Graphic Possibilities is a research workshop in the Department of English at Michigan State University. This research workshop engages with comics through two interrelated branches, critical inquiry and engaged pedagogy, as a means of bringing together faculty and graduate students with current and burgeoning interests in comic studies. Critical inquiry manifests in any number of ways through comics, including treating comics as data, comics as scholarship, and comics as critical-making, what Stacey Robinson and John Jennings term to be a methodological approach that insists scholars engage with broader critical and cultural conversations through the act of making comics. Alongside of this, we explore how scholar-practitioners can make pedagogical interventions about/through the comics medium in an effort to develop new strategies for teaching and working with comics pedagogically.

 

Faculty coordinator: Julian Chambliss

Graduate Coordinators: Justin Wigard and Nicole Huff

FEATURED PODCAST:

Episode 12: “Karlos K. Hill” (October, 2021)

In this double-length episode, we are joined by Karlos K. Hill, who spoke with the MSU community in a zoom webinar about his recent comic, The Murder of Emmett Till: A Graphic History. Head over to our Podcasts page for more info on Professor Hill and our webinar!

FEATURED EVENT:

The Second World: Comic as Data North America Wikidata Edit-a-thon, Fall 2021

October 21st and 22nd, 2021 (10am-4pm EST)

Flyer announcing information about the Fall October 21st and 22nd 2021 Wikidata event held at Michigan State University. Email Justin Wigard for more information. His email is: wigardju@msu.edu

Comics as Data North America (CaDNA) is an ongoing collaborative project that examines library catalog data to explore geographies of publishing and library collecting policies in North American comics. Continuing an institutional history of creating collections as data, a group of Michigan State University librarians, digital humanists, and faculty formed a working group in 2018 to compile and analyze comic book data. 

Working in conjunction with Department of English, Graphic Possibilities Research Workshop, and the Consortium for Critical Diversity in Digital Age Research (CEDAR), this Wikidata event seeks to address gaps in digital record. This is Graphic Possibilities’ second year hosting this Wikidata workshop, and we welcome participants of all Digital Humanities/Wikidata experience to join our community of students, specialists, staff, faculty, and comics / Wikidata fans!

During the event, we will be connecting the metadata associated with a subset of the MSU Comics Collection to entries on Wikidata in order to make the Comics Collection that much more digitally and publicly accessible to folks outside of Michigan State University through Wikidata. This is a great entry-level opportunity to do some Digital Humanities/data-manipulation/open-archive work with a large community of folks! 

Each participant will begin by taking an entry, then work to connect as many points as possible to Wikidata. You’ll sign off on completed entries, then begin a new one. We’ll be using Discord to connect you all during the event, so you can talk about the process with each other. The goal of this event is to not only increase the digital accessibility of the collection, but also to connect comics scholars across different institutions, units, and areas. 

Luckily, no wikidata editing experience is required! Check out our video below to get started. We will also be providing training on wikidata editing in the mornings of the event. 

This fall’s event will link Wikidata groups across the country together in a coordinated effort to update entries linked to the Silver and Bronze Age of comics. For more information on joining this event, contact Justin Wigard (wigardju@msu.edu).

Registration Process:

  1. Create an account on Wikidata: create an account on Wikidata.
  2. Wikidata’s tutorial Tours: complete the first three “Tours” under Wikidata Basics (Items, Statements, References)
  3. Complete the GP Wikidata Registration here.

 

Tutorial Video for the Event

DH@MSU specialist Kate Topham put together a comprehensive video explaining our process that we will be following for the event. We will also go over this process each morning during the Wikidata Edit-A-Thon.

Featured Wikidata Visualization: Fawcett Comics

This visualization was created during our Spring 2021 Wikidata workshop, and represents (in part) the completion of our Fall 2020 Wikidata event. Our F-20 Wikidata participants uploaded and connected metadata from the MSU Comic Arts Collection to Wikidata; our Sp-21 participants used that wikidata to create visualizations, including the one presented below.

These visualizations are presented in their default views, but once a visualization has loaded, it can be interacted with in several ways. For instance, clicking on an element can provide additional information in the form of revealing new connections or providing clarification. Clicking again on one new connection will add the element to the visualization. These can be zoomed in/out, and using the pop-up toolbars on the top/left/right will allow additional modifications and viewing. If all else fails, refresh the page, and play around again! 

CAPTION: A visualization of Fawcett publications with their possibly biggest creation: Captain Marvel, aka Shazam. Included in the visual are links to the creators of Captain Marvel and some of the imprints of Fawcett. More specifically, this visualization highlights the many publishers and creators who have used Captain Marvel in their work. Clicking on each element of the visualization leads to more details of the imprints, creators, and appearances of the character.

Created by: Karina Ocanas, Christine Eslao, Allison Bailund