I began my career teaching in comprehensive schools in London and then worked in teacher education before moving to a post in the School of Modern Languages at Leicester where I collaborated with a team of imaginative and dedicated colleagues to find innovatory ways of teaching French language. I also taught cultural studies textual analysis French cinema and bande dessinée or French-language comics. I am now retired from full-time teaching and my academic work consists mostly of co-editing the journal European Comic Art of which I was a founding editor along with some translating and writing.
My research interests lie in the emerging field of comics studies which has grown exponentially during the twenty-first century. With other scholars I have been concerned to establish theoretical foundations for a discipline that had its origins in fandom and began by borrowing frameworks from literature film studies art history and mass cultural studies. As it has developed its own theoretical apparatus it has offered insights to these same disciplines and has also been central in debates around adaptation and transmediality. Some of my work has been metacritical but I have also focussed particularly on (mostly) French-language feminist and political comics published by small presses. I have been concerned to promote dialogue among different critical traditions and have published translations of many key theoretical texts that had hitherto been available only in French. As joint editor of European Comic Art the first English-language peer-reviewed comics journal I have aimed to encourage scholars of many different nationalities and backgrounds for whom English is not a first language to publish their work.
'The nude and the naked: from fine art to comics’ in Spaces Between: Gender Diversity and Identity in Comics ed. Nina Eckhoff-Heindl and Véronique Sina (New York: Springer 2020) 63-78.
‘Two comics adaptations of Zazie dans le metro: from figuration to tradaptation’ Modern and Contemporary France 27.4 (2019) 441-455.
‘Lewis Trondheim artist of the supermodern city and interstitial traveller through the non-lieux’ Image&Narrative November 2018.
‘Joe Sacco graphic novelist as political journalist’ in The Cambridge History of the Graphic Novel ed. Jan Baetens Hugo Frey and Stephen Tabachnick (Cambridge Universty Press 2018) 389-404.
‘Consensus and dissensus in bande dessinée’ Yale French Studies 131/132 (2017) special issue on Bande dessinée: Thinking Outside the Boxes ed. Laurence Grove and Michael Syrotinski 109-137.
‘Mourning and Loss in the work of Pauline Martin and Dominique Goblet’ Contemporary French Civilization 40.3 (Winter 2015) 373-402.
With Bart Beaty The Anthology of French-Language Comics Theory and Criticism (Leuven University Press 2014) 333 pp.
‘Memory and Postmemory in Morvandiau’s D’Algérie’ in Postcolonial Comics: Texts Events Identities ed. Binita Mehta and Pia Mukherji (London and New York: Routledge 2014). ‘Persepolis: Eluding the Frame’ L’Esprit Créateur 51.1 (Spring 2011) 38-52.
‘The astonishing return of Blake and Mortimer: Francophone fantasies of Britain as imperial power and retrospective rewritings’ in Unsettling the Past ed. Liedeke Plate and Anneke Smelik (Basingstoke: Palgrave 2009) 74-85.
Reading bande dessinée: critical approaches to French-language comic strip (Bristol: Intellect 2007) 272 pp.
I am now retired and no longer supervise PhD students.
I am now retired from teaching.
Press and media
French-language comics including small-press independent comics. Comics studies as a field.
BA (first class) University of Leeds.
MA (Applied Linguistics) University of London.
PhD University of Newcastle.