Transition 9. New Directions in Comics Studies Conference – virtual (8-10 April)

I talked about “Comics Magazines: Not only Comics but also Criticism”.

In Italy, magazines have been instrumental in the development and dissemination of comics, from the pioneering Il Corriere dei Piccoli (1908) to the longest-running auteur comics magazine Linus (1965-). In particular, auteur comics magazines became the venue in which to publish comics productions imbued with literary and artistic creativity, re-evaluate the work of Italian and international cartoonists of the previous decades, and showcase Italian creators who were developing their work outside the industry of serial comics. While comics were by far the most significant part of these publications, several magazines also featured informative and compelling editorial content, proposing a range of topics and types of contributions (news, reviews, interviews, informative and opinion articles) aimed at comics fans, but also fiction and cinema aficionados. Indeed, these magazines were a hybrid between a comics fanzine and a magazine of news and criticism, when the first were still few and the latter non-existent. Despite their importance, the inaccessibility of most issues, as well as the serial nature of the format itself, has often discouraged scholarly studies on the subject. Furthermore, the tendency has always been to only focus on the comics content, often considering the surrounding material as just a frame, and the magazines themselves mere “containers”. In this talk, I propose a methodology to approach comics magazines more holistically. Drawing from my recent dissertation on one such magazine, Orient Express, I will illustrate the ways I designed to analyse the magazines’ content from a statistical point of view. With the adoption of digital methods of data collection and data visualization, I am able to give insights into various editorial trends, including author and genre distribution.

Sketchnotes by Ian Horton.

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