This collection of essays will focus on the works of Brussels/Athens-based artist Ilan Manouach (Athens, 1980). Manouach has been publishing since the early 2000s, with most of his output via Brussels art comics house La Cinquième Couche. While his practice has often been described as “experimental” or “conceptual”, his approaches have in fact been quite varied. Although he takes up multiple perspectives, some of his titles are particularly attentive to the interstices of the formal and expressive affordances of the comics medium (Blanco, Compendium of Franco-Belgian Comics, Un monde un peu meilleur) or to its political, economic and social implications (e.g. the microwork projects Harvested, The Cubicle Island and the forthcoming Peanuts Minus Schulz). Even more exemplary, perhaps, are the works in which he employs appropriation practices to ask challenging questions about the discipline through comics themselves (Katz,MetaKatz, Noirs, Cascao, La ballade de la mer sale).

Moreover, Manouach has also been at the forefront of the research and production of comics yet to come, in a true expansion of the field. This is exemplified by the Shapereader project, a system of tactile communication in comics specifically designed for people with visual disabilities, hiscuratorial efforts associated with Futures of Comics, the Monoskop Conceptual Comics Collection, and Applied Memetic, an organization whose mission is to produce the first graphic novel entirely generated through artificial intelligence.

In cooperation with Echo Chamber, an organization whose mission is to produce, research and archive speculative works of comics, and with the artist himself, I am acting as the editor of this collection. The Ilan Manouach Critical Reader (working title) will be a collection of chapters that focus on either solo titles or ongoing practices associated with Ilan Manouach, and which engage with an array of critical frameworks, from disability studies to postcolonial/decolonisation theory, multisensoriality and poetics, IP economics and digital culture, experimental practices and children’s comics. At this point in time, we have a roster of twelve internationally reputed comics scholars, from a highly diverse range of cultural backgrounds, academic expertise, disciplinary contexts, and generations.


Please notice: Echo Chamber will provide digital access to all of Manouach’s work, whether commercially available or out-of-print books, complementary documentation and resources, much of which is not accessible otherwise.

Langue : anglais

Modalités de soumission : I am looking for a few additional chapters on specific topics (see below), in English, up to 5000-7000 words (MLA Style). A French translation of the entire project is envisaged, and currently under negotiation. The funding for this project has been approved, so all contributions will be paid, 250 euros per essay.

Unfortunately, time is of the essence. The deadline for abstracts is November the 1 st.

Completed chapters are due 2021, January 23rd.

As most areas have been covered, these are some of the topics related to Manouach’s published output for which we are soliciting contributions:

1. sociological takes on the affective labor in comics and the increasingly disrupted production roles in the making and consumption of comics (taking in consideration The Cubicle Island and Peanuts Minus Schulz, for instance).

2. a reflection upon conceptual practices within the comics industry, and their relationship with uncreative writing and contemporary conceptual art (engaging with, e.g., Blanco, Compendium).

3. engagement with Un Monde Un Peu Meilleur (a critical take on Lewis Trondheim’s album of the same name) and on what conceptual pranks can teach us about the history and the debates around formats in the comics industry.

4. new practices and site specificity in the understanding and revisiting of colonial fictions in comics art (using Tintin Akei Kongo, La Ballade de la Mer Sale, Noirs).

5. Manouach’s multidisciplinary practices and comics in the expanded field.

6. the questioning of issues of canonization, formal experimentalism, and/or the subsuming of comics to literary studies and narratological approaches by engaging with the visual and material practices of some of Ilan Manouach’s work.

Contact :

Please send abstracts and short bios to: