Modern Times: A Quick Note on Editorial and Peer Review Work in Accelerated Publish-or-Perish Academic Cultures

Les temps modernes, by Pierre Metivier.  CC BY-NC
Les temps modernes, by Pierre Metivier. CC BY-NC

As the Editor-in-Chief of The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship I receive via email the author queries sent via the journal’s contact form. The most frequent query is about the time it takes to get a decision and get published. It is quite telling about current academic publishing cultures that the how-soon-can-I-expect-to-get-published query outnumbers by far any queries seeking clarifications on the journal’s scope, peer review processes or journal guidelines.

Given that only today I received three different queries on the same subject, I’ve decided to document here a summary of my own personal editorial position on article processing times, and therefore on what I believe should ideally motivate authors to submit to the journal.

At The ComicsGrid, the estimated processing times information is publicly available in the relevant section in the journal at Hopefully that section provides enough information.

It’s worth saying again that processing times depend on a variety of factors (quality of the submission, adherence to guidelines, availability of peer reviewers, availability of editors, availability of authors to do revisions, copyediting, proofing; workload of typesetters and manuscript layout complexity, etc). These factors play out on an ad hoc basis and cannot be easily predicted nor guaranteed.

In my own editorial experience, the submissions to The Comics Grid that are more likely to get accepted relatively more quickly tend to be those that are submitted to the journal motivated by an interest in contributing relevant content to the journal, rather than those that are submitted under pressure or somehow motivated by an expectation of faster processing times.

As a researcher myself I totally understand and empathise with the pressures imposed by a publish-or-perish academic culture. Also as a researcher, I do fully understand the frustration that review and editorial decision waiting times can cause.

As both researchers and editors, the editorial team and pool of reviewers always-already aim for a professional, efficient, fair and relatively rapid peer review process, but this ‘rapidity’ is indeed relative and variable. However, we at The Comics Grid do seek to collaboratively develop a peer-reviewed journal where articles can be carefully, expertly and fairly considered. Apart from the required expertise, the main necessary resource to achieve that goal successfully is, I’m afraid, time.

We are very grateful to all authors who have considered The Comics Grid for a future submission.

This was January-August 2019 at The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship

Comics Grid logo

Here’s a listing of the articles we have published so far in 2019 in the journal (our 9th volume!) until the 30th of August 2019.


Lipenga, K.J., 2019. The New Normal: Enfreakment in Saga. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.2. DOI:

Davies, P.F., 2019. New Choices of the Comics Creator. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.3. DOI:

Grant, P., 2019. The Board and the Body: Material Constraints and Style in Graphic Narrative. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.4. DOI:

del Rey Cabero, E., 2019. Beyond Linearity: Holistic, Multidirectional, Multilinear and Translinear Reading in Comics. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.5. DOI:

McGovern, M. and Eve, M.P., 2019. Information Labour and Shame in Farmer and Chevli’s Abortion Eve. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.6. DOI:

Hornsby, I., 2019. …Comic Books, Möbius Strips, Philosophy and…. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.7. DOI:

Pickering, T., 2019. Diabetes Year One. Drawing my Pathography: Comics, Poetry and the Medical Self. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.8. DOI:

Hagan, R.J., 2019. Touch Me/Don’t Touch Me: Representations of Female Archetypes in Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.9. DOI:

Misemer, L., 2019. A Historical Approach to Webcomics: Digital Authorship in the Early 2000s. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.10. DOI:

Tan, X., 2019. Guoxue Comics: Visualising Philosophical Concepts and Cultural Values through Sequential Narratives. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.11. DOI:

Austin, H.J., 2019. “That Old Black Magic”: Noir and Music in Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido’s Blacksad. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.12. DOI:

Kottas, L. and Schwarzenbacher, M., 2019. The Comic at the Crossroads: The Semiotics of ‘Voodoo Storytelling’ in The Hole: Consumer Culture Vol. 1. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.13. DOI: 

Dodds, N., 2019. The Practice of Authentication: Adapting Pilgrimage from Nenthead into a Graphic Memoir. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.14. DOI:


Evans, J., 2019. Challenging Adaptation Studies: A Review of Comics and Adaptation. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.1. DOI:


Christmas, S., 2019. The Citi Exhibition Manga マンガ (British Museum, 2019). The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 9(1), p.15. DOI:

Creating Comics, Creative Comics

As you can see from the list above for us in the journal this year has had a strong focus on the Special Collection: Creating Comics, Creative Comics.

The collection expands on the themes of the symposium held in June 2018 at the University of South Wales, Cardiff.

Edited by Geraint D’Arcy (University of South Wales),  Brian Fagence (University of South Wales) and Yours Truly (City, University of London), this collection seeks to explore the dilemmas and potentials of construction and creation, ideology and authorship, philosophies and embodiment, histories and practices. It’s been both a pleasure and an honour to collaborate with Geraint and Brian and all the authors and reviewers.

Articles published in this collection are listed at .

More articles to come!

Please note that we are currently closed for submissions until 1st November 2019. Please keep an eye on Twitter and our journal web site for news. We are currently working in drafting our new Call for Papers with revised guidelines.

If you are interested in submitting work for review or you just want to find out more about the journal, or catch up with all our previous volumes, please do click on!

We always need academic reviewers. If you would like to become a peer reviewer, please register, including enough details of your areas of expertise, at


At the LSE Impact Blog: “Predatory journals and defective peer review are general academic problems, not just open access problems.”

Social Sciences blog banner

Thank you to the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog for publishing my rebuttal of that Science magazine article on predatory journals. You can read it here:

Looking for new peer reviewers for The Comics Grid

The Comics Grid logo

[I try to use this site as a means to keep track of the work I do so apologies for double-posting].

We want to extend the pool of peer reviewers for The Comics Grid.

There’s a short post explaining some of the recent changes to our platform on the journal’s blog, here, and I also posted the call on HASTAC.

If you want to skip the whole malarkey you can just go to the form here or –little known fact just for those who dare to look closely– even go directly to the journal’s registration here and register your details directly there!


CFP ¡Plop! Revista de Estudios Pop

¡Plop! Revista de Estudios Pop (banner)


am honoured to be a member of the “International Scientific Committee” of ¡Plop!, a new journal of pop culture studies published by the University of Barcelona  (UAB).

The first call for papers is available in Catalan, Spanish and English, here.