The book written by a single author, such as The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation, Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime and Religion in Contemporary Japan, or the forthcoming Manga in America: Transnational Book Publishing and the Domestication of Japanese Comics is the most obvious; the article in an academic journal – the most common. But, as with other disciplines/areas in the humanities and social sciences (not as much in the “hard sciences”), a lot of the research output of anime/manga studies exists in the form of essays in edited collections. These kinds of collections can focus on anime/manga specifically – some examples include Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives, Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the World of Manga and Anime, and Japanese Animation: East Asian Perspectives. They can also have a more general emphasis, or focus on another subject entirely, but welcome discussions of Japanese animation, Japanese comics, and related subjects – as with titles such as Channeling Wonder: Fairy Tales on Television, which includes the essay “The power to revolutionize the world, or absolute gender apocalypse?: Queering the new fairy-tale feminine in Revolutionary Girl Utena”, Textual Transformations in Children’s Literature: Adaptations, Translations, Reconsiderations, (including “Contested spaces. Reconfiguring narratives of origin and identity in Pocahontas and Princess Mononoke”), and Super/Heroes: From Hercules to Superman (“My own private apocalypse: Shinji Ikari as Schreberian paranoid superhero in Hideaki Anno’s Neon Genesis Evangelion).

With academic books, the standard process for writing one begins with submitting a proposal to a publisher. Likewise, to publish a journal article, an author must identify and select journals to submit a paper to. The process for contributing an essay to an edited collection is necessarily different. A publisher may issue a general announcement seeking proposals for essays on a particular subject, or can even approach a scholar who they think may be interested in putting together collection of essays based around a topic or theme that they are considered to be an expert on. And, one example of this kind of process is the announcement that is currently being distributed by the University Press of Mississippi for contributions to a new series of essay collections – Critical Approaches to Graphic Artists – “edited volumes of original, multidisciplinary essays by established and emerging scholars on a major cartoonist or graphic novelist”.

Each of the individual volumes in the series will focus on an individual artist/creator, but beyond that, is not limited to any specific kinds of approaches. Suggested topics for the individual essays in each volume can include some – or all – of a number of issues, such as:

  • the artist’s contributions to the medium’s history, development, and reception
  • their cultural, contextual, and aesthetic influences and resonances
  • their accounts or elisions of class, race, gender, sexuality, and disability
  • their relationship to or distance from literature, art history, film, and other contiguous disciplines
  • their participation in or detachment from wider social and commercial currents for comics in popular culture

…this list is by no means exhaustive.

This publisher has already made a significant contribution to comics studies, with several dozen individual titles on comics – both single-author works and essay collections, among them, Natsu Onoda Power’s God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post-World War II Manga, the collection A Comics Studies Reader, with the essays “The acoustics of manga”, “Manga versus kibiyoshi“, and “Beyond shoujo: Blending gender”, and the just-published Boys Love Manga and Beyond: History, Culture and Community in Japan. And, as per the announcement, the new series, which is being managed by David M. Ball (Princeton University) specifically welcomes proposals for an essay collection that would be a “critical approach to the works of Osamu Tezuka”. The publisher’s general guidelines for submissions of proposals for both monographs and essay collections are available on their website. Any specific inquiries about this particular series can be directed to criticalcomics[at]gmail.com

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