Tuesday, June 21, 2016

URL Update

Please be advised, as neither The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain nor The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture has funds for operating expenses, we will no longer be renewing our domain names effective January 2016.

The Arthur of the Comics Project can now only be accessed at http://arthur-of-the-comics-project.blogspot.com/, and The Medieval Comics Project accessed at http://medieval-comics-project.blogspot.com/.

Please update your links.

Michael A. Torregrossa
Founder, The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain
Founder, The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching of the Medieval in Popular Culture

Rejected by Kalamazoo

Our outreach efforts have been dealt a major blow this week. I have just received word the Congress Committee has rejected our proposal for "Crisis in Camelot? Arthurian-Themed Comics and Their Place in Arthurian Studies: A Roundtable in Commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of Prince Valiant (A Roundtable)" for the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies to convene next May.

Michael Torregrossa
Founder, The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Arthurian Comics at Kalamazoo 2017

The Arthur of the Comics Project is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the following session for the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies. An official call for papers will be announced should the organizing committee look favorably on our proposal.

Crisis in Camelot? Arthurian-Themed Comics and Their Place in Arthurian Studies: A Roundtable in Commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of Prince Valiant (A Roundtable)

Sponsored by the Arthur of the Comics Project, an outreach of the Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain

Comics based on or inspired by the Arthurian legend have been in existence since at least the 1920s, and this corpus, which is primarily American in origin, numbers in the thousands. Despite the history and diversity of this material, comics studies remain a neglected aspect of research on the modern Matter of Britain compared to work on other media, a fact lamented on by Alan Stewart, one of the founders and foremost popularizers of Arthurian comics research, in 1986. At that time, he remarked, “Over the centuries, the legend of King Arthur has been recounted in virtually every medium of expression known to humankind. Most of these are represented in Arthurian studies, but the popular artform known as the comic strip has been largely neglected, despite the fact that comics remain one of the most widely disseminated and experienced media of our time” (12). Sadly, there has yet to be burgeoning interest in Arthurian comics, despite some promising starts. However, this does not have to remain the status quo.

Comics are important texts for understanding the contemporary reception of the legend, and they have much to offer the Arthurian enthusiast, as Valerie M. Lagorio and Mildred Leake Day observed in 1990: “It is interesting to note the parallel development of Arthurian adaptations in the novel, science fiction and fantasy, movies, and the comics in recent years, as all have exhibited increasingly sophisticated, imaginative, and original treatments of the Arthurian ideal” (xvi). Writing in 1996, Norris J. Lacy, focusing specifically on comics, submitted that “American comics and cartoons constitute one of the fertile sources of popular Arthuriana,” though the slow progress of study suggests some reluctance in incorporating the medium into our scholarship and teaching. Thus, the purpose of this roundtable is to initiate discussions of how we might foster original work on Arthurian comics by exploring various ways to successfully integrate the comics medium into our careers, for, as Peter W. Williams reminded us in 1982, “Speculum and Prince Valiant both occupy the pages on the shelves in our libraries, and each in its own way is a manifestation of that strange and wonderful culture, the American” (15).

The Alliance hopes to attract a varied group of presenters for this session, including medievalists, popular culture specialists, and comics scholars.

Works Cited
Lacy, Norris J. “Popular Culture.” The New Arthurian Encyclopedia. Updated Paperback Edition with Supplement, 1990-1995. Ed. Norris J. Lacy, et al. Garland Reference Library of Humanities 931. New York and London: Garland, 1996.  363-64. Print.

Lagorio, Valerie M., and Mildred Leake Day. “Introduction to Volume II.” King Arthur Through the Ages. Ed. Valerie M. Lagorio and Mildred Leake Day. Vol. 2. Garland Reference Library of Humanities 1301. New York: Garland, 1990. Xi-xvi. Print.

Stewart, H. Alan. “King Arthur in the Comics.” Avalon to Camelot 2.1 (1986): 12-14. Print.

Williams, Peter W. “The Varieties of American Medievalism.” Studies in Medievalism 1.2 (Spring 1982): 7-20. Print.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


The most recent issue of Witchblade No. 183 (available from comiXology) appears to feature an image of a young Arthur drawing forth the Sword in the Stone. This would not be the first time the series has addressed the legend (see Alan Stewart's Camelot in Four Colors), but is it a legitimate link or am I seeing Arthur where he is not?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Wasted Land Video

Here's more from Dorman on the series from a 2013 interview:

Dorman's The Wasted Lands Collected

Another quick update for the night:

Dave Dorman's once and future series The Wasted Lands has been collected and reissued as an omnibus edition by Magnetic Press. Its a handsome over-sized volume and reasonably priced at $24.99.

Full details at http://www.magnetic-press.com/wasted-lands-omnibus/. The site includes an interview with Dorman, a video trailer (see below), and a press kit.

Dave Dorman's WASTED LANDS Omnibus graphic novel trailer from Neurobellum on Vimeo.

Camelot in Four Colors Updated

Alan Stewart has recently announced that his Camelot in Four Colors website has been updated through 2015. As always, the site offers a wealth of information and images. It can be accessed at http://camelot4colors.com/.

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 http://eupop2013.wordpress.com/program/). The abstracts are still available online at http://eupop2013.wordpress.com/program/abstracts/, and Kontturi has blogged (unfortunately not in English) about the session (with pictures) at http://kontturi.blogspot.com/2013/08/eupop-natsizombeja-ja-kuunatseja.html.

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 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1778370567/gangs-of-camelot. 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 http://arthuriancongress.unibuc.ro/programme/)

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 http://imagecomics.com/comics/series/five-ghosts.

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 KingArthurForever.org. This site will be maintained as time permits.

Further details can be found on King Arthur Forever at http://kingarthurforever.blogspot.com/2013/08/king-arhur-forever-reborn.html.

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 http://www.acla.org/acla2013/.

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 ItsAllTrue.net.

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 http://www.slgcomic.com/knights.

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 http://www.slgcomic.com/knights. 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 http://www.slgcomic.com/knights.

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.