Comics and/as Multimodal Rhetoric

Comics and/as Multimodal Rhetoric

Special Issue of the Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics, Spring 2019

Guest Editor: Dale Jacobs


In “The Critique of Everyday Life,” their introductory essay to the first issue of The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics, Christina V. Cedillo and M. Melissa Elston write, “Multimodal practices not only facilitate communication; they also transmit values and traditions.” Like other multimodal texts, comics act as such sites of communication and complex rhetorical practice, with meanings, values, and traditions continuously negotiated between comics creators, publishers, and readers. Comics provide a rich terrain through which to explore the ways in which multimodal rhetorics and literacies are and can be enacted in everyday life.

This special issue will examine the rhetorical uses of comics and the rhetoric surrounding comics in order to think through important questions of multimodality and rhetorical theory. To that end, we might consider for what rhetorical purposes are comics used? In what rhetorical situations? With what audiences? What happens, for example, if we consider diverse texts such as Wimmen’s Comix, Love and Rockets, Captain America, Maus, Dykes to Watch Out For, or The Cross and the Switchblade through the lens of multimodal rhetoric? What if we were to think of the processes of creating and reading comics as fundamentally rhetorical? In other words, how can comics complicate our ideas of rhetoric and how can rhetoric complicate our ideas about comics? 

Through this special issue of The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics, we seek to explore broadly how we can think about comics and/as rhetoric. Articles in both prose and comics form are welcomed. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Specific comics as rhetorical texts.
  • The comics form and its affordances as part of a rhetor’s available means.
  • Comics and the rhetoric of seriality.
  • Comics and/as political rhetoric.
  • Comics and/as cultural rhetoric
  • Comics and/as religious rhetoric.
  • Graphic medicine and/as rhetoric.
  • Comics and rhetorical genre theory.
  • Comics and the intersection between material and multimodal rhetorics.
  • Comics and the creation of discursive space.
  • Comics and the rhetorical creation of knowledge.
  • Comics and the rhetorical construction of identity.
  • Comics and/as collaborative rhetoric.
  • Comics, rhetoric, and critical multimodal literacy.



Full-length submissions due August 1, 2018

Submission determinations sent by November 1, 2018

Revised Manuscripts due February 15, 2019



Direct queries about the special issue and full-length manuscripts in .doc or .docx formats to Dale Jacobs at djacobs[at] Direct general questions about the Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics to journalofmultimodalrhetorics[at] Visit our website for more information: 

General Call for Papers

Multimodality, as broadly defined, simply denotes an appeal to multiple senses or modes of perception. With this working context in mind, the editors and peer collaborators at The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics invite scholarly essays. Proposed articles can focus on the multisensory aspects of rhetoric and persuasion within:

  • Art and visual culture
  • Digital media
  • Material culture
  • Video and tabletop games
  • Music and film
  • Performance studies
  • Multimodal composition practices
  • Multimodal pedagogies within classroom spaces
  • Crafts and DIY endeavors

In addition, we are interested in essays which theorize the epistemic relationship(s) between rhetoric and sensory perception/experience.

The journal welcomes both traditional written essays and multimedia submissions, including hyperlinked webtexts, videos, podcasts, and narrated slideshows.