Maite Urcaregui – President
Maite Urcaregui (she/her/hers) is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research investigates how multiethnic US authors employ visual poetics to navigate and critique the visual politics of race, particularly as they demarcate national belonging and who is seen as “citizen.” She has published in Prose Studies and has chapters featured in The Routledge Companion to Gender & Sexuality in Comic Book Studies and Gender and the Superhero Narrative. Her public scholarship has appeared in The Black Scholar, The Middle Spaces, and the Eisner Award-winning Women Write About Comics.
Marissa A. Zerangue – Vice President
Marissa A. Zerangue (she/her/hers) is a Ph.D. candidate in Literary Studies at the University of North Texas whose scholarly interests meet at the intersections of gender, race, and crime in American literature. Marissa received her M.A. from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2019 and her thesis explored domestic noir in contemporary fiction, focusing specifically on the work of Gillian Flynn. She is currently writing a book chapter titled “From the Wrong Side of the Tracks”: Ethan Brown’s Murder On The Bayou and the Invisibilization of the Jeff Davis 8” for the edited collection Voicing the Less Dead to be published by Rowman & Littlefield at Lexington Books. Marissa’s dissertation will examine true crime and crime noir across various media, including fiction, film, graphic narrative, podcasts, and other emerging genres. Last year, Marissa presented her paper titled, “Prosthetic Ears, Eating Dog, and Deadly Bird Flu: Examining Race in John Layman’s Chew” at the Comics Studies Society Conference and this year she will present her paper titled “Paint It Black: Claustrophobic Borders in Rick Geary’s The Saga of the Bloody Benders and The Borden Tragedy.” These works speak to Marissa’s interest in consuming crime in comic form through the graphic narrative.
Frida Heitland – Secretary-Treasurer
Frida (she/they) is a PhD student at the University of Oregon, pursuing research in comics studies and ecocriticism. Their interest in comics germinated quite innocently while reading Donald Duck and Asterix as a child. It took a more theoretical turn during their undergraduate work on David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp and questions of (the presentation of) multimodal narrative identity construction. The arising theme of memory lead them to autobiographical works during their master’s and down the (somewhat darker?) rabbit hole of human experience, trauma, and its expression in works by Alison Bechdel, David B., and Katie Green.
During the PhD, their aim is to build on this research and consider how/if comics can express non-human subjectivity, and to investigate corporeal/spiritual hybridity in comics, paying special attention to speculative and/or science fiction comics.
To distract them from the baking distracting them from lockdown, Frida has translated the open access publication How to Study Comics and Graphic Novels (Enrique del Rey Cabero, Michael Goodrum and Josean Morlesín Mellado) into German. The German version will hopefully be available by spring 2023. Frida’s always eager to hear from fellow scholars or private enthusiasts and you can reach them on ResearchGate.
Katlin Marisol Sweeney-Romero – Social Media/Web Head
Dr. Katlin Marisol Sweeney-Romero (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of World Cinema and Digital Media Studies in the Department of Cinema and Digital Media Studies at the University of California, Davis. She received her PhD in English with a specialization in Film Studies from The Ohio State University in 2023. Her dissertation, Social Mediated Latinas: Creating and Contouring Digital Latina Looks in the Twenty-First Century, examines how Latinas utilize their social media presence to act as both cultural producers of original content and participants in intracultural discourse related to ethnoracial identity.
Katlin has published chapters in the edited collections TikTok Cultures in the United States (Routledge, 2022), Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century (U of Arizona P, 2022), Cultural Studies in the Digital Age (SDSU Press, 2021), and The Routledge Companion to Gender and Sexuality in Comic Book Studies (Routledge, 2020). She has forthcoming chapters in The Meanings of Dress, fifth edition (Fairchild Books) and Undisciplining Latinx Comics & Visual Cultures: Theoretical, Pedagogical, and Aesthetic Approaches (Rutgers UP). In 2020, she also co-edited a special issue of Prose Studies (vol. 41, no. 2) on Latinx nonfiction with Frederick Luis Aldama.
In addition to her research, Katlin has been actively involved in programming focused on comics and popular culture, especially for BIPOC high school and college students. From 2019-2021, she served as both the Central Coordinator for SOL-CON: The Brown, Black, and Indigenous Comics Expo as an Executive Team Leader with the Latinx Space for Enrichment and Research (LASER). She presently serves as the Co-Coordinator of Programming and Marketing Support for The Latinx Comic Arts Festival (LCAF) and is an Advisory Board member with LCAF at Modesto Junior College. She has served as a Member-at-Large and the Social Media/Web Head for the Graduate Student Caucus of the Comics Studies Society.
Sam Ceballos – Member at Large
Samantha Ceballos is an English Literature Doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include Latinx Popular Culture with an emphasis in Latinx Comics. As the graduate assistant at The Latinx Pop Lab, she helps plan BIPOC Pop, a space that brings together creatives, students, industry folk, and academics in community. When she is not reading or writing about comics, she is reading or writing poetry.
Nicole Huff – Member at Large
Nicole Huff is a PhD candidate in the English department at Michigan State University. She received her bachelor’s from Kalamazoo College and her master’s from DePaul University. She is the co-lead for Michigan State University’s Graphic Possibilities Research Workshop and co-host of the Graphic Possibilities Podcast. This research workshop and podcast look at comics through two intersecting lenses— critical inquiry and comics pedagogy. Nicole also works as a Graduate Assistant for the Humanities Commons. Her current research centers on Afrofuturism, gender and sexuality, pop culture with a focus on Black women in horror and fantasy, and Digital Humanities methods.
Austin Kemp – Web Editor
Austin (they/them) graduated with their MA in English from Brandeis University where comics quickly became the focal point of all study. They began their foray into comics studies with a semiotic deconstruction of American superheroes during WWII. They later punctuated their degree with a graduate paper contextualizing and analyzing Dennis O’Neil and Neil Adams’ Green Lantern/Green Arrow: Hard-Traveling Heroes through a historical lens in order to highlight shifts in dominant American ideologies in the 1970s.
Austin will begin their PhD in English at Northeastern University in the Fall of 2023. Their research focuses on the transmedial superhero through the intersecting lenses of Queer Studies, Critical Theory, and Disability Studies, all within a Graphic Medicine framework.
When not working, Austin passes the time feeling guilty for not working.