Published papers


“The Hard Work of Programming Germinates Soft Pleasures”: Creating Synthetic Comics with AI Collaboration”


A Discussion between Barbara Postema and Ilan Manouach.


Published in Critical Humanities (January 2024)
Quote Postema, Barbara, and Ilan Manouach. ““The Hard Work of Programming Germinates Soft Pleasures”: Creating Synthetic Comics with AI Collaboration.” Critical Humanities 2, 2 (2024). DOI:

“Outlining Conceptual Practices in Comics”


In the current paper, I examine how the shortcomings of institutional representation in comics, and the shifting role of existing institutions in the industry, can be a productive condition for the constitution of a comics practice, which I have named conceptual comics. Works of conceptual comics mobilize conceptual art’s historical legacy in its capacity for institutional critique, self-reflexivity, alternative forms of skilling and the prioritization of context over content, to a novel notion of comics making and comics reading. I use as a case study the conceptual comic book project Noirs, that I produced in 2015. It is a facsimile détournement of Les Schtroumpfs Noirs that comes as closely as one can get to the original edition: it has the same cover, the same number of pages and the same format, except of one single difference; the four different composite color plates of the original edition have been uniformly replaced by four plates of cyan, resulting in a monochromatic deviation of the work. The book Noirs demonstrates how a form, when is no longer operational in the conventional sense of the genre, invites the reader to shed light on its industrial fabrication conventionally intuited to be a transparent and mechanic process.


Published in European Comic Art Journal (October 2021)
Presented at the Materialities of Comics Symposium, Aarhus
University, (February 2019)

“Comic books as Ontographs: The composition process of Abrégé de Bande Dessinée Franco-Belge


In this paper I examine the composition process of my book Abrégé de bande dessinée franco-belge, published in 2018 under the book catalog of eight publishers in Europe and elsewhere. Abrégé was built following the precepts of ontography, a model of conceptual representation for objects theorized by video game designer and Object Oriented Ontology philosopher Ian Bogost. Abrégé presents a visual a personal typology of graphemes drawn from a shared reservoir of the Franco-Belgian bande dessinée tradition, where one can find a variety of comics proto-memes, metanarrative devices, paratextual elements and building blocks of the European BD. The discussed book appeared under the following titles: Abrégé de bande dessinée franco-belge (Belgium: La Cinquieme Couche, France: L’Endroit, Switzerland: Helice Helas), Compendium of Franco-Belgian Comics (Greece: Topovoros, Israel: Gnat, Italy: Fortepressa, Brazil: Antilope) and Visuelt kompendium over konventionelle genretræk i den fransk-belgiske tegneserielitteratur (Denmark: Forlaens).

in Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios de Diseño y
Comunicación, No 125, “La Historieta Desbordada y Estallada.
Un Lenguaje Mutante”, University of Palermo, Argentina (March 2021)
Presented at the Tradition and Innovation in Franco-Belgian Bande
Dessinée Symposium, University of Leicester, (March 2020)

“The Tactile Comics of Shapereader”


Shapereader was specifically designed for users with visual impairment in regards to the production and consumption of tactile comics. Its interface is built on an expanding repertoire of free floating tactile ideograms (tactigrams) intended to provide haptic translations for all the semantic features, the conceptual functions and attributes of a textual expression. Both theoretical and practice based, the different Shapereader works challenge able-body assumptions and exclusionary access within the visual predominance ethos of graphic literature and explore the conditions for synthesizing language through embodied notions of materiality and performativity. Shapereader situates touch in the general sensibility as a conduit for vibrant artistic exploration and demonstrates that comics can address a diverse readership. It is a speculative, trans-disciplinary project that promotes an embodied, non-retinal, narrative experience with an ongoing outreach plan that since 2015 in Helsinki, has been unfolding worldwide in a variety of formats, contexts and collaborations. In the present paper, the focus is brought on Shapereader’s early implementation and the first systematic attempt to address the sense of touch in the production of comics. Arctic Circle is a tactile novel, presented as a museum installation including several work-specific communication boards designed both for sighted and visually impaired visitors. I will walk through some of the strategies used to translate concepts and elementary semantic features into haptic formations and explore how meaning signification proceeds through clustering and the use of productive chains of signifiers that ultimately propel the text of Arctic Circle to a structural instability.

in Leonardo Journal, for the thematic issue “Transcreation”, (passed peer-review, to be published in Q4 2021)
Presented at the International Comics Art Forum (ICAF). St. Ambroise University, Davenport, Iowa, (April 2019)
Presented at the Normal Now. A Symposium on Art and Dis/ability in a Digital World. Stockholm University. (October 2020)

“Distributed Labor as a Compositional Practice”


The paper reflects on the future of comics in an interconnected globalized world where digital technologies both accelerate change in partly uncharted territories, and redefine the contemporary disenchantment with information flows. I use as a case study my project Peanuts minus Schulz and discuss the ethos of post-digital conceptual comics and how distributed digital labor is used as an opaque, material and possibly disruptive compositional practice. PmS is a doubling-over Charles Schulz’s work. It is a massive appropriation of the Peanuts comics strip series, commissioned through digital labor services and outsourced to more than a thousand artists in twenty countries. Through a long, ongoing process, PmS is an experiment with the digital ramifications of distributed labor as a compositional practice and the manifold ways Schulz’s work has been interpreted, notated, performed, improvised and rearranged ad libitum, towards different or conflicting goals from those intended by its author. I will use PmS as a way to comment the expansion of the possible ways to produce content and organize labor in comics and will define what I understand as a post-digital and conceptual practice in the publishing industry of comics.

in Comics Grid Open Scholarship Journal (September 2019)

“A Deep Learning Pipeline for the Synthesis of Graphic Novels”


In this paper, we present what is to the best of our knowledge, the first deep learning pipeline to produce a synthetic graphic novel. Our method can synthesize from scratch engaging sequences of graphic novel pages, focusing on the Manga genre. To achieve this, we extract images and text from around 670 thousand Manga pages, which we use separately in order to train state-of-the-art generative architectures, such as GPT-2 for text generation and StyleGAN2 for image synthesis. Using these as sources of synthetic content, we develop a set of algorithmic aesthetic rules in order to bring together complete and continuous Manga pages. Co-authored with Thomas Melistas, Yiannis Siglidis and Fivos Kalogiannis.

in International Conference on Computational Creativity (ICCC), passed peer-review to be published in (Q4 2021)
Presented at the AI Fictions Symposium, University of Paris
3-Sorbonne nouvelle, Paris. (June 2021)

Published articles


«Pourquoi payer des auteurs de BD alors que les BD peuvent se faire toutes seules?» in Focus/Le Vif (October 2023)


«Così le intelligenze artificiali stanno trasformando il fumetto» in Artribune (January 2024, trans. Francesco d’Isa)


«Nel futuro, in quali altri modi leggeremo?» in Osservatorio sul Futuro dell’Editoria,curated by NERO Editions and Carlo Antonelli (July 2023)


«Para quê contratar artistas de banda desenhada se a banda desenhada se pode desenhar a si mesma?» in Bandas Desenhadas (November 2023, trans. Pedro Moura)


«Art between concepts and synthetic cognition» with Jan Baetens in Place (January 2023)


«Πού είναι οι Εβραίοι; Η αορατοποίηση μιας ελληνικής κοινότητας» in Καθημερινή (April 2023)


«L’intelligence artificielle menace-t-elle la bande dessinée ?» in La Libre Belgique (January 2024)


«The Green Detour: Francesc Ruiz» in Panal, the catalogue of Ruiz’s major retrospective in Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo (October 2020)


«What are the Futures of Comics?» with Lex Sokolin in Scenario. Quarterly of the Institute of Future Studies (December 2019)