The TRACE innovation initiative is a research endeavor developed and maintained by the University of Florida’s Department of English. TRACE works at the intersection of ecology, posthumanism, and writing studies. Invoking the mission of TRACE, Sequentials recognizes the unique capability of images to relay knowledge by soliciting and publishing interpretations of various academic subjects or themes drawn and explained through the comics medium. This session will be of particular interest to anyone interested in visual rhetoric, graphic storytelling, and comics.
By “comics,” we loosely mean illustrated, sequential images that may or may not incorporate words and may or may not be bounded within panels or other boundary markers. Because the term “comics” is still a contested one and has thus far evaded definition, this TRACE project asks contributors to (re)imagine the meanings of both the subject they are drawing about and the form that their interpretation takes. By encouraging contributors to conceptualize their work in a distinctly visual way, this project highlights the unique creative capabilities of the comics medium and reflects TRACE’s overall focus on innovative research and production.
A large focus of the Sequentials project is on developments of form. Given that chosen submissions will be published online, the framing of the page and screen will inevitably provide boundaries to what can be presented or created. We recognize the limitations of this two-dimensional space, but believe in the enormous creative potential of the comics form. Therefore, we ask contributors to consider how the form of their illustrations and panel structures might influence how viewers receive creative interpretations. The Sequentials team will circulate a CFC (call for comics) bi-monthly and will publish submissions accordingly. Subjects will range from theoretical terms like “deconstructivism” to fields of study such as “ecocriticism” or “animal studies.” In seeking visual submissions, we hope to destabilize the notion that words alone are the most effective way of conveying knowledge; we encourage contributors utilize the comics medium to its fullest, exploring how meaning can be displayed in creative ways. Contributors from all academic disciplines, regardless of their level of experience or illustration “skill” are welcome to submit. Further, submissions are encouraged from non-academics as well, and the editorial team will consider all submissions equally.