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Theme: Comics, Multimodality, and Composition

For 43.1 (Spring 2015)

Guest Editor: Dale Jacobs, University of Windsor


Over the past ten years, composition has increasingly embraced writing and reading in multiple modes (words, but also images, sounds, video, spatial relationships, gestures, and other sign systems). In this movement towards multimodality, comics have been largely ignored. Comics, however, provide rich ground for exploration in relation to multimodality and composition. This special issue begins with the idea that comics are a valuable space of practice for multimodal literacies, both inside and outside the classroom.

Like other multimodal texts, comics form a multifaceted environment in which meaning is negotiated between creators and readers. Comics add another dimension to multimodality, which has often focused on digital texts, and can be used to link traditional alphabetic literacies with newer digital ones. Furthermore, as Michael Bitz argues in When Commas Meet Kryptonite:

Classroom Lessons from the Comic Book Project, “In the context of new media and literacies, comics are a rare bridge between the canon of reading skills that children are expected to master in school and the literacies that they embrace on their own and out of school” (11). Not only are comics important multimodal texts in their own right, but they can also function as an important bridge to other literacies both inside and outside the classroom.

This special issue of Composition Studies will explore how comics can be productively used in writing theory and practice. Articles, sequential narratives, short reflective essays, and Course Designs are all welcome, as are pieces on comics aimed at the “Composing With” section of the journal.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Comics as a way to connect reading and composing multimodal texts
  • Comics literacies and digital literacies.
  • Comics in relation to the NCTE Position Statement on Multimodal Literacies,
  • the WPA Outcomes Statement, and/or the Framework for Success in
  • Postsecondary Writing.
  • Comics and/as collaboration.
  • Comics, rhetoric, and the teaching of writing.
  • Comics theory and the teaching of writing.
  • Comics as a way to examine how students conceive and experience literacies
  • outside of school and possible connections to school literacies.
  • Specific ways to use comics in the composition classroom.
  • Examinations of how Comics Studies can inform Composition Studies and vice versa


Full-length submissions due August 1, 2014

Submission determinations sent by November 1, 2014

Revised manuscripts due February 13, 2015



Direct queries about the special issue and full-length manuscripts in .doc

or .docx formats to Dale Jacobs at


Direct general questions about Composition Studies to

Visit our website for more information:


Laura Micciche

Associate Professor of English

University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH 45221