Bart Beaty studies comic books and graphic novels, as well as visual culture and visual narratives. Beaty considers these areas to be understudied because there has been a history of skepticism surrounding comic book and graphic novels from the traditional literary and art communities.
Younger scholars and students, however, live in an increasingly visual world and comics have changed in the last quarter of a century to become an important part of contemporary culture. For the last two years, Beaty’s classes have been the largest in the English department, attracting 150 students each year. The classes fill within two to three days after registration opens.
During the past 14 years, Beaty has had 13 books published on comics and graphic novels. In the next 18 months, four new books will be published. The French Comics Theory Reader, a collection of essays translated from French by Beaty and Ann Miller will come out from Leuven University Press in summer 2014. In March 2015, Twelve-Cent Archie about the children’s comics of the 1960s comics will be released by Rutgers University Press. Examining post-war American culture in one chapters, it will have essays on Betty’s ponytail, Jughead’s hat, race and romance in the suburbs, and the image of American cars.
In a development indicating that comic books are now a mainstream area of English scholarship, the prestigious Cambridge University Press will publish Beaty’s Cambridge Companion to Comics in the summer 2015 and his Cambridge History of Comics in fall 2015.
2011-2014 – SSHRC – Comics off the Page
2007-2011 – SSHRC – Comics and Cinema
2013 – Gertrude J. Robinson Book Prize for Comics Versus Art
2006 – Gertrude J. Robinson Book Prize for Fredric Wertham and the Critique of Mass Culture