Call for Rapid Responses: Comics in and of The Moment
Posted by Ernesto Priego on 2021-05-18

Call for Rapid Responses: Comics in and of The Moment

A Special Collection for The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship

Special Collection Editors: Jeanette D’Arcy and Kay Sohini, with support from the editorial team.

Deadline for abstracts of up to 500 words: 15 June 2021,
sent to cc-ing

Shortlisted submissions will receive an invitation to submit full contributions by 15 July 2021

Deadline for full submissions: 15 September 2021. All full contributions will be subject to editorial review.

Why comics? Why now? What even is ‘now’?

In a period which feels like a significant moment, a turning point in history, how do comics make themselves timely? How does the ‘sequential and simultaneous’ (Sousanis 2015) nature of time in comics make the medium uniquely positioned for such timely response? Many have pointed out that the events of the last year (or has it been longer?) have rendered time obsolete. Working from home means we are missing the daily beats of commutes, coffees, and coworkers that organises time into tangible segments. Nevertheless, we, especially the ones deemed essential workers, are expected to carry on as ‘normal’ in a world undergoing monumental changes, in a world not designed to accommodate the most vulnerable amongst us, in a world that values ceaseless productivity over equality and fairness.  


Comics, especially with the rising popularity of Graphic Medicine, have made space for drawing as a way to process grief in trying times, as well as a space for people to find community as seen in Graphic Medicine’s ‘Drawing Together’  project, or in Desert Island’s  Rescue Party  series. Comics today have also become tools for dissemination of stories that are silenced otherwise, as seen in What Has Happened to Me a webcomic about Uighur’s woman persecution in China that became viral in 2019. There has also been a notable rise in use of comics in scientific communication as seen in Malaka Gharib’s comics on NPR or in Baffled Bunny & Curious Cat, a series of educational comics supported by the Singapore Population Health Improvement Centre, or in Richard Clinghan’s Jenny and the Eddies


Such timely responses run parallel to the communal feeling that the last year has distorted our sense of time and its passing. This very concept of a ‘pandemic year’ is now stretching into an uncertain future well beyond its designated twelve months. Other parallel moments of emergency and urgency such as the rise of the alt-right, exacerbation of global inequalities, economic disparity, climate crisis, and gendered violence have seen comics positioned as a kind of first responder, perhaps especially in the more immediate realm of social media and web-based work. But aren’t comics always contextualised within a specific moment?

This special collection of The Comics Grid invites creative responses concerning how comics have been used in increasingly generative ways to talk about mental health, disability and illness, politics, and social inequities. Submissions may take the form of short comics (comics about comics or autobio/personal narratives), sharp concise commentaries on the current moment in comics culture, interviews with cartoonists, reviews of recent work, etc. We are especially interested in rapid responses, graphic submissions, and pieces that favor perceptive analyses of the medium, that expand on use of time in comics, that consider materialities of comics culture, that prioritize contemporary developments in comics/studies and Graphic Medicine, over articles pertaining to exegesis alone. 

Some questions are we interested in addressing in this special collection are:

1. Why/how is the comics medium conducive to documenting this moment?
2. How can  art-based research and pedagogy be utilized to advocate for social equity?

3. Why Comics? Why now? Who’s doing it now? Where?

Additionally, possible topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Time in comics; crip time; gendered time

  • Drawing comics to process grief/illness

  • Comics as resistance in this socio-political moment 

  • Non-print comics (webcomics, instagram comics) that address pressing issues in real time

  • Comics on care-giving in times of crisis 

  • Comics and community

This call is for rapid response submissions for the following journal sections only:

  • Graphic Submission (papers in comics form,for examples, see )

  • Note (1500 to 2000 words, including references).

  • Review (1000 to 2500 words, including references).

  • Commentary (2000 to 3000 words, including references).

  • Interview (2000 to 4000 words including references).

Questions regarding the fit of your project and whether it falls within the scope of this special issue can be addressed to Jeanette D’arcy and Kay Sohini at We request queries and submissions be cc-ed to Please see the journal’s complete  author guidelines at

Abstracts of up to 500 words should be sent to and cc-ed to by 15 June 2021.

Abstracts should detail what section the submission is for, set the proposal in a scholarly context and describe the methods or approaches to employ.

Graphic Submission proposals should include links to samples of past work (unpublished or published). 

Shortlisted submissions will receive an invitation to submit full contributions by 15 July 2021. Invited contributions will be subject to editorial review as per the journal’s policies.

The Comics Grid provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Authors of articles published in The Comics Grid remain the copyright holders and grant third parties the right to use, reproduce, and share the original contents of the article according to the Creative Commons-Attribution license agreement. 

The journal is indexed by SCOPUS, Web of Science, Google Scholar, DOAJ, and many others. The Comics Grid 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 you like the work that the Open Library of Humanities is doing, please consider asking your institution to support us financially. We cannot operate without our library members. More details for libraries can be found here:

Subscribe to the Comics Grid Newsletter:


news   calls   cfps   2021