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Thursday, May 12 • 11:00am - 11:15am
Building the Comic Book Readership Archive

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The Comic Book Readership Archive project, or CoBRA, is a digital archive serving to document American comic book readership and fandom. Comics scholarship is an established area of academic research and the subject of thousands of dissertations, journal articles, book chapters, monographs, and digital projects. While comics readership has been a specific target of scholarly attention, previous studies have not fully considered the vast documentary record of comic book readership that will be compiled and analyzed by the CoBRA project.

Throughout 2015, Dr. John Walsh and I at Indiana University, along with colleagues Carol Tilley and Kathryn La Barre at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, created the CoBRA foundational archive. We have also begun collecting data from primary source material, and related sets, to record fan participation such as: fan mail, fan club publications and membership rolls, contests sponsored by publishers and fan clubs, fanzines, and programs and attendee records from comic book conventions and similar events.

To date, we have generated over 6,000 fan and fan mail records from ten comic book publications between 1961 and 1973: The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Tales of Suspense, Tales to Astonish, The Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America, Daredevil, Strange Tales, Conan the Barbarian, and The Incredible Hulk. By January, we anticipate doubling the number of records in the current data set.

My presentation will provide a detailed overview of the project team’s archive development process and progress to date. I will also discuss future development plans, in addition to ways that CoBRA will prompt new research questions and enable multiple forms of digital scholarship, including computationally-assisted content and data analysis, plus interactive maps, timelines, and other visualizations to help researchers study readership networks and activities.


Thursday May 12, 2016 11:00am - 11:15am MST
COOR 186 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  Digital Humanities, Long Paper
  • Session Location COOR 186