European Comic Art

Laurence Grove, University of Glasgow
Ann Miller, 
University of Leicester
Anne Magnussen, University of Southern Denmark

Subjects: Cultural Studies

Published in association with the International Bande Dessinée Society

IBDS and ABDS members can access the journal online here.

Latest Issue Table of Contents

Volume 17 (2024): Issue 1 (Mar 2024)

Volume 17 / 2024, 2 issues per volume (spring, autumn)

Aims & Scope

European Comic Art is the first English-language scholarly publication devoted to the study of European-language graphic novels, comic strips, comic books and caricature. Published in association with the American Bande Dessinée Society and the International Bande Dessinée Society, European Comic Art builds on existing scholarship in French-language comic art and is able to draw on the scholarly activities undertaken by both organisations. However, our editorial board and consultative committee bring expertise on a wider European area of comic art production and the journal will emphasise coverage of work from across Europe, including Eastern Europe.

European Comic Art aims to address a broad range of topics in the field of comic art, including but by no means limited to:

  • The current "manga-isation" of the European comics scene by Asian comics
  • Mutual influences of European  and American comics
  • Feminist comic art and women cartoonists
  • Comics without words
  • Hergé and the clear-line school of cartooning
  • Cartoonist collectives and independent publishers since 1990
  • Genre and the industry
  • Comics and digital media
  • The cartoonist as reporter
  • Comics in their historical context
  • Comics as medium for autobiography and autofiction
  • Postcolonial comics
  • Comics and national/transnational identity
  • Time and space in comics
  • Comics and architecture
  • Comics and the avant-garde
  • Advances and debates in comics theory


European Comic Art is indexed/abstracted in:

  • ARTbibliographies Modern (ProQuest)
  • Art & Architecture Complete (Ebsco)
  • Art Abstracts (Ebsco)
  • Bibliometric Research Indicator List (BFI)
  • MLA International Bibliography
  • Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers
  • Emerging Sciences Citation Index (Web of Science)
  • European Reference Index for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS)

Laurence Grove, University of Glasgow, UK
Anne Magnussen, University of Southern Denmark
Ann Miller, University of Leicester, UK

Book Review Editors
Armelle Blin-Rolland, Bangor University, UK
Catriona MacLeod, University of London Institute in Paris, UK

Editorial Board
Maaheen Ahmed, Ghent University, Belgium
Bart Beaty, University of Calgary, Canada
Michelle Bumatay, Florida State University, USA
Hugo Frey, University of Chichester, UK
Catherine Labio, University of Colorado, USA
Mark McKinney, Miami University, OH, USA
Wendy Michallat, University of Sheffield, UK
Kees Ribbens, NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Roger Sabin, University of the Arts, London, UK
Matthew Screech, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Clare Tufts, Duke University, USA

Consultative Committee
Jan Baetens, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium
Teresa Bridgeman, University of Bristol, UK
Cécile Danehy, Wheaton College, Norton, MA, USA
Vittorio Frigerio, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
Fabio Gadducci, University of Pisa, Italy
Paul Gravett, author and critic
Thierry Groensteen, Editions de l'An 2, Angoulême, France
Michael Kelly, University of Southampton, UK
David Kunzle, UCLA, USA
Pascal Lefèvre, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium
John Lent, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA
Fabrice Leroy, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA
Jean-Christophe Menu, Author and Publisher, Founder of L'Association
Kai Mikkonen, University of Helsinki, Finland
Stephan Packard, Universität zu Köln, Germany
Rikke Platz Cortsen, University of Texas at Austin, USA
Murray Pratt, Nottingham Trent University, UK
Thierry Smolderen, l'EESATI (Ecole Supérieure de l'Image), Angoulême, France
Joost Swarte, Artist and Graphic Designer

Manuscript Submission

Please review the contributor submission information and style guide carefully before submitting.

Submissions of articles and review articles, as well as other editorial communications, can be directed to Dr Laurence Grove at

The journal accepts original research articles, book reviews and review articles.

Original research articles should present new knowledge and findings in the field, and should be around 8,000 words (including notes and references), although longer and shorter articles may be considered. Review articles should review a minimum of three titles and be 2,000 to 4,000.

View Guest Editor Guidelines here.

Have other questions? Please refer to the Berghahn Info for Authors page for general information and guidelines including topics such as article usage and permissions for Berghahn journal article authors.

Process for Refereeing and Accepting Articles

European Comic Art is a refereed journal. Articles are sent to at least two scholars with relevant experience and expertise. Referees are asked to advise the editors whether the article should be published and if so, with what recommended changes. The editors respond to the author with their decision and a list of any changes needed for the article to be accepted for publication. They also send the anonymous referees' comments to the author.

Ethics Statement

Authors published in European Comic Art (ECA) certify that their works are original and their own. The editors certify that all materials, with the possible exception of editorial introductions, book reviews and some types of commentary, have been subjected to double-blind peer review by qualified scholars in the field. While the publishers and the editorial board make every effort to see that no inaccurate or misleading data, opinions, or statements appear in this journal, they wish to make it clear that the data and opinions appearing in the articles herein are the sole responsibility of the contributor concerned. For a more detailed explanation concerning these qualifications and responsibilities, please see the complete ECA ethics statement.

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Volume 17/2024, 2 issues p.a. (spring, autumn)
ISSN 1754-3797 (Print) • ISSN 1754-3800 (Online)
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The IBDS (International Bande Dessinée Society) and the ABDS (American Bande Dessinée Society) are forums for scholarly exchange on all aspects of the bande dessinée, or French-language comic strip. We welcome all critical approaches, be they historical, sociological, political, literary, linguistic or other.

Individual IBDS or ABDS membership rate: $66/£42/€46

Student IBDS or ABDS membership rate (Online Only): $20/£12/€16

Membership benefits of the IBDS or ABDS:

  • Individual members receive a print and online subscription to the IBDS/ABDS flagship journal European Comic Art.
  • IBDS is an international association in which people from many countries and regions will participate through conferences and research presentations. By participating in the IBDS, members can build an excellent network of personal contacts.
  • Members will receive a 25% discount on all Berghahn Books publications.
  • IBDS and ABDS members can access the journal online here.
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This article provides the base for a narratology that is specific to comics. It takes into account the irrefutable presence of an agent responsible for graphic enunciation, the monstrator, and on the basis of a case study (Franquin, Jidéhem and Greg's album, The Shadow of Z) it deducts that the instance of the recitant is responsible for verbal enunciation. The necessity to distinguish these two instances from that of the fundamental narrator is collaborated by the different positions that can be adapted with respect to storytelling.

The Frontier and the Affrontier

French-Language Algerian Comics and Cartoons Confront the Nation


Algerian and Algerian-French cartoonists have often thematised national identity in their art. Their interest in this subject has created problems for them when they have crossed the 'affrontier', a line of demarcation whose nature and place have been determined to a considerable degree by the military regime. The analysis of some of its key dimensions - political, religious, spatial, historical and symbolic - allows us to understand how it operates. By studying striking examples of cartoons and comics, their production and consumption, we can come to an understanding of how the affrontier has functioned since 1962, when Algeria gained its independence. The year 1988, when the Algerian regime killed and tortured hundreds of young rioters, stands out as a watershed, because cartoonists then began to redefine their relationship to the military regime, the nation and the affrontier.


In this article, I set out to establish the principles underlying the composition of images on the comics page, not by predetermining in advance what such principles might be, but by empirical investigation of the works of artists. I arrive at three major categories of page composition: to the terms 'regular' and 'rhetorical', used respectively by Thierry Groensteen and Benoît Peeters, I add the category of 'semiregular', the transformation of a regular composition as the effect of merging or splitting of panels. However, in both rhetorical and semiregular compositions, panels within the same strip may be vertically aligned according to a further principle that I designate as 'fragmentation'. I propose a notation system to account for patterns produced by fragmentation, including second- (and nth-) degree fragmentation, whereby a vertically aligned panel is split into two (or more) horizontally aligned ones, one or more of which may then be vertically split and so on. The article ends with a consideration and critique of the work of Groensteen, Peeters and Neil Cohn on page composition.

A Creative Culture Where It Is Hard to Make a Living

The Socio-Economic Situation of Comics Authors and Illustrators in Belgium

On the initiative of the research office of the non-profit SMartBe Professional Association for Creative Professions, an exploratory survey into the current socio-economic circumstances of comics authors and illustrators in Belgium has been undertaken for the first time. The replies of 191 French-speaking and 72 Dutch-speaking artists to the online questionnaire have given an idea of the profile of comics authors and illustrators in Belgium (in terms of gender, age, place of residence, educational background), their professional activities and the type of publications in which their work appears, and their employment status and income. The results show that, in general, their monthly income falls below the Belgian median, and that many artists, particularly in the younger age range, are reliant on supplementing their earnings from other sources. A number of differences emerged between the situation of French-speaking and Dutch-speaking artists. The role of creative grants (especially subsidies from the government) is shown to be crucial.

The following text is the transcript of the presentation given by Thierry Groensteen at the conference of the International Bande Dessinée Society at the French Institute in London on 14 April 2007, in which he outlined the key elements of his semiotic approach to the analysis of the comics medium in the recently translated System of Comics, the first part of a trilogy subsequently completed by the historical overview of Astérix, Barbarella & Cie ['Asterix, Barbarella & Co.'], and the analysis of the cultural positioning of comics in France in Un objet culturel non identifié ['An Unidentified Cultural Object']. He also spoke of his priorities as a publisher: the affirmation of a European artistic tradition, the promotion of work by female artists, and the establishment of a dialogue between creativity and reflection.