Roger Todd Whitson (Washington State University) and Anastasia Salter (University of Central Florida) introduce the current issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly on Comics as Scholarship with an article entitled “Comics and the Digital Humanities.” In this piece, the authors, who edited the special issue, explore the tension between print and digital with regard to the production and consumption of comics.
As we continue to consider the place of comics within the digital humanities, it is worth noting that many of the creators working with digital comics are careful to separate such artifacts from animation or other digital media. Comic author Mark Waid, one of the more vocal digital comic enthusiasts, argues that “the only place I stop short is at the addition of voice, music, or anything else that takes the full and total control of time away from the reader,” which he feels is an “essential” and “inviolate” element of comic books.
Whitson and Salter go on to describe the conception of the special DHQ issue itself, documenting its origin and relating the story of its authors and works.
Each work represents the different strengths of its author(s) in modality, use of original and remixed imagery, and textual methods. These works only display a small section of what is possible in the broad realm that can be analyzed as sequential art or comics. The history of humanities computing, broadly construed, is filled with multimodal works: however, we are still at our infancy in truly building spaces that are receptive to new methods, with systems of peer review that encourage innovation and experimentation. The challenges we faced in constructing this issue are a reminder that while the academic essay and monograph are entrenched structures with strong institutional support, the scholarly multimedia text is still emerging.