Photo of Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

Degrees:B.A. Honours, M.A.(Manitoba), Ph.D. (Dalhousie)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2331
Office:1917 Dunton Tower

Research and Teaching Interests:

My research and teaching interests range across several subfields: Comics Studies, Canadian literature, psychoanalysis, and genre. Much of my current work focuses on the convergence of serial melodramatic forms with psychoanalysis and queer theory. I am interested in the affective economies of superhero comics and soap operas, particularly with respect to their reception by queer readers and audiences. More broadly, my research concerns the formal and semantic relations between superhero comics, literary fiction, melodrama, and other media. Animating much of my research is my abiding interest in paraliterary genres: the weird tale, horror fiction, the ghost story, detective fiction, adventure fiction, romance, fantasy, and science-fiction. For example, my research in Canadian Literature has tended to focus on intersections between nation and genre, particularly the ghost story, the Gothic, the adventure tale, and the detective novel. Currently I am a co-investigator on the SSHRC-funded project directed by Benjamin Woo (Carleton), “Comic-Cons: An Emerging Urban Media Industry.”

Recent and Forthcoming Courses

ENGL 1000 Literature, Psychology, and the Mind

ENGL 2802 Canadian Literatures

ENGL 3011 Comics and Graphic Novels

ENGL 4115/5900 Superhero Fiction

ENGL 4115/5900 Melodrama and Seriality: Soap Operas, Superheroes, and Literature

ENGL 4115/5900 Reading Comic-Con

Recent Publications:

“‘The Strangeness of My Heritage:’ Lovecraft’s Poe and the Anxiety of Influence.” The Lovecraftian Poe: Essays on Influence, Reception, Interpretation, and Transformation. Ed. Sean Moreland. Bethlehem: Lehigh University Press, 2017. 1-25.

“Prehistories of Posthumanism: Cosmic Indifferentism, Ecology, and Alien Genesis from H.P. Lovecraft to Ridley Scott.” The Age of Lovecraft: Cosmic Horror, Posthumanism, and Popular Culture. Eds. Jeffrey Weinstock and Carl H. Sederholm. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. 97-116.

“The Infinite Grail-Quest of Samuel R. Delany’s Nova: Romance, Science Fiction, and the (Post-) Modern Tarot.” Tarot in Culture. Ed. Emily E. Auger. Valleyhome Books, 2014.

“Canadian Psycho: Genre, Nation, and Colonial Violence in Michael Slade’s Psycho-Thrillers.” Crime Fiction Canada: Essays on Canadian Crime Fiction, Television, and Film. Eds. Jeannette Sloniowski and Marilyn Rose. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier UP, 2014. 55-82.

“Beyond the Lure: Teaching Horror, Teaching Theory.” Fear and Learning: Essays on the Pedagogy of Horror. Eds. Aalya Ahmad and Sean Moreland. Jefferson, NC: McFarland: 2013. 95-123.

(with Jennifer Henderson) “Maddin, Melodrama, and the Pre-National.”   Double Takes: Intersections Between Canadian Literature and Film. Ottawa: U of Ottawa P. 2013. 77-93.

“Libidinal Ecologies: Eroticism and Environmentalism in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing.” Sexual Ideology in the Works of Alan Moore: Critical Essays on the Graphic Novels. Eds. Todd A. Comer and Joseph M. Sommers. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. 2011. 16-27.

“Son of a Smaller (Super)Hero: Ethnicity, Comic Books, and Secret Identity in Richler’s Novels of Apprenticeship.” Canadian Literature 207 (2010): 26-40.

“How To Build a Haunted Nation: The ‘Cheerful Ghosts’ of Robertson Davies’ High Spirits.” University of Toronto Quarterly. 78.4 (2009): 1012-28.

“Viking Graves Revisited: Pre-Colonial Primitivism in Farley Mowat’s Northern Gothic.” Unsettled Remains: Canadian Literature and the Postcolonial Gothic. Eds. Cynthia Sugars and Gerry Turcotte. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier Press. 2009. 23-50. Reprint.

“Simulacra and Stimulations: Cocksure, Postmodernism, and Richler’s Phallic Hero.” Canadian Literature 198 (2008): 12-27.

Recent Presentations

Dazzler, Melodrama, and Shame.” Canadian Society for the Study of Comics/La Sociéte canadienne pour l’étude de la bande dessinée Conference. Toronto Comic Arts Festival. May 11, 2017.

“Superheroes and Literature.” CU in the City. FASS, Carleton University. Daily Grind Art Café, Ottawa. April 28, 2015.

PhD Theses Supervised

(with Franny Nudelman) Robert Hutton, “Comics and Literature: A Love Story” (2017).

(with Brian Greenspan) Matthew Carroll, “Becoming a ‘Nation that is Not a Nation’: National Image, Lost World Narratives, and American Antarctic Literature” (2017).