Comics studies scholars engaging comparative mythology tend to limit critical approaches to superhero fiction and classical and religious texts. Even the popular argument that superheroes are a “modern mythology” typically does not venture outside these limitations. Tolkien’s legendarium, Lovecraft’s mythos, Tennyson’s revisions to Arthurian myth, and Blake’s mythology don’t quite fit the creative models that prevailing criticism considers in comparative studies. Nick Katsiadas explores a greater literary history of myth in comics in his examinations of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Alan Moore and J. H. Williams III’s Promethea, and Mike Carey and Peter Gross’s The Unwritten. The Romantics particularly used myth to highlight ideas about the value of imagination and creativity, and Katsiadas traces how these ways of thinking about literature and the arts persisted up through twentieth- and twenty-first-century comics. In this way, Romanticism in Comics helps us better understand comics’ greater literary history and, also, helps us reread and better situate Romanticism’s legacy in twentieth- and twenty-first-century art forms and ways of life.
Nick Katsiadas is an instructor in the Department of Languages, Literatures, Cultures, and Writing at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on European Romanticism, its echoes in later experimental narratology, and graphic narratives. He is the author of “Mytho-Auto-Bio: Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, the Romantics, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest” and “The Unwritten: Romanticism in Comics?”
“Katsiadas expounds his central thesis with insight and precision, placing modern graphic narratives plausibly and compellingly within wider literary traditions.”—Mike Carey, writer for The Unwritten, Lucifer, and Hellblazer