ICAA Helps Launch Groundbreaking Comic Research Study

Official Press Release

With the assistance of The International Comic Arts Association (ICAA), comic book writerand scholar A. David Lewis has launched a new research study focused on superheroes and mortality.Entitled The Ever-Ending Battle, this unique project will explore "the relationship between mortalityand the superhero comic book genre," as is stated in the mission statement on the website establishedfor the project - www.EverEndingBattle.com.

This potentially groundbreaking study aims to combine a hybrid of literary criticism and thanatology --the field of psychology that deals with a culture's perception and reaction to death and dying. In all,the goal of the project is four-fold: 1) to discern whether any particular, qualitative conventions exist in thetreatment of death in superhero comic books that are unique to the genre; 2) to explore both how thoseconventions may have arisen and how they are perpetuated; 3) seperately, to analyse how those conventionsmay continue to affect characterization and storytelling; and 4) to study what impact these conventions haveon their audience, and vice versa.

Industry trade organization, The International Comic Arts Association (ICAA) is supporting theproject by hosting the initial online questionaire to collect data from comic book fans and professionals.The questionaire can now be found online at www.comicarts.org/study_eeb.php or if preferred a print-ready.pdf file of the questionaire may be downloaded to send by mail. Additionally, the organization assistedwith the design and creation of the project's logo and printed materials and will continue to assist in datacollection and the promotion of the study. Lewis will be making a presentation about the project and discussthe initial results of the data collection at this year's Popular/American CultureAssociation conference being held this March in San Diego.

ICAA Executive Director, Erik Enervold, had this to say about the project. "We are very pleased to beinvolved with the Ever-Ending Battle project, which could very well prove to be a groundbreaking study.This ambitious project should provide an interesting look into the role that death and mortality play insome of our favorite comic book stories and the impact that this has on comic readers. I would like to encourageall ICAA members - and comic book pros and fans in general- to participate in the study by completing theonline questionnaire. A. David Lewis should be commended on taking this bold step to move comic bookscholarship into new, uncharted territories."

Project leader and writer A. David Lewis holds a B.A. in English and Psychology from Brandeis Universityand an M.A. in English Literature from Georgetown University. As a lecturer and teacher of comic bookclasses at Georgetown University, Lewis now works both as an Academic Administrator on the Georgetowncampus and as a member of The International Journal of Comic Art's Editorial Board. He has participatedas a presenter for scholarly organizations such as the Popular Culture Association, the International ComicArts Festival, and the Comic Arts Conference. Additionally, Lewis acts as editor for a number of independentcomic book titles, self-publishes his own critically-acclaimed comic book title - Mortal Coils and is acontributor for a number of print and online comic news magazines.

"No other storytelling genre besides Passion plays and, to a lesser degree, vampire tales - deal with deathand resurrection as such prominent narrative conventions," says Lewis. As a comic book creator and fan himself,Lewis notes that "now is an incredibly fertile time to study these phenomena. Whereas this could just as easilyhave been done in 1992 with 'The Death of Superman' storyline or, in 1986, with DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths andThe Dark Knight Returns -- the current deluge of character deaths and returns really begs to be examined -- Hawkeye,Colossus, Sue Dibney, Jack Drake, Asgard, Retro Girl, Magneto, Phoenix, Prowler -- all within the last year."

For more information or to subscribe to the projects mailing list or live feed visit: www.EverEndingBattle.com.To participate in the study, please visit the online questionaire page at the ICAA's website: www.comicarts.org/study–eeb.php.All participants in the survey remain anonymous.

About the ICAA:

The International Comic Arts Association (ICAA) is the comic book industry's premiere trade organization and promotional board uniting all aspects of the industry. This member-driven, non-profit organization is dedicated to strengthening and enhancing the comic book industry, increasing the consumer market and improving the public perception of the medium while also serving to provide a wide range of valuable services and benefits to its members. More information about the ICAA and its programs, projects and benefits can be found on their website at: www.comicarts.org.

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