Book Cover

How Comics Travel

Publication, Translation, Radical Literacies

Katherine Kelp-Stebbins

238 pp. 6 x 9
19 b&w illustrations
Pub Date: March, 2022

Subjects: Comics Studies
Literary Theory

Series: Studies in Comics and Cartoons

Order Hardcover $139.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-1504-3
Order Paperback $34.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-5823-1
Order PDF ebook$34.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-8196-3

Honorable Mention, 2023 Comics Studies Society Charles Hatfield Book Prize

Nominee, 2023 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Academic/Scholarly Work

“In focusing on place in comics, Kelp-Stebbins generates beautifully situated readings, carefully contextualized by bringing background issues such as publishing practices, translatability, and creators’ commentary to bear. This demonstration of how to interpret comics in a global context is one step toward decolonizing the discipline. This book is a pleasure to read, with revelations in every chapter.” —Barbara Postema, author of Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments

“Kelp-Stebbins presents a refreshing new analysis filled with nuance and depth, which takes a comparative approach to comics from one national context to another. An extraordinary, groundbreaking work that should inspire a global audience of comics scholars.” —Martha B. Kuhlman, coeditor of The Comics of Chris Ware: Drawing Is a Way of Thinking

In How Comics Travel: Publication, Translation, Radical Literacies, Katherine Kelp-Stebbins challenges the clichéd understanding of comics as a “universal” language, circulating without regard for cultures or borders. Instead, she develops a new methodology of reading for difference. Kelp-Stebbins’s anticolonial, feminist, and antiracist analytical framework engages with comics as sites of struggle over representation in a diverse world. Through comparative case studies of Metro, Tintin, Persepolis, and more, she explores the ways in which graphic narratives locate and dislocate readers in every phase of a transnational comic’s life cycle according to distinct visual, linguistic, and print cultures. How Comics Travel disengages from the constrictive pressures of nationalism and imperialism, both in comics studies and world literature studies more broadly, to offer a new vision of how comics depict and enact the world as a transcultural space.

Katherine Kelp-Stebbins is Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Comics Studies Program in the Department of English at the University of Oregon.


List of Illustrations


Introduction    Graphic Positioning Systems

Chapter 1        The Adventures of Three Readers in the World of Tintin

Chapter 2        Graphic Disorientations: Metro and Translation

Chapter 3        Persepolis and the Cultural Currency of the Graphic Novel

Chapter 4        Border Thinking and Decolonial Mapping in Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas’s Haida Manga

Chapter 5        Samandal and Translational Transnationalism



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