Chris Gavaler Associate Professor of English

Chris Gavaler

Payne 305


M.F.A., Fiction, University of Virginia (2006).

M.A., English Education, Rutgers Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University (1992).

B.A., English, Rutgers College (1988).


Fiction, comics, pop culture.


ENGL 202-Playwriting

ENGL 203-Topics in Creative Writing: Fiction

ENGL-ARTS 215-Making Comics

ENGL 308-Advanced Fiction Writing: Literary Genre Fiction

ENGL 369-Late 20th Century North American Fiction: Highbrow vs. Lowbrow

ENGL 370- 21st Century North American Fiction: Thrilling Tales

ENGL 413-Strategies in Narrative

WRIT 100-First Year Writing Seminar: Superheroes

Selected Publications


The Comics Form: The Art of Sequenced Images. Bloomsbury 2022.
Creating Comics: A Writer’s and Illustrator’s Guide and Anthology. Co-authored with Leigh Ann Beavers. Bloomsbury 2021.
Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith: A Philosophical Account. Co-authored with Nathaniel Goldberg. Routledge 2020.
Superhero Thought Experiments: Comic Book Philosophy. Co-authored with Nathaniel Goldberg. University of Iowa Press 2019.
Superhero Comics. Bloomsbury 2017.
On the Origin of Superheroes: From the Big Bang to Action Comics No. 1. University of Iowa Press 2015.
School for Tricksters. Southern Methodist University Press 2011.
Pretend I’m Not Here. HarperCollins 2002.


Misdirections in Matt Baker’s Phantom Lady Viewing Paths.” Co-written with Monalesia Earle. Desegregating Comics: Debating Blackness in Early American Comics, 1900-1960. Rutgers 2023.
“How to Make Comics: What Are Comics?” MoMA Magazine. September 9, 2021.
“How to Make Comics: What Are the Elements of a Comic?” MoMA Magazine. September 16, 2021.
“How to Make Comics: Where Do You Begin?” MoMA Magazine. September 23, 2021.
“Watchmen and Philosophy: Illustrating Time and Free Will.” Co-authored with Nathaniel Goldberg. The Palgrave Handbook of Popular Culture as Philosophy. Palgrave 2021.
“Yes, Roya as Philosophy: The Art of Submission.” Co-authored with Nathaniel Goldberg and Maria Chavez. The Palgrave Handbook of Popular Culture as Philosophy. Palgrave 2021.
“Perceiving Images and Styles.” Co-author with Nathaniel Goldberg. Journal for the Philosophy of Language, Mind and the Arts, 2. 1. 2021.
“‘Which World Would You Rather Live In?’ The Anti-Utopian Superheroes of Gary Jackson’s Poetry.” Mixed-Race Superheroes. Rutgers 2021.
“Teaching the Art of Comics.” Innovative Teaching Experiments: Sociology Through Pop Culture. 2021.
“The Literary Genre Effect: A One-Word Science Fiction (vs. Realism) Manipulation Reveals Intrinsic Text Properties Outweigh Extrinsic Expectations of Literary Quality.” Co-written with Dan Johnson. Scientific Study of Literature. 9.1. 2019.
“Does Belonging Belong in Comics?” The Cincinnati Review. 16.2. 2019.
“Three of a Perfect Pair: Image, Text, and Image-Text Narrators.” Image [&] Narrative. 20.1. 2019.
“Clarifying Closure.” Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. 9.3. 2018
“Undemocratic Grids: Eight Approaches to Accenting Panels.” Comics Grid. May 2018.
“Refining the Comics Form.” European Comic Art. 10.2. 2017.
“The Genre Effect: A Science Fiction (vs. Realism) Manipulation Decreases Inference Effort, Reading Comprehension, and Perceptions of Literary Merit.” Co-written with Dan Johnson. Scientific Study of Literature. 7.1. 2017.
“Dr. Doom’s Philosophy of Time.” Co-written with Nathaniel Goldberg. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. 8.4. February 2017.
“Loving Lassos: Wonder Woman, Kink, and Care.” Co-written with Maria Chavez and Nathaniel Goldberg. Wonder Woman and Philosophy. Wiley. 2017.
“Marvels of Skepticism.” Co-written with Nathaniel Goldberg. Foundation: the international review of science fiction. 46.1. 2017.
“’I Want to Believe’ vs. ‘The Will to Believe’: Fox Mulder Meets William James.” Co-written with Nathaniel Goldberg. The X-Files and Philosophy. Open Court. 2017.
“Alan, Moore, Donald Davidson, and the Mind of Swamp Things.” Co-written with Nathaniel Goldberg. The Journal of Pop Culture. 50.2. April 2017.
“The Art of Literary Violence.” Ford City Workshop Anthology. Urban Farmhouse Press. February 2016.
“‘Something Like This Just Couldn’t Happen!’: Resolving Naturalistic Tensions in Superhero Comics Art.” Studies in Comics. 7.1. 2016.
“The Meanings of Comics.” International Journal of Comics Art. 18.1. Spring/Summer 2016.
“Economy of the Comic Bool Author’s Soul.” Co-written with Nathaniel Goldberg. International Journal of Comics Art. 18.1. Spring/Summer 2016.
“The Anti-Superhero in Literary Fiction.” IMAGE [&] NARRATIVE. 17.3. 2016.
“Time to Choose.” Co-written with Nathaniel Goldberg. Superman, Batman, and Philosophy. Open Court. 2016.
“The Rise and Fall of Fascist Superpowers.” Journal of Graphic Novels
and Comics. 7.1. 2016.
“The Pulp Fiction of Jennifer Egan.” The Writer’s Chronicle. 48.4. February 2016.
“Genre Apocalypse.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. January 26, 2015.
“Zombies vs. Superheroes: The Walking Dead Resurrection of The Fantastic Four Gender Formulas.” ImageTexT. 7.4. Winter 2015. Reprinted in Literary Criticism on Stan Lee (Layman Poupard Publishing).
“The Well-born Superhero.” The Journal of American Culture. 37.2. June 2014.
“Is and Isn’t: Literary Upheavals in the Post-Real Landscape.” The Writer’s Chronicle. April 2014. Reprinted in Phantom Drift. 4. Fall 2014.
“The Imperial Superhero.” PS: Political Science & Politics. 47.1. January 2014. Teahouse
“How to Teach Zombies.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. October 29, 2013.
“The Ku Klux Klan and the birth of the superhero.” Journal of Graphic Novels
and Comics. 4.2. 2013.
“Five Sentences.” The Exercise Book. Wellington, NZ: Victoria UP, 2011.
“Sylvester Long.” African American National Biography. Oxford UP. January 2008.
“Chameleons and Imposters: Marianne Moore and the Carlisle Indian School.” Co-written with Lesley Wheeler. Paideuma. 33.2&3. 2005.
“I Mend a Break in Time: An Historical Reconstruction of H.D.’s Wunden Island Ceremony in The Gift and Trilogy.” Sagetrieb. 15.1&2. 1996.
“The Empty Lot: Spiritual Contact in Lenape and Moravian Religious Beliefs.” American Indian Quarterly. 18.2. 1994.
“Endnotes to ‘Righting the Margins: The Prosody of Prose in Language Writing.’” Poetic Briefs 17. August/September 1994.


Visual art. “Seventies Celebrities,” “Botched,” “Graduation,” “Christmas 1902,” “Sister Squares.” Petigru Review. Forthcoming.
Sequential art. “Necrobots.” riverSedge. Forthcoming.
Sequential art. “Intro to Art.” 45th Parallel. Forthcoming.
Visual art. “Ride Takes 2 Tickets.” North American Review. Forthcoming.
Sequential art. “The Swampman.” The Offbeat. Forthcoming.
Sequential art. “Metropolis 2.” Interim. Forthcoming.
Sequential art. “How I Met My Wife,” “Wally and Egon,” “Hall of Mirrors.” Outer Dark Symposium 2020 Chapbook. August 2020.
Sequential art. “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die.” [PANK]. August 2020.
Sequential art. “Judy Suite (six visual poems).” Chronically Lit. July 2020
Sequential art. “Missing Scenes.” Grub Street. 69. 2020.
Visual art. “Four Panels,” “Three Divers,” “Male Nude Sitting,” “Nude with Flag.” FishFood. March 2020.
Sequential art. “My Mother’s Ashes.” Big Other. February 2020.
Visual art. “Galleries.” Dream Noir. February 2020.
Sequential art. “Strips.” Lumina. 10.1. January 2020.
Visual art. “'Lady Frankenstein (1971), No. 1-9.” Abstract: Contemporary Expressions. January 2020.
Short story. “Unproven.” Book XI: A Journal of Literary Philosophy. 1.3. 2019.
Sequential art. “The Swimmers.” Ponder Review. 3.2. 2019.
Sequential art. “American Descent.” Scoundrel Time. October. 2019.
Sequential art. “Obscured Panels.” Sequentials. 1.3. 2019.
Sequential art & cover. “Don’t.” Two Cities Review. 22. Summer 2019.
Sequential art. “Made for Each Other.” Co-authored with Lesley Wheeler. Split Lip. August 2019.
Sequential art. “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” Empty Mirror. July 2019.
Sequential art. “Thought Bubbles.” Redivider. 16.2. Summer 2019.
Sequential art. “Muybridge, Nude Woman Washing Face, Animal Locomotion, Plates 412 & 413.” The Sonder Review. 11. Summer 2019.
Sequential art. “Expected Outcomes.” The Ilanot Review. Winter 2019.
Sequential art. “Muybridge Comics.” Aquifer: The Florida Review Online. December 2018.
Sequential art. “Queer Arrangements.” Sequentials. 1.2. 2018
Sequential art. “1917: Van Doesburg & Modigiliani.” Hair Trigger 2.0. 1.3. 2018
Short story. “Godmother.” Crazyhorse. 92. 2017.
Short story. “The Afterlife.” Image. 94. 2017.
Sequential art. “This Is Not Marilyn: The Dailies.” Sequentials. 1.1. 2017.
Short story. “Willing.” Phantom Drift. 6. October 2016.
Short story. “The First Week.” Crazyhorse. 88. Fall 2015.
Prose poem sequence. “Paragon Comics.” Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books. Minor Arcana Press. February 2014.
Short story. “A Working Theory of Everything.” Phantom Drift. 3. Fall 2013.
Short story. “The Way Home.” The Saint Ann’s Review. Summer/Fall 2012.
Short story. “Isn’t.” Phantom Drift. 2. Fall 2012.
Short story. “Talk to the Dead.” Tampa Review. 43.44. 2012.
Short story. “The Way Back.” Fiction. 58. 2012.
Short story. “A Very Light Fever.” Witness. 25.1. Spring 2012.
Short story. “Who’s Afraid?” Zone 3. 27.1. Spring 2012.
Short story. “Script Outline: ‘The One and Only!’ Draft 1.” The Pinch. 31.2. Fall 2011.
Creative nonfiction. “Supergirl.” Brain, Child. 12.1. Winter 2010.
Short story. “The Hole It Would Leave.” Crazyhorse. 77. Spring 2010.
Short story. “C+, B-, B, F, B, A, C-, A-.” dislocate. 6. Spring 2010.
Short story. “My Half.” Quarter After Eight. 16. Spring 2010.
Short story. “The Marriage of the Strawman and the Patchwork Girl.” The Literary Review. 53.1. Fall 2009.
Short story. “Almost Africa.” Saranac Review. 5. 2010.
Short story. “Waiting for You.” roger. 4. Spring 2009.
Short story. “G.O.D.” The Hudson Review. LXII.1. Spring 2009.
Short story. “Identical.” Potomac Review. 45. 2009.

Short story. “NAME: ___________.” Pank. 3. 2009.
Short story. “The First Documentary.” Witness. XXII. 2009.
One-act play. “The Chris and Alex Show.” Third Coast. Spring 2008.
Short story. “Truth.” American Literary Review. 19.1. Spring 2008.
Short story. “Is.” New England Review. 29.2 2008.
Short story. “Sixteen.” Short Story. 5. Fall 2008.
Short story. “Tax Information for Parents of Kidnapped Children.” Phoebe. Fall 2008.
Short story. “Regrets.” Beloit Fiction Journal. 21. 2008
Short story. “Indian Finds Blood on Trail of Lost Child.” South Dakota Review. 46.1 2008.
Short story. “The Bones.” Prairie Schooner. 82.1. 2008.
Short story. “Recipe for Giblets.” Crab Orchard Review. 12.2. 2007.
Short story. “Earth 2.” Harrington Gay Men’s Literary Quarterly. 8.4. 2007.
Short story. “Bury the Survivors.” minnesota review. 68. 2007.
Short story. “Ivy Miller Poses.” Southwest Review. 92.1. 2007.
Short story. “Best Adaptation.” Sou’wester. 35.1. 2006.
Short story. “Yes.” storySouth. Fall 2006.
Short story. “Simple Objects.” Boulevard. 22.1 2006.
Short story. “Burn This When You’re Done Reading.” Saint Ann’s Review. 6.1 2006
Creative nonfiction. “Paperback.” Texas Review. 26.3&4. 2006.
Ten-minute play. “Who’s on First: The Movie.” McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. 2005. Reprinted Toronto Star, March 12, 2005.
Short story. “The Passion of Joan Allen.” Black Warrior Review. 32.1. 2005.
Short story. “The Longest Distance.” Aethlon. 22.2. 2005.
Short story. “INT. HOTEL ROOM — DAY.” Hayden’s Ferry Review. 35. 2005.
Short story. “Plague of Frogs.” Image. 44. 2005.
Short story. “The Best and Worst Sex Scenes of All Time.” Shenandoah. 54.3. 2005.


Full-length play. The Zombie Life. Firehouse Theatre, Richmond, VA, in production for August 2021.
One-act play reading. “The Afterlife.” Pittsburgh New Works Festival Original Play
Reading, November 3, 2017.
One-act play production. “Empty Plots.” Pittsburgh New Works Festival, September 2015.
One-act play production. “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Pittsburgh New Works Festival, September,
Ten-minute play production. “Cell Phone.” Hell With the Lid Off. Thoreau, NA—A Production Company. Pittsburgh, PA, May 10- 11, 2014. Barhoppers, Charlottesville, VA, March 15-17, 22-24, 29-31, April 5-7, 2009. WOMENSCENE, Pittsburgh, PA, May 15-17, 2008.
One-act play staged reading. “Life on Mars.” Pittsburgh New Works Festival. August 19, 2012.
One-act play production. “The Tragedy of John Wilkes Booth.” Pittsburgh New Works Festival, September 8-11, 2011.
Short screenplay. “Mary’s Fare.” Filmed by Linda Byrket, Bret Dahlgren, Donald L. Drennan, premiered Cowtown Film Series—Shorts, Columbus, OH, December 2009.
One-act play production. “Vows.” Pittsburgh New Works Festival, October 1-4, 2009.
Full-length play staged reading. William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of John Wilkes Booth. Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, January 25 & 29, 2009. Workshop production, Virginia Playwrights Initiative, Hamner Theatre, Nelson County, VA, December 7, 2008.
Ten-minute play production. “Angie.” The Body Beautiful, Your Inner Vagabond, Pittsburgh, PA, January 21-25, 2009.
One-act play production. “Man Woman Hombre Mujer.” Pittsburgh New Work Festival, September 2008.
One-act play production. “The Chris and Alex Show.” Pittsburgh New Works Festival, September 2007.

Dance script production. “Re-Membering: The World is Made Daily in Our Hearts,” choreographed by Joan Gavaler, premiered November 2007, Williamsburg, VA. Adapted as dance script “Practice Songs,” premiered November, 1991, Columbus, OH.

One-act play production. “Moving Mary.” Pittsburgh New Works Festival, September 2006.
Short screenplay. “Who’s on First: The Movie.” Filmed by Socal Film Group, CA, premiered Austin Film Festival 2005.
Short screenplay. “Always Late.” Filmed by One Block Over. 2004.
Dance script production. “Virus Warning 42: A Poetry Reading,” choreographed by Joan Gavaler, premiered Williamsburg, VA, October 30, 2003.