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Serrano on MLA Conference Panels


Nhora Lucía Serrano
Nhora Lucía Serrano

Visiting Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature Nhora Lucía Serrano participated in two panels at the 2018 Modern Language Association (MLA) Conference. The meeting took place in January in New York City. Serrano is the outgoing executive committee member of the MLA forum on GS Comics and Graphic Narratives.

Serrano organized and chaired “Connecting the Dots: Museums and Comics,” a panel that covered a wide range of approaches from the comics page employing the architectural (spatial) layout, comics as street art, and contemporary artists borrowing from the comics medium to the rise and popularity for comics museums worldwide.

As chair of the panel, Serrano addressed the implications of comics entering the public forum of the museums space, and vice versa. 

On the second panel, “Strips of Modernity: Affect, Labor, and Identity in Early Comics,” Serrano was a respondent along with famed author Michael Tisserand.

In her remarks, Serrano commented on how comics from the early 20th century—Hal Foster’s “Prince Valiant,” Martin Branner’s “Winnie Winkle,” and Lynd Ward’s “Wild Pilgrimage”—ask their readers to eschew the masculine myths of modernism that privilege capitalism and authoritarianism. For Serrano these comics seek to emphasize craftsmanship over the mechanized arts while providing the literal space for new emerging labor and gender identities.

Also in January, the judges’ selections for the 2018 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were announced. Serrano, a member of the judging panel, said the judges’ choices for automatic induction into the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame – Carol Kalish, a pioneering direct sales manager for Marvel Comics, and Jackie Ormes, the first black female newspaper cartoonist – have been well-received in the comics industry. The judges also selected 16 nominees of which four will be voted into the Hall of Fame this summer.

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