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Authors are invited to submit manuscripts that fall within the focus of the journal. Please follow the guidelines below carefully, and contact the Editorial Assistant if after reading them you still have any questions..
The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship publishes one issue per year, with publication of articles as soon as they are ready. Please bear in mind that for open submissions, we usually have two yearly internal deadlines:
Ongoing Special Collections may have different deadlines. For specific Special Collection deadlines, please refer to the relevant call for papers.
The journal has a limited capacity and budget to consider and publish a certain number of articles per year. The editors reserve the right to close open submission periods in an ad hoc basis. We understand the pressures authors are under. Though historically the journal has aimed for rapid (or at least efficient) review and publication timeframes, we do not recommend submitting work for consideration if you are in a hurry.
Unfortunately it is not possible to guarantee submissions will be processed within specific timeframes. In general and under normal circumstances, the editors aim to process all submissions received well before each of the two deadlines.
Historically, most submissions received between October 31st and March 31st have normally been fully processed (accepted and published or rejected) by October 30th; most submissions received between March 31st and October 31st have usually been fully processed (accepted and published or rejected) by March 30th. However, this depends on multiple variables (for example, authors', reviewers' and editors' personal and professional circumstances, or, say, a global pandemic).
While your submission is under consideration, you can follow at what stage it is in by logging into your author account.
Manuscripts (in English) must be submitted via the journal management system, available via our web site at https://www.comicsgrid.com/submit/start/.
Submission of an article implies that it is unpublished and not being considered for publication elsewhere. Contributors are responsible for fully attributing any material for which they do not hold copyright, including registered trademark notices and illustrations (see our Copyright Notice below). They are warmly encouraged to use with preference images from open access repositories, under creative common licence, and the like. Revisions are likely to be required before a submission is accepted or rejected for publication.
Please note that The Comics Grid requires all submissions to include 1 to 6 images that are directly referred to and discussed in the body of the article. Please refer to our image submission guidelines below to attribute them appropriately. All images should be uploaded as supplementary files upon submission in the order in which they appear in the submitted manuscript.
Before submission, please ensure that the article adheres to the formatting requirements detailed below. Failure to do so may result in delays or in the rejection of the submission.
Submissions that do not follow these guidelines will be desk-rejected. All submissions for all sections should include images as supplementary files. The journal is international and multi-disciplinary with a diverse audience with a great variety of national, cultural, linguistic and disciplinary backgrounds, so discipline-specific methods, cultural references and terminology should not be taken for granted and clearly defined and discussed. In the case of Special Collections, please refer as well to the specific call. When submitting to a Special Collection, please indicate the name of the appropriate Special Collection in a note to the editor.
Research: 3500 to 5500 words maximum including references. Authors are encouraged to keep footnotes/endnotes to an absolute minimum, using them only when crucial clarifications are needed. Submissions should provide analysis/interpretation of specific examples of comics work and directly include and refer to those examples, stating clearly the scholarly background, research questions, hypotheses, methodology, limitations, conclusions and further work, providing informed argumentation engaging with relevant scholarship.
Note: 1500 to 2000 words, including references. As with articles, please keep footnotes/endnotes to the bare minimum. These submissions are shorter pieces/explications that may cover any aspect of comics scholarship. Notes should be more than blog posts, but not yet thorough Research articles, containing a literature review, references, etc. and representing an advance of ongoing research work.
Review: 2000 to 2500 words, including references, offering a scholarly review of an academic book (scholarly monographs and edited collections). Reviews should engage with publications critically and attempt to place the work within the broader literature on a particular subject, and must include in-text and end references. Book reviews must include an image file of the official book cover (on Images, see below). Please note we do not usually consider book reviews of comics/comic books/graphic novels, unless they are non-fiction or scientific/scholarly comics.
Interviews: 2000 to 4000 words including references. Content should focus on scholarly interviews that provide careful, specialised discussion within the journal’s subject matter. Interviews must include in-text and end references and have a scholarly focus, scope and approach (i.e. have a comics scholarship audience in mind).
Commentary: 2500 to 3000 words, including references. Should present first-person reflections upon, react to, or critique a specific notable occurrence in the field of comics scholarship, such as the release of a major study. Authors interested in submitting a commentary should discuss the content with the editors before submitting a manuscript.
Graphic Submissions: see guidelines below.
Regardless of the article type, all submissions must include the following sections, indicated in the text of the manuscript:
Title (maximum 16 words). Please ensure that all of the following information is fully and correctly entered into the submission system database when making the original submission:
title; full author name(s); affiliation(s)*; contact email address
*(for affiliation, please include department, institution, city, country)
Abstract, summarising the content and approach of the manuscript. The text of the article should be prefaced by an indented and italicised abstract of no more than 200 words summarising the main arguments and conclusions of the article.
Keywords. Maximum 5 in alphabetical order. The function of keywords is to increase the discoverability of the article, so please avoid using terms already contained in the title of the article. Rather, they must be related to the content of the article. The Abstract and Keywords should also be added to the metadata when submitting the piece online.
Body of the article text with in-text citations (Harvard style). This must be submitted in an editable word processing file (.doc, docx).
Images. All submissions must include at least one image file that the text of the manuscript discusses directly. Research articles usually include a maximum of 6 images, particularly if they belong to the same author/rights holder, but this limit may be discussed with the editors in an ad hoc basis if the need for more images is justified. All image files need to be provided in 300 dpi in either .jpg or .png and uploaded as supplementary files. Please note that submissions that do not include nor engage directly with actual examples of comic art will be rejected by default.
All images need to be captioned with complete bibliography and relevant copyright notices. It is the responsibility of the author to source good quality image files and to include correct bibliographic references for any images cited.
Please do embed image files on the manuscript file to ease peer review. Numbered captions of any figures (charts, passages from comics) referred to in the text, with full bibliographic and copyright information (note that copyright does not always belong to the authors), inserted as placeholders under the images, indicating where the image files should go. Images must also be submitted separately as image files through the journal’s management system interface at the moment of submission. Please make sure the files are uploaded in the order in which the figures have been captioned and numbered in the manuscript file.
The captions and copyright notices of the images must also be added to the image files' metadata when making the initial submission. Please refer to previously-published articles in the journal for examples of how to caption images.
Acknowledgements. This section is optional, but, if desired, any acknowledgements should be placed in a separate paragraph after the main text and before the reference list/bibliography.
Competing interests. Authors should briefly declare any conflicts of interest, or declare there are none.
References. All references cited within the text must be listed in a references section at the end of the manuscript. Where relevant, all references from online sources must include URLs or relevant identifiers (e.g. DOI) and last date of access (see below for details).
Some of these sections (like Title, Author(s), affiliation, country, email, abstract, keywords and supplementary images) will also need to be keyed into the submission system database at the moment of submission. Please ensure the relevant information on your submission's file is the same as the one you enter in the submission system database.
Capitalisation of titles
Articles must be submitted in English. Authors are welcome to use American or British spelling and grammar as long as they are used consistently. Some of the key differences between English and American English include the following:
Please note that the original, official spelling of proper nouns and normal institutional titles should always be used. For instance, it is Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations, not Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations.
As with language, American or English spelling and grammar rules may be used as long as they are used consistently. For instance, you may use a serial comma (red, white, and blue) or not (red, white and blue).
We are happy for authors to use either words or figures to represent large figures (i.e. one million or 1,000,000) as long as the usage is consistent within an article. For numbers between zero and twelve we would recommend using words rather than figures, except for when it is a part of a dataset or presented in a table.
When referring to a percentage, please use the words ‘per cent’ rather than the symbol %, again except for when it is a part of a dataset or presented in a table.
Please use single quotation marks except for quotes within another speech, in which case double quotation marks are used.
Acronyms and abbreviations
Spell acronyms out on first use, indicating the acronym in parentheses immediately thereafter. Use the acronym for all subsequent references. You do not need to spell out abbreviations for US, UK, EU, UN and DC, as in Washington, DC.
Images and Illustrations
Please see “Images” above.
Please follow the same guidelines for Images to submit tables. Where appropriate, data from tables should also be provided along a source dataset(often in CSV file, but can be other files where appropriate) and submitted as ‘Supplementary Files’. Any data and datsets should be properly referenced and cited. They should not repeat significant pieces of information already included in the text.
Please use endnotes rather than footnotes (which we will refer to as ‘Notes’ at the end of the article, before ‘References’). All footnotes/endnotes should be used only where crucial clarifying information is needed. Avoid using them for purposes of referencing; use in-text citations instead (Harvard style; see below).
Authors are strongly encouraged to use parenthetical citations as specified by the Harvard citation style, exemplified as follows: (Adam 1984: 120) For publications authored and published by organisations, use the short form of the organisation’s name or its acronym in lieu of the full name. For instance, do NOT do the following (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund 2000); instead, you should write (CBLDF 2000). Do not include URLs (web addresses) in parenthetical citations.
A References list must be included at the end of the article, listing all references cited in the text in alphabetical order according to the authors’ surnames, in Harvard style. All referenced material should be included in the final References list. This includes films, recordings, theatre productions, blog posts, web sites, etc. that may have been referenced / mentioned in the article. Works that have not been cited within the main text of the article, but which the author wishes to share with the reader, must be cited as additional information as part of the endnotes explaining the relevance of the work.
Authors are encouraged to include DOI or URL links in all relevant references, when possible. These should be placed at the end of the reference details.
For additional information on how to reference comic books and comics material, please see http://www.comicsresearch.org/CAC/cite.html.
For additional information on how to reference in Harvard style, see The Open University Harvard guide to citing references, http://www.open.ac.uk/libraryservices/documents/Harvard_citation_hlp.pdf [PDF].
Gordon, I Jancovich, M and McAllister, M P (eds.) 2007 Film and Comic Books. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press.
Achebe, C 1995 Colonialist Criticism. In: Ashcroft, B et al The Post Colonial Studies Reader. London: Routledge. pp. 57–61.
Ward, G 1998 Publishing in the Digital Age. How Digital Technology is Revolutionising the World of Books, Magazines, Newspapers and Printing. London: Bowerdean.
Chapters within edited books:
Samson, C 1970 Problems of information studies in history. In: S. Stone, ed. 1980. Humanities information research. Sheffield: CRUS. pp.44-68.
NOTE: If multiple works by the same author are being listed, please re-type the author’s name out for each entry, rather than using a long dash.
Martin, L 2010 Bombs, bodies and biopolitics: Securitizing the subject at airport security. Social and Cultural Geography, 11(1): 17-34. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649360903414585.
Labarre, N 2013. Incomplete descriptions in Raymond’s Secret Agent X-9. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship 3(1):5, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/cg.ae
NOTE: Please include DOIs for journal articles where possible.
Comics and images from comics publications:
Clowes, D 2008 Ghost World: Special Edition. Seattle: Fantagraphics.
Fox, G F (w), Sekowsky, M (p), and Sachs, B (i). The Wheel of Misfortune. Justice League of America #6 Aug.-Sep. 1961 National Comics Publications [DC Comics].
Starlin, J (w, p, i) Weiss, A (i) 1975 The Judgment!. Strange Tales, 180. Marvel Comics.
Munroe, R 2010 Morning. xkcd. Available at: http://xkcd.com/395/.
NOTE: For variations, please adapt the examples provided in Ellis, A (1998) Comic Art Citation Examples. Comic Art in Scholarly Writing. A Citation Guide. Available at http://www.comicsresearch.org/CAC/cite.html#e16 [Accessed 9 August 2013]
Tate, P 2007 Illicit organ trade increasing. The Jordan Times, 6 June, p. 3.
The Guardian/Reuters 2010 iPads sell faster than iPhones. 03 May. Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/may/03/ipad-apple-iphone-sales. [Last accessed 9 August 2013].
Vincent, P L 2009 Spinning a dark web of fun. The Hindu, 24 September. Available at http://www.hindu.com/mp/2009/11/28/stories/2009112850300100.htm. [Last accessed 3 October 2010].
Lynch, M 2003 Dialogue in an age of terror. In: The Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, PA on 18 August 2003, pp. 4-7.
Zaffran, M 2010. Graphic Medicine. In: Comics and Medicine: Medical Narrative in Graphic Novels conference, Institute of Advanced English Studies, London on 17 June 2010.
Organisational publications/Grey literature:
World Health Organization 2010 The world health report – Health systems financing: the path to universal coverage. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO.
Theses and dissertations:
Yudis, A 2004 Failed responsibility of the media in the war on Iraq. Unpublished thesis (PhD), University of Manchester.
Tinker, E 2009 Identity and Form in Alternative Comics, 1967 - 2007. (PhD), University College London. Available at: http://emmatinker.oxalto.co.uk/ [Last accessed 9 August 2013].
Webpages / PDFs/ Blog posts/Online resources (please ensure URLs and DOIs are provided, when available):
Tauber, M 2009 Lucy Shelton Caswell Interview - part 1. 30 January 2009. Available at: http://matttauber.blogspot.com/2009/01/lucy-shelton-caswell-interview-part-1.html . [Last accessed 16 October 2012]
Wikipedia Comic book. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comic_book. [Last accessed 9 August 2013].
Monkey See Videos 2008 How to Protect Comic Books. Available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVqm9B76LMI [Last accessed 20 October 2009]
Submissions in graphic form (including but not limited to drawings, comics, and diagrams) can be of any type described above, from Research to Commentary. Depending on the chosen category, they may be peer-reviewed before publication.
All graphic submissions must include an abstract, references, and an introductory text that explains the method and the objectives of the submission. This text helps us to index the submission because it is fully searchable, whereas independant images are not. Prior to submitting a Graphic Submission, please contact our Graphic Submissions section editor, Dr Nicolas Labarre.
As with images in regular articles, all files must be provided in 300 dpi in either .jpg or .png. You may need to adjust hand-drawn submissions to ensure that the scanning process results in a clear and legible picture.
Nevertheless, the aesthetic qualities of graphic submissions are less important than their ability to convey information clearly. Visual scholarship should aim at presenting knowledge in a legible, efficient, and productive way, subordinating aesthetic choices to these goals.
While being a skilled drafstman can improve the efficiency of such communication, minimalist solutions (see “Creativity and project management: a comic”, by Phil Jones Jones, James Evans) and technical options (see “Materiality Comics”, by Aaron Kashtan) are perfectly viable alternatives, provided the form is coherent with the content and the epistemic objectives of the submission.
Graphic research is a time-consuming process, even compared to traditional forms of scholarly publication. We therefore encourage scholars wishing to submit graphic pieces to first contact the graphic editor with their project, presenting the subject of the piece as well as the graphic strategies they intend to use. This collaborative approach is meant to generate useful feedback and to refine the submissions, but it does not guarantee that they will go through the peer-review process successfully.
Additionally, we will consider submissions in “thumbnail” or “storyboard” form for peer review. Such submissions should include the complete introductory text and a fully realized graphic sample, but the entire project need not be in fully-rendered graphic form. This process is useful for multiple-page articles in comics form, where the creator does not want to waste time on a fully-rendered project only to have it rejected. The editors will make sure that reviewers are aware of these submission processes.
Authors should abide by the authorship guidelines when submitting an article.
As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
This journal is published by the Open Library of Humanities. Unlike many open-access publishers, the Open Library of Humanities does not charge any author fees. This does not mean that we do not have costs. Instead, our costs are paid by an international library consortium.
If your institution is not currently supporting the platform, we request that you ask your librarian to sign up. The OLH is extremely cost effective and is a not-for-profit charity. However, while we cannot function without financial support and we encourage universities to sign up, institutional commitment is not required to publish with us.
Fee waivers do not apply at the Open Library of Humanities because our funding model does not rely on author charges.