The next in the series of Narrative Research Group talks will take place on Wednesday 26 February at 4 p.m in CAG06. Paul Williams, Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature at the University of Exeter, will examine the ways in which ‘the novel’ was used in the 1970s to conceptualise ambitious comic projects. Although Will Eisner’s A Contract with God (1978) is frequently hailed as the threshold text popularising the ‘graphic novel’, it was one of several projects whereby comics were published in book form for adult readers in the 1970s. The talk will establish the different modes of production open to creators aiming for long, complete narratives. By outlining the main publication routes available at the time, we can start to explain why 1978 saw an exponential growth in book-bound comics for adult readers, before numbers dropped in 1979 and 1980.
Paul Williams is Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature at the University of Exeter, where he has been working since 2008. He has written on a wide range of genres, texts and media, including Cold War literature, Vietnam War films, hip-hop music and 1970s psychotherapy; his main publications are The Rise of the American Comics Artist (2010; co-edited with James Lyons), Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War (2011) and Paul Gilroy (2012).