Thursday, August 14, 2014

EUPOP 2013 Info

I recently came across the following papers in the program for last year's EUPOP conference (program at The abstracts are still available online at, and Kontturi has blogged (unfortunately not in English) about the session (with pictures) at

Allocco, Kate. “Monstrous Morgana: Arthurian Women as Unnatural Amazons in Madame Xanadu (2008-2010).” Graphic Novel. EUPOP2013. International Institute for Popular Culture, University of Tutku, Finland. 1 Aug. 2013. Address.

This article analyzes the portrayal of Morgan Le Fay in the comic book Madame Xanadu within the context of earlier comic books and of medieval literature. I argue that Morgan Le Fay is steadily becoming more monstrous by looking at other popular comic titles such as Dracula v. King Arthur and Camelot 3000 among others. Morgan Le Fay has traditionally been an easy target for literary misogyny as she is often associated with both sexual agency and a lust for power. In Madame Xanadu, the author and artists have imbued Morgan with these traits and then drawn her as a violent power-hungry Amazon warrior, the ultimate sexually deviant virago in the medieval and modern imagination. Morgan’s image contrasts sharply with that of the main hero, Madame Xanadu (aka Nimue), Morgan Le Fay’s sister, who is demure and “natural” and submits to the power of men. This book offers contrasting dichotomies of womanhood that clearly envision Morgana as the unnatural, destructive and monstrous Evian woman whose bid for agency, sexual autonomy and power consistently meets with punishment and reprimand by her more Marian sister. Her contrapuntal role allows writers and readers to define that which is normal, right and good through their understanding that Morgan is inherently abnormal, wrong and bad. Thus this comic stereotypes medieval women as being either an Eve or a Mary and uses the popular image of the Amazon to stress how monstrous and unnatural Morgan Le Fay and all women like her can be and to justify their being defeated and destroyed in the end.

Kontturi, Katja. “ ‘You Broke the Holy Grail!’: Christian Symbolism in Don Rosa’s Disney
Comics” Graphic Novel. EUPOP2013. International Institute for Popular Culture, University of Tutku, Finland. 1 Aug. 2013. Address.

From the 1950s, so called Comics Code defined the prohibited contents of comic books in the United States. It listed the subjects that were not suitable for children to whom comics were directed. Dell Comics was the only publishing house producing Disney comics, but it never followed the Comics Code. Since Disney comics were cute and funny animal comics, the fear of excessive violence and nudity was not the question. However, Dell Comics had their own codes on which topics were not allowed in Disney comics. One of them was religion. During his career, Carl Barks broke quite many of these “rules”, and his successor Don Rosa has taken Disney comics even further. Death, love, hinted sexuality and historical continuum have never before been seen in Disney comics.

This paper concentrates on the Christian symbolism that Don Rosa has used as a part of his comics “The Once and Future Duck” (1996) and “A Letter from Home” (2004). The symbolism is actualized with the two mythical symbolic objects of Christians: the Holy Grail and the Arc of the Covenant. My aim is to study the use of these symbols, what are their functions in the narrative? Are there Christian values present in the comic or do the objects only offer a price in the end of Indiana Jones type of adventure?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gangs of Camelot Kickstarter

Dear Readers,

James Heffron has started a Kickstarter campaign for a new edition of his graphic novel Gangs of Camelot. Details at The pledges are fairly modest and most include a copy of the published work.

I wish him luck and hope you'll consider pledging.


Michael A. Torregrossa
Listserv Moderator/ Blog Editor/Co-Founder, The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages
Listserv Moderator/ Blog Editor/Founder, The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Arthurian Comics at Arthurian Congress 2014

I think these are the most Arthurian-themed comics papers I've seen at a conference and it is certainly a bold topic for a conference that is often limited to traditional texts and media. Sadly, one needs to be in Romania this summer to hear them. (Please publish your work!)

XXIV Triennial Congress of the International Arthurian Society - University of Bucharest
(full program at

Monday, July 21st
Panel 2 : 10.30-12.50
King Arthur and the Modern Imagination

Paper 1 of 4: Casey CASEBIER (University of Maryland), Contemporary Arthurian Worlds: Sam Sarkar’s Caliber and the Arthurian Graphic Novel

Friday, July 25th
Panel 1: 15.20-17.20
Thematic Pannel : Children of the (K)night: Arthurian Bad Boys and Mean Girls
Organizer : Kevin J. HARTY (La Salle University, Philadelphia)

Paper 1 (of 7!): Christine NEUFELD (Eastern Michigan University), Bloodlines: The Sanguine Semiotics of Dracula vs. King Arthur

Saturday, July 26th
Panel 2 : 9.50-11.30
Lectures et interprétations des thèmes arthuriens
Paper 3 (of 4): Christina FRANCIS (Bloomsburg University), Reading King Arthur Online: The Webcomic and Web Forum Interplay of Paul Gadzikowski’s Arthur, King of Time and Space

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Five Ghosts

Beginning in 2013, writer Frank Barbiere and artist Chris Mooneyham launched the series Five Ghosts. The first five-issue arc (now available in a collected edition) introduced the series' protagonist, Fabian Gray, and his associates. Gray, previously in contact with a mystic artifact called the Dreamstone, can access the skills and abilities of five literary figures (see promotional art). Among these individuals are Merlin, Dracula, and Robin Hood, all favorites of  readers of medieval-themed comics. Further details about the series can be found at the publisher's website at

Monday, August 19, 2013

Updates August 2013

Effective August 2013, the Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain has resumed ownership of The Arthur of the Comics Project and its associated listserv. The new group will function for the remainder of 2013 as an affiliate of The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages and be based at the King Arthur Forever website at This site will be maintained as time permits.

Further details can be found on King Arthur Forever at

Michael A. Torregrossa
Co-Founder, The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages
Founder, The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lee on Prince Valiant

With apologies for the multiple cross-postings:

Lee, Peter W. “Red Days, Black Knights: Medieval-themed Comic Books in American Containment Culture.”Corporate Medievalism II. Ed. Karl Fugelso. Studies in Medievalism 22. Cambridge, Eng.: D. S. Brewer-Boydell & Brewer, 2013. 181-200. Print.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Basso at ACLA 2013

I was not planning on updating the blog for a while still, but I recently came across the following in the program for the upcoming meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada from 4-7 April 2013.

D22 The Cartography of Fictionality: Mapping Communities that Originate in Fiction
Rhona Trauvitch, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Lillian Massey Building, Room 310
125 Queen’s Park

April 6, 4:40–6:30
Paper 4 of 4
Vincent Basso, University of New Mexico
“Superheroes, Earth-guardians, Space Rangers: Visions of Arthurian Legend in Contemporary Comics”

This sounds like an interesting paper from an Arthurian comics scholar--a grad student at UNM--I don't yet know.  

Complete conference details and program can be found at

Monday, November 5, 2012

Batman in King Arthur's Court

DC will be reprinting the classic story "Sir Batman At King Arthur's Court!" from Batman No. 36 (August-September 1946) in January 2013 as part of the Batman: The Dark Knight Archives Vol. 8. This is an interesting Connecticut-Yankee-type story pitting Batman against Mordred and Morgan le Fay to save Merlin and Camelot.

Further details as follows:


• In these 1940s tales, Batman and Robin battle The Joker, The Penguin, Catwoman and others, and meet the Three Musketeers and King Arthur. • Collecting BATMAN #32-37 from 1945-1946.

Written by: Bill Finger
Cover by: Jerry Robinson
Color/B&W: Color
Page Count: 248
U.S. Price: 59.99
On Sale Date: Jan 23 2013
Binding: Hardcover

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Captain Britain Toys

Still catching up:

Marvel and Hasbro released a series of Captain Britain action figures recently. One is featured in his "modern" outfit worn from the 1980s through (at least) the 1990s. The remainder were offered as a tie-in to the Captain America: The First Avenger film. There are two variants--one in his New Excalibur costume and one in his Captain Britain and MI:13 costume (apparently a K-Mart exclusive)--and both come bearing Excalibur. The three figures are pictured below in an image from

Additional reviews, details and images at the following sites:

Hasbro: Captain America: The First Avenger: The International Patriots (n.d.)

International Patriots: Captain America: The First Avenger (6 June 2011)

Captain America: The International Patriots (13 July 2011)

Vault Review: Captain America Captain Britain (New Excalibur) (20 July 2011)

Vault Review: Captain America International Patriots 3pk (26 July 2011)

The End of Knights of the Living Dead

Quick catch up:

SLG Publishing is now offering Nos. 5 and 6 of Knights of the Living Dead, the final two issues of the series. Details and ordering information at

Monday, May 14, 2012

More Knights of the Living Dead

Issues 3 and 4 of Knights of the Living Dead are now available for purchase as digital comics. Details at The series is also, according the publisher, "available at the iTunes Store and coming soon to Comixology, iVerse, Graphicly and BN.COM (for Nook and Nook Color)."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Knights of the Living Dead Update

In my further quest for information on the recent series Knights of the Living Dead, I came across the following solicitation proving that the digital comics are merely a sampler of part of a larger story (perhaps to be told in multiple volumes):


The mournful king, Arthur, has sentenced Queen Guinievere to burn for her infidelity, but he none-too-secretly expects her lover, Sir Lancelot, to save her. And here comes rescuer - Lancelot! - the greatest knight, on the greatest stallion. With a horde of the shambling dead behind him. As the greatest knight of all fights through the courtyard to reach the queen, Guinivere, before she burns at the stake, she sees he is not the hero she expected. Lancelot is among the stricken of the 'walking starvation.' Knights of Living Dead transcends the brain-munching of most zombie fiction and examines the nature of the soul and the essence of being.

Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: SLG Publishing (May 8, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1593622317
ISBN-13: 978-1593622312

Zombies in Camelot

It had to happen eventually. Ron Wolfe and Dustin Higgins have produced Knights of the Living Dead, a mash-up of Arthurian legend and zombies, for SLG Publishing. The first issue is free to download, and the second costs $.99. Details and purchase information at

Knights of the Living Dead offers an engaging twist on the fall of Camelot featuring a zombie-fied Lancelot who unknowingly sets a zombie plague against Arthur's realm, destroys its king, and poisons Merlin. Guinevere has a strong presence in the series (as does Mordred, though he meets an untimely end), and it seems to close with the promise of future adventures.

Zombie fans might also be interested in Marvel Zombies 5 No. 3, which also features a zombie invasion of Camelot. A detailed synopsis is available at the Marvel Database.


I recently updated the list of links to interviews on Paul Cornell's Captain Britain and MI13 and Demon Knights in the blog margin.

I confess, I have not been following Demon Knights (which is now soliciting issue 11) as of yet (as I'm waiting for the collected edition), but I thank Jason Tondro for his insight this weekend at PCA into the series.

There is a preview of the latest issue of Demon Knights online at This issue is the first part of the series' second arc.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kalamazoo Sessions

I just posted the details of our Kalamazoo sessions at the main blog. Our comics related session is as follows:

Saturday, 12 May: 10:00 AM
Session 394 (Bernhard 204)

The Comics Get Medieval at Kalamazoo: New Perspectives for Incorporating Comics into Medieval Studies Teaching and Research (A Roundtable)
Sponsor: Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages
Organizer: Michael A. Torregrossa, Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages

Presider: Mikee Delony, Abilene Christian Univ.

Grotesque in Comics
Fabio Mourilhe, Univ. Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Caliber (2008), or Arthur’s Mystical Six-Shooter and the Gunslingers of the O.K. Corral
Karen Casebier, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Arthurian Themes in DC Comic’s Demon Knights (2011–)
Jason Tondro, Univ. of California–Riverside

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Comics Get Medieval 2013 First CFP

The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages is pleased to announce the following call for papers:

First call for papers
The Comics Get Medieval 2013:
A continuing Celebration of Medieval-themed Comics

PCA Washington, DC 3/27-30/13
Special Sessions of the Comic Art & Comics Area
Organized By Michael A. Torregrossa and Jason Tondro
Proposals Due to Organizers by 1 September 2012

Celebrating our seventh year in 2013, proposals are now being considered for inclusion at “The Comics Get Medieval 2013,” a series of panels and roundtables sponsored by The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages and to be hosted by the Comic Art & Comics Area of the Popular Culture Association (PCA) for the 2013 Joint Conference of the National Popular Culture and American Culture Associations to be held from 27 to 30 March 2013 in Washington, DC. 

The goal of these sessions is to foster communication between medievalists, comics scholars, and specialists in popular culture studies in general. The organizers define “medieval comics” as any aspect of the comics medium (panel cartoons, comic strips, comics books, comics albums, band dessinée, graphic novels, manga, webcomics, comics to film/film to comics, etc.) that feature medieval themes either in stories set during the Middle Ages or in stories presenting some element of the medieval in anachronistic settings (pre-medieval or post-medieval eras or medieval-inspired secondary worlds). We are also interested in papers looking at medieval-themed comics from a pedagogical perspective.

Completed papers should be delivered in 15-20 minutes (depending on the number of presenters). All proposals will also be considered for inclusion in an essay collection to be edited by the panel organizers during the early part of 2013. (Individuals only interested in submitting for the collection should also send proposals by 1 September 2012 and indicate their preference in the email.)

In addition, a select list of potential topics and a bibliographic guide to medieval comics will appear as part of The Medieval Comics Project web site available at <> and The Arthur of the Comics Project web site available at <>, both organized by The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages. 

No later than 1 September 2012, interested individuals (who must be members of PCA or ACA or join for 2013) should submit full contact information (name, address, phone/cell, and email), titles, abstracts of 300-500 words, and a brief resume to the session’s organizers, who will then forward them to the area chair. Address all inquiries and proposals to the organizers at the following address: <> and include “Comics Get Medieval 2013” in the subject line. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lucid the Movie?

Archaia Entertainment recently reported that the Lucid series has been optioned by Warner Bros. as a potential film for audiences seeking post-Harry Potter entertainment. Details at both the publisher's website and from Marc Graser of Variety.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Prince Valiant on Film/TV Update

I had thought I posted this before, but it looks like I forgot. Kevin Harty's recent collection The Vikings on Film: Essays on Depictions of the Nordic Middle Ages includes a number of discussions on adaptations of Prince Valiant to film and television, as follows (see post on The Medieval Comics Project for details on non-Arthurian comics to film/TV addressed here):

The Vikings on Film: Essays on Depictions of the Nordic Middle Ages
Edited by Kevin J. Harty

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-6044-1 = $38.00
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-7864-8638-0
22 illustrations, notes, filmography, bibliographies, index
236pp. softcover (7 x 10) 2011

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction: "Save Us, O Lord, from the Fury of the Northmen"; or, "Do You Know What’s in Your Wallet?" 3

The Trope of the Scopic in The Vikings (1958) 9
Guess Who’s Coming to Plunder? Or, Disorientation and Desire in The Long Ships (1964) 24
"To be, or not to be"--King: Clive Donner’s Alfred the Great (1969) 39
Valiant and Villainous Vikings 46 [on 1954 Prince Valiant]

Silly Vikings: Eichinger, Hickox, and Lorenz’s Anglo-German-Irish Production of Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant (1997) 56

When Civilization Was Less Civilized: Erik the Viking (1989) 72
"The Love of All Mankind but Also the Love of One Woman Alone": Hrafn Gunnlaugsson’s Shadow of the Raven (1988) 83
Different Pathfinders, Different Destinations 96
Who’s Savage Now?!--The Vikings in North America 106
Call of the Wild: Culture Shock and Viking Masculinities in The 13th Warrior (1999) 121
Harrying an Infinite Horizon: The Ethics of Expansionism in Outlander (2008) 135
Between Exploitation and Liberation: Viking Women and the Sexual Revolution 150
Time Out of Joint: Why a Gaul Fought the Normans in Asterix and the Vikings (2005) 165
Northern Lite: A Brief History of Animated Vikings 178
The Vikings on Film: A Filmography 193

About the Contributors 215
Index 219

Thursday, February 23, 2012

DC's Galahad Update

DC has recently released the second volume of J. T. Krul's initial run on Green Arrow. As posted previously, the story features a character named Galahad and also Arthurian mainstays Jason Blood and Etrigan. Galahad does not (in the end) turn out to be the Arthurian figure, but his arc recalls that of both Parry in The Fisher King and David McIntyre in Babylon 5's "A Late Delivery from Avalon", in that he has retreated into an Arthurian identity following a traumatic experience and very much lives up to that ideal in his ongoing quest to protect the essense of the White Lantern in this tie-in to The Brightest Day crossover event.

Here are the details on the two collected editions:

DC Universe 192pg. Color Hardcover $22.99 US

A new era begins in this title spinning out of BRIGHTEST DAY, from the first six issues of the hot new series. After Star City was devastated by an attack by the villain Prometheus in the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE, the White Lantern Ring gave birth to a massive, mysterious forest located at the center of the destruction. Now, Green Arrow lives in the woods and strikes against crime and corruption as a modern day Robin Hood.

DC Universe 192pg. Color Hardcover $22.99 US

After the events of BRIGHTEST DAY, Oliver Queen has stood as the guardian of a mysterious forest that has sprouted in the middle of Star City! In this new volume collecting issues #8-15, Green Arrow defends the forest as a modern day Robin Hood from all that would do it harm. But how will Oliver's actions pave the way for Earth's new protector?