What Makes a Comic Autobiographical?

thumbnail ocn 30 may

What Makes a Comic Autobiographical?

Register via Eventbrite



This talk will focus on the history of autobiographical comics, challenging the commonly held assumption that autobiographical comics began with Justin Green’s Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary in 1972. While that work was certainly groundbreaking in starting a trend in confessional autobiography, we can find autobiographical strains in the comics medium going back much earlier. One of the key strains in early autobiographical comics is stories that focus on the lives of cartoonists and their various creative, professional, and personal challenges. The talk will examine several key examples of these comics to identify early trends in autobiography, to question the conventional understanding of the history and canon formation of autobiographical comics, and to address challenges in researching this underexplored area of comics history.

Andrew J. Kunka is Professor of English at the University of South Carolina Sumter. He is the author of Autobiographical Comics from the Bloomsbury Comics Studies Series and The Life and Comics of Howard Cruse: Taking Risks in the Service of Truth from Rutgers University Press. He has also published on Will Eisner, Kyle Baker, Jack Katz, crime comics, and Dell comics, among other topics. He also serves as Book Review Editor for Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society, on the board for the International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF), and as the Comics Studies Society Ombuds. He is currently co-writing The Routledge Introduction to American Comics with Rachel R. Miller.

This talk is part of the Oxford Comics Network Summer Seminar Series 2022. For more information, visit www.torch.ox.ac.uk/comics. The seminar will be held online on Zoom. Registration is required. A link to join the seminars on Zoom will be sent out ahead of each event.


Registration is required, either through Eventbrite, or by emailing comics@torch.ox.ac.uk.

A link to join the seminars on Zoom will be sent out ahead of each event.


Queries should be directed to the Oxford Comics Network Team at comics@torch.ox.ac.uk.

Follow the link to the Oxford Comics Network webpage.