Open Panel: Rewriting Chains in Comic Book Adaptations of Canonical Texts

An international conference hosted by the
Centre for Translation and the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies,
Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

In collaboration with the
Genealogies of Knowledge Project, University of Manchester, UK

7-9 April 2020



Rewriting Chains in Comic Book Adaptations of Canonical Texts

Convenor: Dimitris Asimakoulas, University of Surrey, UK

Among the plethora of genres of comic books currently in circulation, adaptations have gained considerable traction, given their entertainment, commercial and educational value (Thomas 2011). The study of adaptations may offer a vantage point for interesting perspectives on the phenomenon of cultural transfer, especially because adaptations may cover the full range of rewriting chains, to paraphrase Gentzler (2017), that is, interconnected, non-linear textual transformations: (collaborative) authoring, intersemiotic (language-to-image) translation, (digital) distribution, official translation, semi-legal scanlation done by consumers/fans, post-translation (dis)assembling, abridgement, parodying, censoring and reviewing – through official or personal platforms.

The aim of this panel is to explore textual, theoretical and institutional intersections in rewriting chains where comic book adaptations of ‘canonical texts’ may offer distinct snapshots of the evolution of certain themes, ideas and forms. The term canonical here includes works which are authorized (e.g. religious texts) or considered to be authoritative in terms of aesthetic value and impact, including so-called literary classics (Cuddon 2013:127). One of the issues that the rewriting of canonical texts may highlight is that of resilience, especially in the sense of coping with adversity and in terms of preserving personal memory and collective consciousness (Dimitroulia 2019:105). In this panel, translation is approached broadly and understood to include an eclectic combination of some of the above-mentioned rewriting transformations in a variety of topics or temporal frames and characterizing different interest groups, both amateur and professional.

This panels welcomes proposals on any of the following areas:

Methods of rewriting

  • textual, aesthetic and ideological transformations; the language of comics in translation
  • collective translation and scanslation
  • pedagogical uses of comic books


  • plotting rewriting as non-linear progression
  • resistant/productive locales of rewriting
  • overlapping roles in production and distribution
  • reasons for dissemination (e.g. economic rationality/resilience, opposition to an establishment)


  • reviewing/critiquing as a mode of rewriting
  • disseminating the idea of a canonical text
  • intellectual histories in contact: East and West, North and South



Cuddon, John Anthony (2013) A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, fifth edition, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Dimitroulia, Titika (2019) Μετάφραση και μνήμη: Η μετάφραση ως μνήμη και η μνήμη στη μετάφραση [Translation and Memory: Translation as memory and memory in translation], Athens: Govostis.

Gentzler, Edwin (2017) Translation and Rewriting in the Age of Post-Translation Studies, London & New York: Routledge.

Thomas, Paul L. (2011) ‘Adventures in Genre!: Rethinking genre through comics/graphic novels’, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 2(2): 187-201.


Panel convenor

Dimitris Asimakoulas is Deputy Director of the Centre for Translation Studies and Programme Leader of the MRes in Translation and Interpreting Studies at the University of Surrey. His research focuses on the sociology of translation, censorship and cultural gate-keeping, with a special emphasis on minoritarian identities in literature and film. He has published articles on related topics in Meta, The Translator, Target, TTR and the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. He is co-editor (with Margaret Rogers) of a volume on sociological aspects of translation (Multilingual Matters 2011) and his most recent publication is a monograph entitled Rewriting Humour in Comic Books: Cultural transfer and translation of Aristophanic adaptations (Palgrave McMillan 2019).


Submission of Paper Proposals

Submissions should be sent to the panel convenor (Dimitris Asimakoulas, by 30 September 2019.

Submissions should consist of:

(1) Abstract (300-400 words, including up to 5 bibliographic references).

(2) Contributor’s 150-word (maximum) biodata written in the third person. See examples from a previous event here:

(3) Full affiliation(s)

Notification of acceptance will be sent by 30 October 2019.