Comics studies has finally arrived. Comics studies now has its own professional organization, the Comics Studies Society (CSS), as well as multiple dedicated academic conferences such as the CSS conference and the International Comic Arts Forum, and journals such as ImageTexT and the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. Publishers such as the university presses of Rutgers, Ohio State, and Mississippi have launched dedicated comics studies lines. As a result of intersecting phenomena such as graphic novels and superhero films, comics are no longer considered mere subliterate children’s entertainment but are seen as an important object of academic study.

The key question confronting the field, then, is not whether comics studies should exist, but what it should look like. There are multiple answers to this question because, by virtue of the multimodal verbal-visual nature of comics, comics studies is situated between...

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