The Socio-Legal Studies Association presents Graphic Justice: Law, Comics, and Related Visual Media March 27-29. 2018.
Critical interest in the comics medium has exploded in recent decades, and is steadily growing within the legal academy. Indeed, comics and graphic fiction—and their related visual emanations, including film, video games, and wider ‘geek culture’—are of huge and on-going significance to law, justice, and legal studies.
On a socio-cultural level, comics are historically embroiled in debates of free speech whilst today they inspire countless pop culture adaptations—from television to cinema to video games, as well as performance activities such as cosplay—and can be seen to reflect and shape popular visions of justice, morality, politics, and law. On the level of content, from mainstream superhero narratives tackling overt issues of justice, governance and authority, to countless themes related to morality, justice, and humanity in stories within and far beyond the mainstream, comics are rich with legal material. On the level of form, the comics medium’s unique and restless blending of different media and types of representation (text, image, visuality, aesthetics, inter alia) radically opens up discourse beyond the confines of the word, enabling greater critical engagement amidst our increasingly visual age. On the level of production, comics are a complex art-form, with multiple creators working in individual, group, commercial, and industrial contexts, raising questions of ownership and exploitation—issues exacerbated by comics’ transmedia proliferation.