Dr. John A. Lent represents one of the early origins in the research of Asian comic and animation history and practice. Much like the early images of lone traveling scholars in the early Chinese scrolls, John Lent has journeyed extensively across Asia, interviewing and researching the artists of comics and animation long hidden from global view, tucked away in obscure locations, frequently in danger and/or under censure, and woefully underrepresented in scholarly and popular media. Lent has been a stalwart editor, colleague, and friend of Mechademia, and always a strong supporter of young and emerging scholars. The list of his accomplishments is astounding, and we thought it appropriate that we celebrate this wandering scholar and his work in this volume dedicated to the origins of manga and anime.
Lent has been teaching mass communications at the university and college level since 1960. He received a PhD in mass communication from the University of Iowa in 1972 and has held the title of professor since 1976. In 2000, he was the Rogers Distinguished Professor of Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. From January 2002 to January 2005, he was guest professor at Shanghai University, and is now professor in charge of PhD dissertations at the Animation School of the Communication University of China. He has been a consultant to different educational and governmental groups, has served on international cartoon and animation competition juries, and has given hundreds of speeches, academic papers, and lectures to all types of groups all over the world. [End Page ix]
His publications include the astounding sixty-five books and monographs he has authored or edited, three of which have won the Pat and Ray Browne Popular Culture Book Award and the Broadcast Industry Conference Award. Among his latest books are Cartooning in Latin America, Cartooning in Africa, Animation in Asia and the Pacific, Illustrating Asia, and a ten-volume bibliography on comic art worldwide. Most of his books were the first to explore Asian mass communications such as broadcasting, newspapers, film, popular culture, cartooning, animation, and media bibliography. Other areas covered by his books include media and the international division of labor, transnational communications, new world communication and information order, cartoons and comics, animation, women and mass communications, video-cassettes worldwide, and so on. He also has written more than eight hundred articles and critical reviews for a variety of journals and periodicals on every continent.
Additionally, Dr. Lent has actively engaged in either starting or fostering professional activities in various areas. He founded and edits the International Journal of Comic Art; for twenty-six years, he edited Berita, a periodical on Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei studies. From 1987 to 2001, he was founding managing editor of Witty World International Cartoon Magazine, and since 1994, editor of Asian Cinema. He chairs the Asian Cinema Studies Society, the Asian Popular Culture Group of the Popular Culture Association, and the Comic Art Working Group of International Association for Media and Communication Research. He founded the latter two groups and had a hand in the launching of the Asian Cinema Studies Society. He also is coorganizer of the Silver Fly Animation Workshop in Florence, Italy.
Dr. Lent serves or has served on many association and editorial boards, including the Popular Culture Association, Comics Journal, Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, Crossroads, Human Rights Quarterly, Jurnal Komunikasi, Asian Thought and Society (where he was also associate editor), ImageText: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival, Mechademia, and many others.
Dr. Lent has done so much for both the international artists whose work he preserves and for the scholars whose work he supports that the editors at Mechademia wish to honor this stellar leader in our field by dedicating this volume to him. [End Page x]