Newsletter No.5 (December 2012)


NNCORE includes among its members a considerable group of young scholars with original and thoroughly interesting projects within the comics research field. This is truly promising for future comics research in a Nordic, as well as an international, context. Four of these young researchers and founding members of NNCORE have finished their PhD-theses this Fall:

Ylva Sommerland defended her PhD thesis, The Tomboy in Manga for Teens: Kaleidoscopic Bodily Styles at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden on September 21. For more information, see the press release–kaleidoscopic-bodily-styles.cid1097824 Ylva furthermore sends a link to the thesis in full text:

Rikke Platz Cortsen defended her PhD thesis, Comics as Assemblage: How Spatio-Temporality in Comics is Constructed, at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, November 23. Two of NNCORE’s advisory board members, Ann Miller and Jan Baetens, were opponents.

Mervi Miettinen will defend her PhD thesis, Truth, Justice, and the American Way? The Popular Geopolitics of American Identity in Contemporary Superhero Comics, on December 15 at the University of Tampere, Finland. Jared Gardner will be the opponent.

SAM Myklebost has submitted his PhD thesis with the title, Shakespeare in Configuration: Models, Comics and Manga, at the University of Bergen, Norway. The defence will take place at the end of February 2013.

Congratulations to all four! The dissertation titles clearly indicate the breadth and originality of comics research, and we all wish the four of them long and happy comics research careers in spite of the difficult times (also) in Academia.

If you have any news that you would like to have included in the NNCORE newsletter, please send information to Anne Magnussen,


Comics Research moving into other fields

Within the last years, quite a few journals, seminars and conferences specifically about comics research have emerged. Together with the wonderful comics dissertations described above, this is a sign of a research field that is gaining more and more strength. Yet another sign of this is that comics research is becoming visible at conferences and in publications that are not specifically about comics. An example of this is the special issue of the Danish journal of Kritik, with contributions from several NNCORE members; Frederik Stjernfelt, Rikke Platz Cortsen and Felix Kühn Paulsen. For more information, see

SAM Myklebost draws our attention to a call for papers for a special issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly [], on Comics and Scholarship (deadline for abstracts January 1).

A third example of integrating comics research in other fields is Michael Sholz’ suggestion of proposing a session on comics as historical sources for the 2014 Nordic Historians’ Meeting ( Anybody who is interested in participating in such a session, or to know more about it, please contact Michael Scholz directly. But please do it soon, as the deadline is December 1 this year.


Telling Stories, Challenging Conventions

An NNCORE Conference at Malmö University

The seminar/conference for Group A of NNCORE took place at Malmö University on the 25th and 26th of October. The first day started with an open session, with about 50 persons in the audience. The very first event was a presentation of NNCORE by Rikke Platz Cortsen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. This was followed by a number of questions by the audience, which was very obviously interested in the subject. Many in the audience came from the current iteration of the course Comics and Visual Narative at Malmö University. [Both photos are by Fredrik Strömberg]

Next followed a panel on the state of comics research in the Nordic Countries, moderated by Fredrik Strömberg, Malmö University, Sweden. In the panel there were representatives from NNCORE Group A from almost all Nordic countries, including: Rikke Plats Cortzen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Hege Emma Rimmereide, Bergen University College, Norway, Fred Andersson, Åbo Akademi University, Finland and Mari Laaniste, Estonian Literary Museum, Estonia. These presentations showcased that most Nordic countries are at about the same level when it comes to academic research into comics, with Estonia trailing with Mari as one of the few researching comics in her home country.

In the afternoon the first day followed the first seminar for the members of NNCORE Group A, in which four members presented everything from fresh research ideas to finished papers. This was a closed event and the waves of debates were high, with the benefits of members coming from different academic fields and therefore having different theoretical and methodological backgrounds became evident. Taking part, besides the members mentioned earlier, were: Lars Vinter Kristensen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Andreas Gregersen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and Marianne Eskebæk Larsen, Aarhus University, Denmark.

The first day ended with an official dinner for the members of NNCORE at Malmö Brewhouse, Malmö´s first and foremost microbrewery, followed by a visit at the home of Fredrik Strömberg and his extensive comics library.

The second day started with the second seminar for the members of NNCORE Group A. Four more members presented their ideas for discussions. This day, associated professor Jakob Dittmar of Malmö University and also a member of Group A, was also present and took vigorously part in the discussions. Themes again ranged widely and all members went away with new ideas of what to do with their ideas and material.

During this period the members also discussed our participating in the Helsinki conference in 2013, both as a group and as separate members. NNCORE Group A now have a plan for our participating in the Helsinki conference in 2013, both as a group and as separate members.

After lunch the second day, the students from the course Comics and Visual Narative did a presentation on their latest project, creating web comics. Gunnar Krantz, who manages this course at Malmö University, moderated this presentation.

Finally, there was a visit at the Comic Art Centre in Malmö, where Fredrik Strömberg showed the members of NNCORE Group A the headquarters of the Swedish Comics Association, the Comics Studio, the studio for C’est Bon Kultur and the Comics Art School of Malmö.

Before and during the NNCORE meeting, media was reporting on the conference and making NNCORE and comics research better known publicly. There were articles and interviews at the home page of Malmö University and on Sydsvenska Dagbladet, the major daily newspaper of the region, as well as an interview with Fredrik Srömberg on Swedish radio.

All in all, this was a really good seminar/conference, gathering scholars from all over the Nordic countries for both learned exchanges of ideas and more relaxed time for socializing and getting to know your colleagues better.


Propaganda and Censorship

Thematic seminar and ComFor conference, Freiburg, September 2012

The thematic group on Propaganda and Censorship organized a meeting at September 27 in Freiburg, coinciding with our participation in the annual conference held by ComFor, Gesellschaft für Comicforschung, September 26-30Ralf Kauranen, Michael Scholz, Rikke Platz Cortsen, Louise C. Larsen and Anne Magnussen were present at the meeting held on Thursday 27 at the Institut für Kulturwissenschaft at Freiburg University in a room reserved for us by the ComFor-conference organizer, Stephan Packard. We discussed the possibilities of joint publications with the ComFor and of a special ComFor-session with the group on Propaganda and Censorship at the Helsinki conference in 2013.

Comics and Politics was the title of this years ComFor-conference and Ralf, Michael, Rikke and Louise took part in the international day of the conference with a special session titled: In Between Propaganda and Entertainment: Nordic Comics 1930s-1960s. The session was held on Friday 28, integrating our different research projects and culminating with Anne as the keynote speaker the same evening on Spanish comics and politics. Ann Hoyer, a member of both NNCORE and ComFor, was moderator at the afternoon session. It was particularly rewarding to have the whole ComFor-audience to discuss the papers with us, and it generated great and inspiring questions. The four days of the conference put our respective research projects into a wider perspective, generating fresh ideas and new scholarly exchanges with the many other participants that presented a wide range of wonderful papers. The NNCORE-group was welcomed and treated with great hospitality by the organizers and the ComFor-members, and the event generated many ideas for future cooperation and work. With the Helsinki conference in 2013 as one of the first, future, goals.



Preparing a collective research project

Representing Enemies and Allies in Popular Culture Comics will have a prominent position in a new collective research project about the representations of enemies and allies in popular culture from the Second World War and onwards (Europe, the Americas and Asia). Kees Ribbens from the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam, and Michael Sholz, Gotland University and member of the NNCORE steering group, have gone together and will apply for ESF funding for an exploratory workshop as a step towards a full-blown research funding application. NNCORE is a partner in the project and will help out wherever possible in the development of it. NNCORE members interested in participating are very welcome to contact Kees Ribbens, As Kees Ribbens will be participating in the NNCORE Helsinki conference in May, the plan is to have an open meeting about the project at that event also.

Potential PHD studies in the work of Storm P

In a cooperation between NNCORE and the Copenhagen based museum about Storm P, a Danish caricaturist from the first half of the 20th century, we would like to make contact with potential PhD scholars with an interest in Storm P or related caricature. For more information, please look at the invitation posted on the NNCORE website.

Funding for Swedish comics research

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, an independent Swedish foundation with the goal of promoting and supporting research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, approved grants for Michael Scholz’ project ”Entertainment or Propaganda. Comic Strips in Sweden during World War II” for 2013/2014 (

Edited byAnne Magnussen

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