University of Calgary

Bart Beaty

  • Professor

Office Hours


Research Interests


In 2015, I was awarded $281,000 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to pursue a big data project on the evolution of stylistics in the American comic book industry. "What Were Comics?", with co-investigators Nick Sousanis (San Francisco State University) and Benjamin Woo (Carleton University) will build a data set of a randomly selected two per cent of the comic books published in the United States between 1934 and 2014, coding them for various formal elements in order to produce a wholly novel means of reading the history of the American comic book through its "typical" products rather than through its "exceptional" ones.

That same year, I was awarded an additional grant from SSHRC to study of the cultural contexts of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. This work is currently in progress with Frederik Kohlert (University of East Anglia).

My most recent monograph, with Ben Woo, is The Greatest Comic Book of All Time: Symbolic Capital and the Field of American Comic Books (Palgrave, 2016). It examines the construction of notions of quality and legitimacy in the comics field. With Charles Hatfield I am co-editing the Rutgers Guide to Comics for Rutgers University Press.

I am the author of seven monographs: Fredric Wertham and the Critique of Mass Culture (2005), Canadian Television Today (with Rebecca Sullivan, 2006), Unpopular Culture: Transforming the European Comic Book in the 1990s (2007), David Cronenberg's A History of Violence (2008), Comics Versus Art (2012), and Twelve-Cent Archie (2015; second edition 2017), and Greatest Comic Book of All Time. Additionally, I am the editor of the seven volumves of the Critical Survey of Graphic Novels (2012), and co-editor of How Canadians Communicate: Contexts of Canadian Popular Culture (2010) and The French Comics Theory Reader (2014). As transalator, I have published three volumes: Thierry Groensteen's The System of Comics (2007), Jean-Paul Gabilliet's Of Comics and Men (2010), and Thierry Smolderen's The Origins of Comics (2014).





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