• Comics@CSUN logo by Jed McGowan

CSUN Professor Wins Eisner Award for Comics Scholarship!

July 26, 2016

Professor Frances Gateward of CSUN


CSU Northridge Professor of Cinema and Television Arts Frances Gateward and her collaborator John Jennings (University at Buffalo, SUNY) have won the 2016 Will Eisner Award for Best Academic/Scholarly Work for their co-edited essay collection, The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art (Rutgers UP, 2015).

The Blacker the Ink, edited by Gateward and Jennings

The prize was announced on Friday, July 22, 2016, at the annual awarding of the Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards at Comic-Con International in San Diego. The Eisners, named for pioneering comics artist, graphic novelist, and educator Will Eisner, are considered the comics field's highest prize in the U.S.

The Blacker the Ink gathers contributions by eighteen scholars representing a wide range of disciplines, including African American Studies; Cinema and Media Studies; Communications; Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies; English; Art and Visual Studies; and Teacher Education. In its interdisciplinary scope, the book represents the diverse nature of Comics Studies today. Its essays cover the political challenges posed by Black comics, the historical contexts in which Black comics creators have worked, the rhetorical and political challenges posed by Black superheroes, and representations of Blackness in the current graphic novel era. From notorious comic books of the 1950s, to contemporary graphic novels depicting African and African American cultures, to works by creators such as Jackie Ormes, Aaron McGruder, Dwayne McDuffie, and Kyle Baker, The Blacker the Ink addresses a huge range of works and images at the intersection of comics, popular culture, race, racism, and struggles for social justice. The book has also won the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association's 2016 Award for Best Edited Collection in Popular Culture and American Culture.

The Blacker the Ink is the work of an unusual editorial team. Prof. Gateward, head of the Media Theory & Criticism Option in CTVA, is an expert on international cinema (including Korean, Chinese, and Third World film) and women filmmakers as well as African American film and popular culture; she is the editor of Seoul Searching: Cultural Identity and Cinema in South Korea (2007) and co-editor of Where the Boys Are: Cinemas of Masculinity and Youth (2005) and Sugar Spice and Everything Nice: Cinemas of Girlhood (2002). Her co-editor, John Jennings, is a professor of Art, Graphic Design, and Visual Studies, a longtime curator of comics and graphic art, co-author of the art book Black Comix: African American Independent Comics (2010), and an accomplished gallery and comics artist in his own right, currently illustrating the graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s classic novel Kindred. Together Gateward and Jennings have assembled a multifaceted exploration of race in comics that breaks important new ground in the field.

Prof. Gateward joins her Comics@CSUN colleague Charles Hatfield, of the CSUN English Department, who won an Eisner in 2012 for his monograph Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby.