My Essays

In June 2021, Louisiana State University Press published The Other 1980s: Reframing Comics’ Crucial Decade, which I co-edited with my friend Brannon Costello. You can read more about the collection here at the LSU Press website. This is the fabulous cover by the amazing Keiler Roberts, with a design by Michelle Neustrom:

CostelloCremins1980s_sketch copy JPEG

The University Press of Mississippi published my first book, Captain Marvel and the Art of Nostalgia, in December 2016. Keiler also did the beautiful cover for this one:


Meanwhile, below is a list of some of my essays, online and in print. If you’d like a copy of one of the print publications here but are unable to access it, please contact me at brianwcremins AT gmail DOT com and I will be happy to send you one.

Forthcoming Print Publications: 

“‘This business of white and black’: Captain Marvel’s Steamboat, the Youthbuilders, and Fawcett’s Roy Campanella, Baseball Hero” in Qiana Whitted (ed.), Desegregating Comics: Debating Blackness in Early American Comics, 1900–1960. Forthcoming.

In print: 

“‘Entertainment Should Be an Adventure’: Reggie Byers, Shuriken, and the Black-and-White Boom” in The Other 1980s: Reframing Comics’ Crucial Decade, eds. Brannon Costello and Brian Cremins. LSU Press, 2021: 105–119.

“‘Reoccurring Dreams’: Music and the Elegiac Voice in John Porcellino’s Perfect Example.” International Journal of Comic Art 22.2 (Fall/Winter 2020): 341–350.

“‘How quickly we forget’: Immigration and Family Narrative in James Sturm’s The Golem’s Mighty Swing and Unstable Molecules” in Immigrants and Comics: Graphic Spaces of Remembrance, Transaction, and Mimesis edited by Nhora Lucía Serrano. Routledge, 2021: 39–53.

“Quotations from the Future: Harvey Kurtzman’s ‘Superduperman,’ Nostalgia, and Alan Moore’s Miracleman” in Seeing Mad: Essays on Mad Magazine’s Humor and Legacy from Cover to Fold-In, Eds. Judith Lee and John Bird. University of Missouri Press, 2020: 465–90. This is a revised version of the essay that first appeared in Studies in American Humor in 2014.

“Walt Kelly’s Bridgeport.”  Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society 2.1 (Spring 2018): 1–17.

“Curious His Entire Life: Remembering Tom Roberts,” with Charles Hatfield, Stephen R. Bissette, and Gene Kannenberg, Jr., The International Journal of Comic Art, Fall 2018.

“‘An Imaginary Story’: Comic Books and Graphic Novels in the 1980s,” in D. Quentin Miller (Ed.), American Literature in Transition: 1980-1990. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

“‘A Space of Concentration’: The Autobiographical Comics of Richard ‘Grass’ Green and Samuel R. Delany” in  African American Autobiography: Twenty-First Century Contexts and Criticism. Ed. Eric D. Lamore. Madison: U. of Wisconsin Press, 2017: 145-173.

“Funny Animals” in The Routledge Companion to ComicsEds. Frank Bramlett, Roy Cook, and Aaron Meskin. Routledge, 2016: 146-153.

“Fighting Distance, Fighting Time.” Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby. Eds. Charles Hatfield and Ben Saunders. San Diego, CA: IDW Publishing, 2015. 141.

“Quotations from the Future: Harvey Kurtzman’s ‘Superduperman,’ Nostalgia, and Alan Moore’s Miracleman.” Studies in American Humor. New Series 3, No. 30 (2014).

“Bodies, Transfigurations, and Bloodlust in Edie Fake’s Graphic Novel Gaylord Phoenix.” Journal of Medical HumanitiesVolume 34, Issue 2 (2013). 301-313.

“‘What Manner of Man Is He?’: Humor and Masculine Identity in Captain Marvel’s World War II Adventures.” Studies in American Humor.  New Series 3, No. 27 (2013). 33-62.

“Bumbazine, Blackness, and the Myth of the Redemptive South in Walt Kelly’s Pogo.”  Comics and the U. S. South.  Eds. Brannon Costello and Qiana J. Whitted.  Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2012: 29–61.

“Depersonalization, Mysticism, and Mourning in John Porcellino’s Perfect Example and Carrie McNinch’s You Don’t Get There from Here.”  International Journal of Comic Art 13.1 (Spring 2011): 249-274.   

“‘I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)’: Tim Truman’s Scout and Social Satire in the Independent Comics of the 1980s.”  International Journal of Comic Art 5.2 (Fall 2003): 339–350.

“Oscar Micheaux, Charles Chesnutt, and the ‘Historical Novel.'” Journal of American and Comparative Cultures 25.1–2 (Spring/Summer 2002): 155–160.

“‘Why have you allowed me to see you without your mask?’: Captain America #133 and the Great American (Protest) Novel.” International Journal of Comic Art 4.1 (Spring 2002): 239–47.

Essays for Alter Ego/Fawcett Collectors of America and The Jack Kirby Collector 

“‘You’ve got to be yourself’: Why You Should Read Fawcett’s Jackie Robinson.” Alter Ego/Fawcett Collectors of America #168/#227 (March 2021).

“Mr. Tawny’s Shadow: The Day Otto Binder Met Walter B. Gibson.” Alter Ego #164 (May 2020).

I contributed to a memorial roundtable on Stan Lee for Alter Ego and the Fawcett Collectors of America in issue #161 (November 2019).

“One Life, Furnished in Early Ditko: An Imaginary Story Featuring Charlton Comics, Ibis the Invincible, Doctor Strange, and the Great Connecticut Flood of 1955.” Alter Ego #160 (September 2019).

“’A Fabric of Illusion’: C. C. Beck’s Critical Circle and His Theory of Comic Art,” Alter Ego #149 (November 2017).

“Steamboat and Sabra Holbrook’s Youthbuilders: Captain Marvel & African American Stereotypes During World War II,” Alter Ego #144 (January 2017).

‘NAY, NEVER WILL I SERVE THEE, MR. MIND!’ Or, ‘I Think I Was Always a Fawcett Kid’: An Interview with Harlan Ellison,” Alter Ego #138 (March 2016).

My essay on “Captain Marvel and His Feud with Mr. Tawny” from Captain Marvel Adventures No. 113 (October 1950) appears in Alter Ego #136 (November 2015) as part of a Fawcett Collectors of America 75th anniversary tribute to the hero.

“‘A Leader of Men’: Bill Parker on King Arthur & the Origin of Captain Marvel (Excerpts from Parker’s 1948 Testimony).” Alter Ego #131 (March 2015).

“‘Fairy Tales and Impossible Stories’: C. C. Beck, Santa Claus, and ‘The Year Without a Christmas!'”Alter Ego #130 (January 2015).

“‘The World’s Mightiest Mortal Gets Analyzed!’ Captain Marvel Adventures No. 56 and John Huston’s Let There Be Light.Alter Ego #127 (August 2014).

“The Secret Life of Mr. Tawny: Captain Marvel Adventures No. 102 and James Thurber’s Walter Mitty.” Alter Ego #125 (June 2014).

“Otto Binder’s Magic Words: The Writer’s Plan to Save Captain Marvel Adventures.” Alter Ego #123 (March 2014).

“‘Join the Parade to Victory!’: Captain Marvel and the Army War Show, 1942.” Alter Ego #121 (November 2013).

“Jack Kirby’s Midnight Masterpiece.”  The Jack Kirby Collector #44 (Fall 2005): 24-26.


“Pekar’s Ghost” in Harvey & Me by Anne Elizabeth Moore and Melissa Mendes (Pressing Concern Books, April 2016). Read more about the series here!

Foreword to Marnie Galloway’s In the Sounds and Seas (One Peace Books, 2016). Order a copy here! Or, better yet, get a copy from your local bookstore or comic book shop.


“A Review of Edie Fake’s Gaylord Phoenix in the Form of a Birthday Greeting for Jack Kirby.” Closure: Kieler e-Journal für Comicforschung no. 4, November 2017,

Review of Art Spiegelman’s WORDLESS! performance at the University of Chicago, International Journal of Comic Art 16.2 (Fall/Winter 2014). This is a print version of the review that appeared here on the blog in early 2014. I just changed a few words here and there.

Thierry Groensteen’s Comics and Narration (Trans. Ann Miller) in Studies in American Humor. New Series 3, No. 30 (2014).

“The Carnivalesque Humor of Walt Kelly’s Pogo.”  Review of Kerry D. Soper’s We Go Pogo: Walt Kelly, Politics, and American SatireStudies in American Humor, New Series 3, No. 27 (2013). 225-233.

Online Essays/Posts

From The Middle Spaces

“Do Comics and Music Make Community Possible?” (short essay on Isabella Rotman’s Long Black Veil), April 11, 2019

From The Los Angeles Review of Books

“Trust Your Demon”: On Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October 

“How to Read The Curse of the Werewolf

From Bright Wall/Dark Room

Brass City: Notes on Jane Fonda’s Stanley & Iris (Bright Wall/Dark Room Issue #13, June 2014)

From Pencil, Panel, Page

“Like Comics Without Panels”

Is Otto Binder and Joe Orlando’s “I, Robot” a Protest Novel?

Is Bill Mauldin’s Back Home a Graphic Novel?

“Midnight Movies,” Jack Smith, and the Amazing Spider-Man

Essays for Roctober

“Paul, Gene, and Ace as Drawn by Gilbert, Paul, and Jaime (Columbus, Ohio, November 16, 2013).” Roctober #52 (Fall 2020).

“‘Cold Earth Warriors’: The Return of Athanor, Chicago’s Psychedelic Warlords.” Roctober #51 (Fall 2013).

“Daniel Lanois: Acadie (1989).”  Roctober #49 (Spring 2011).

“How Satan’s Kid Turned Me on to Voivod.”  Roctober #43 (Fall 2006): 42-44.

“The Night Dee Dee Ramone Nearly Died.” Roctober #39 (Winter 2004): 58-59.

Other online essays:

Walt Kelly and Me

Gil Kane, Memory Drawing, and Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait

reel gone: Matt Levin’s Walking Man Comics and Kelly Copper’s America

“The Infernal Ride”: Notes on Oscar Micheaux’s The Symbol of the Unconquered and Tarantino’s Django Unchained

Nostalgia and Strange Tales #180


With Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter, December 20, 2013

With Osvaldo Oyola of The Middle Spaces, June 6, 2017

With Brannon Costello and Osvaldo Oyola for The Middle Spaces, June 15, 2021

With Brannon Costello and Ian Thomas for The Comics Journal, August 9, 2021 

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