On May 17, the organizers of Comic-Con International: San Diego announced the nominees for this year’s Eisner Awards (for materials published in 2022) – officially the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. Although the Eisner Awards are generally known for honoring specific comics and the work of specific comics artists and writers, since 2012, one of the awards has recognized the year’s Best Educational/Academic Work. The category is now officially titled Best Scholarly/Academic Work, and this year once again, although none of the five titles that have received nominations in it specifically discuss Japanese comics, one is an essay collection with several chapters that do.

The LGBTQ+ Comics Studies Reader: Critical Openings, Future Directions (University Press of Mississippi) includes among its contents 3 very different essays on different aspects of manga, brought together under the section heading “Global Crossings and Intersections”:

First, Prof. Keiko Miyajima (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York), contributes the chapter XX, XY, and XXY: Genderqueer bodies in Hagio Moto’s science fiction manga, a reading of several classic manga titles including Marginal, Star Red, and They Were 11, that emphasizes depictions of trans* identities “as a site of resistance to any coercive gender norms”.

Following this, William S. Armour is the author of An exploration of the birth of the slave through ero-pedagogy in Tagame Gengoroh’s PRIDE. In this follow-up to the 2010 paper Representations of the masculine in Tagame Gengoroh’s ero SM manga (Asian Studies Review, 34:4), Armour introduces non-Japanese audiences to what he refers to as a “Bildungsroman ero-MANGA”, discusses particular aspects of it that may ” resonate with Tagame’s intended audience”, and makes the point that in addition, PRIDE can be viewed as essentially a “how-to manual” or instructional work.

Finally, with Gay fanzines as contact zones: Dokkun’s adventures with “bara” manga in between Japan and France, Edmond Ernest dit Alban (Tulane University) argues that amateur pornographic comics such as those published in the French-language fanzine Dokkun enable and support “contact zones” for local, regional, and global cultures and communities.

The winners of this year’s awards will be announced at a gala awards ceremony on July 21. Last year, the Best Academic/Scholarly Work winner was Comics and the Origins of Manga: A Revisionist History (Eike Exner, Rutgers University Press) – the only full book on Japanese comics that has received the award so far. But, two full essay collections have received nominations, and, in almost every year, at least one of the other collections on more general topics have also included at least one chapter on Japanese comics:


Critical Approaches to Comics: Theories and Methods (Abingdon, UK: Routledge)
– Pascal Lefevre. Mise en scene and framing: Visual storytelling in Lone Wolf and Cub


Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation
– Casey Brienza. Beyond b&w? The global manga of Felipe Smith
Drawing from Life: Memory and Subjectivity in Comic Art
– Christoher Bush, Yukiko’s Spinach and the nouvelle manga aesthetic


Boys Love Manga and Beyond: History, Culture, and Community in Japan (University Press of Mississippi)


Picturing Childhood: Youth in Transnational Comics (University of Texas Press)
– James Nobis, Lolicon: Adolescent fetishization in Osamu Tezuka’s Ayako.


Women’s Manga in Asia and Beyond: Uniting Different Cultures and Identities (New York: Palgrave Macmillan)


Comic Art in Museums (University Press of Mississippi)
– Jaqueline Berndt, Deviating from “art”: Japanese manga exhibitions, 1990-2015
Comics Studies: A Guidebook (Rutgers University Press)
– Frency Lunning, Manga

The LGBTQ Comics Studies Reader is available from the publisher for $110 hardcover / $30 paperback, with electronic access via Project Muse. Critical responses to this volume are limited so far, but Publisher’s Weekly has called it “smart and wide-ranging” and a “worthy contribution to the history of comics”

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