February 15, 2016
The Comics Studies Society, a new professional association for comics researchers and teachers, has launched its inaugural membership drive and is now welcoming members. Members who join now, at http://www.comicssociety.org/members/, can become Founding Members of this important new association, which promotes the critical study and teaching of comics both within and without the academy.
Announced in 2014, and now incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, the CSS is a learned society open to scholars across the disciplines and from diverse backgrounds. It is the first US-based comics studies organization to be supported by members’ dues while advocating for professional development, teaching, and the expansion of resources for comics research.
Founding memberships are now available at various levels: students, comics professionals, independent scholars, contingent faculty, tenure-line faculty, librarians, curators, and academic administrators. Founding memberships run from 2016 to December 31, 2017.
All new members during this Founding Membership drive will receive:
• A two-year membership (after the membership drive is over, all memberships will be one-year);
• The member’s name forever (digitally) inscribed in the roster of Founding Members at the Comics Studies Society website;
• The Best of Inks Series 1 collection, featuring a selection of the best essays from the pioneering comics studies journal of the early ’90s, edited by Lucy Shelton Caswell and with an all-star cast of collaborators; and
• A one-year subscription to the new journal of the Comics Studies Society, launching in 2017.
In addition, all CSS members are entitled to quarterly electronic newsletters and to vote in elections for the CSS Executive Committee.
The CSS is committed to the mentoring and professional development of students in comics studies, and to supporting student networking and activism. The CSS Graduate Student Caucus, http://gradcaucus.comicssociety.org/, is a vital component of CSS business. The Caucus maintains its own executive board, bylaws, election procedures, and website, while fully participating in the business of the Society. New student members of CSS are encouraged to reach out to the Caucus and seek opportunities for service and leadership.
The CSS is partnering with the International Comic Arts Forum through at least 2017 and will sponsor programming at the ICAF conferences, starting with ICAF 2016 at the University of South Carolina-Columbia (April 14-16). Plans are underway for expanded CSS conferences in the future. The next round of elections for the CSS Executive Committee will begin this March and conclude at ICAF 2016.
Background: The CSS launched at ICAF 2014 at the Ohio State University in Columbus, where its bylaws and interim Executive Committee were voted in. Since then the Committee has been hard at work, incorporating, securing nonprofit status, establishing the Society’s web presence, setting up membership and finance arrangements, collaborating with ICAF, and developing future plans for the CSS journal and conferences.
The CSS is open to anyone with a serious interest in comics studies, which it defines liberally to include the study and critical analysis of comic strips; comic books, papers, and magazines; graphic novels, albums, and other graphic books; webcomics and other electronic formats; single-panel cartoons, including editorial and gag cartoons; caricature; animation; and other related forms and traditions. All types of sequential art, graphic narrative, and cartooning are relevant to the Society’s mission.
Those interested in joining CSS are referred to its website, http://www.comicssociety.org/members
Dr. Charles Hatfield
Interim President, Comics Studies Society
CSU Northridge Dept. of English
18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91330-8248