Professor Roger Sabin

Profile image of Professor of Popular Culture

Professor of Popular Culture

Central Saint Martins


Roger Sabin’s research has an emphasis on the history of comics and cartooning, but takes in film, TV, and other popular forms – including subcultural and countercultural studies. He is the author or editor of seven books, including Adult Comics (Routledge 'Major Works'), Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels (Phaidon), The Lasting of the Mohicans (University Press of Mississippi), Punk Rock: So What? (Routledge), and – his latest - Cop Shows: A Critical History of Police Drama on Television (McFarland). He was part of the team that put together the 2016 Marie Duval Archive. He serves on the boards of eight research journals, and is Series Editor for the booklist Palgrave Studies in Comics; and Series Co-Editor for Palgrave Studies in Comedy. His journalism includes work for The Guardian, BBC and Channel 4, and he has been a curatorial consultant for The British Library and Tate Gallery.

Roger’s work on publications draws from theories around seriality (especially how stories develop in different contexts), and his subcultural research is focused on 1960s-90s. He is currently investigating the Victorian entertainment business, and how music halls, penny papers, and advertising meshed together to create a template for the multi-platform industry we see today.

In terms of PhD students, he has 11 'completions' to date, and welcomes applications on any aspect of pop culture, including practice-based (for example, creating a graphic novel). 

Research interests

Cultural history, Cultural Studies, and Subcultural Studies. Specialisms: comics and graphic novels; marginalised and underground literature/graphics/film; punk and counter-culture; comedy (including 19th century); TV drama; cultural theory, postmodernism in history.

Research statement

Currently working on a study of comics in the 19th century and the character ‘Ally Sloper’ (Uni Press of Mississippi). Previous books include Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels (Phaidon), Adult Comics: An Introduction (Routledge), The Lasting of the Mohicans (as co-author, Uni Press of Mississippi); Punk Rock: So What? (as Contributing Ed, Routledge); Below Critical Radar (as Contributing Co-Ed, Codex); The Movie Book (as Contributing Co-Ed, Phaidon); Cop Shows: A Critical History of Police Dramas on Television (as Contributing Ed, McFarland).

Numerous peer-reviewed academic essays, chapters in books, and catalogue entries. Plus academic podcasts.

Invited keynote speaker at international conferences – including  Osaka, Madrid, Bern, Berlin, Helsinki, Odense, and Washington. 

Series Editor, Palgrave Studies in Comics and Graphic Novels. (Founded list: involves commissioning six + books per year.) Co-Series Editor, Palgrave Studies in Comedy (co-founded list).

Editorial Board Member of eight journals (three as Consulting Ed) and one academic book list. (Co-founder of three of those journals, founder of one.) Board member of various ‘learned societies'.

Evaluator for the AHRC, Wellcome Trust and numerous international funding bodies.

Awarded PhD in 2003; MA in 1988; BA in 1983.

Public-facing work includes Guardian masterclasses; literary festivals; gallery talks; museum work; and education symposia.


Current students and thesis titles

Elisa Oliver, Hanging About: The 1970s 'Teenage Moment' in Contemporary British Art.

John Miers, Can You Read it This Way? Tracing and Expanding the Limits of Comic-strip Storytelling Through Practice.

Ahmed Jameel, The 'Potential' for Writing Graphic Novels: A Practice-based Investigation Using Constraints to Illuminate Writer-Artist Collaboration.

Penelope Mendonca, Mothers Storying the Absent Father: A Graphic Novel.

Lindsey Moore, Edith Head - "Dress Doctor": Her Role as Disseminator of Fasion Advice and her Involvement with and Influence on American Fashion from 1945 to 1981.

Michael Connerty, The Comic Strip Work of Jack B. Yeats.

Bethany Lamont, 'Post-Traumatic Web Disorder': Navigating the Relationship Between Childhood Abuse and Digital Spaces.

Marketa Uhlirova, Fashion and Film.

Completed students and thesis titles

Dean Kelland, Living Room: An Enquiry into Masculine Identity Through a Multimedia Arts Practice Drawing on Representations within British Situation Comedy.

Ana Bastos Raposo, 30 Years of Agitprop: The Representation of 'Extreme' Politics in Music Packaging in the UK from 1978 to 2008.

Russell Bestley, If You're Going to Reminisce, Then You Need to Do It Properly: Punk Rock and Graphic Design in the Faraway Towns, 1977-1984.

Simon Grennan, Comic Strips and the Making of Meaning: Emotion, Intersubjectivity and Narrative Drawing.

Shaun Cole Sexuality, Identity and the Clothed Male Body.

Rikke Cortsen, Comics as Assemblage – How Spatio-Temporality in Comics is constructed, University of Copenhagen, 2010-2013 PhD supervisor, as Second Supervisor.  

Daniel Marrone, Between History and Memory: Ambivalent Longing in the Work of Seth, Birkbeck College, University of London, 2010-2013: PhD supervisor, as ‘Primary Supervisor’. 

Marc Baines, British Underground and Alternative Comics, 1980-1990, Glasgow School of Art, 2002-2004: MPhil supervisor, as Second Supervisor.

Project awards, and grants

Pioneering 19th century caricaturist Marie Duval. Funded by the AHRC, Co-Investigator with the University of Chester, £350,000, 2014.

Selected research outputs