UCL Centre for Digital Humanities


London Seminar #4: Web Comics

13 January 2011, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm


Event Information

Open to



Room G32, Senate House

We are proud to announce that Ernesto Priego, one of our UCLDH PhD students who has just submitted his thesis will be giving a seminar on Comic Book Markup Language: Challenges and Opportunities on Thursday 13 January in room G32 of Senate House at 5.30. Ernesto is passionate about comics, their phenomenology, and their new existence on the web and mobile platforms and this promises to be a very enjoyable talk as a result. Do join us if you can. (Abstract and Bio are below)

This paper is part of the London Seminar in Digital Text and Scholarship which is held monthly during term time at the Institute of English Studies (University of London), Senate House.

The following abstract and bio are taken from their webpage which lists full details of the programme:

" Abstract. This seminar will introduce and discuss CBML, a TEI-based XML vocabulary for encoding comics, comic books and graphic novels that has been developed by John Walsh and Michelle Dalmau (Indiana University, 2002-2010). CBML provides standard extensions to the encoding metalanguage developed by the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). It uses TEI to build an XML vocabulary for encoding metadata and content present in some comic books, particularly American serialised single-issue comic books. CBML offers a system for encoding important aspects of comics, such as panels, speech and thought balloons, narrative captions, sound effects, advertisements, credits, letter columns, etc. In this seminar I will argue that comics as a communicative language has historically expressed itself through a kind of unique materiality - complex and intertwined processes involved in the creation of comics and their place-specific interaction with the reader - that has often varied from culture to culture. The seminar will explore how this materiality differs from that of other media and how it produces and is simultaneously the consequence of particular 'textual topologies'. Hence, I argue, comics are partially untranslatable to digital and other media. The materiality of comics helps us to interrogate the idea that such translation can be done without significant loss or without making the work into something else. I will argue that XML alone is insufficient, that comic book digitization and text encoding need to take into account the non-digitisable aspects of comic book publications, in other words, spatio-temporal textual dimensions that cannot be fully represented on a computer screen or interface.
" Bio. Ernesto Priego wrote his PhD thesis about the materiality of comic books electronic comics publishing and digital media (UCL, 2010). His master's thesis dealt with traumatic structure in graphic narrative in Art Spiegelman's Maus (UEA Norwich, 2003); his BA thesis explored how narratological tools could be used in the analysis of Watchmen (UNAM, 2001). He has been doing comics scholarship for at least 15 years. He writes about graphic narrative for the Nieman Storyboard of Harvard University and other publications. Ernesto is a HASTAC Scholar for 2010-2011.