Photo of Lars Wallner

Lars Wallner

Associate Professor, Docent

Comic books have long been alluring primarily for children and young adults. Since comics combine words and images, they can be both helpful and challenging as school literature.

Research on interaction around comics and pop culture in schools

My research revolves mainly around pop culture media combining image, text and motion, and how interactions around these are utilized in school. My main area of interest is the comic book and its use in the classroom, but board games, RPGs and picture books are also of great interest.

My dissertation Framing Education: Doing Comics Literacy in the Classroom (2017) is on how comics are used to create stories and story telling in classroom activities. Video data is analyzed from a discursive psychological perspective and the study investigates students’ and teachers’ constructions of discourse on comics and comics reading. The results of the study demonstrate a comics literacy where participants discuss how comics are read, their personal experiences of the material and the value thereof, and what constitutes reading in relation to comics – the combination of sequential images, text, speech bubbles, etc. The dissertation argues that this comics literacy is discussed in relation to this medium, rather than the more general visual literacy traditionally used in these discussions.

Comics in Education

This project presently includes work together with Katarina Eriksson Barajas (Linköping University) on a systematic research review of the field where we gather and analyze research on comics as a tool for K-9 education since the 1990s. Results show that even though the amount of research in the field has increased since the turn of the millennium, there is still very little work done in the school environment, whilst a significantly larger part of comics studies theorizes on usage of comics in school. We published the article “Using Comics and Graphic Novels in K-9 Education” in Studies in Comics in the autumn of 2020, and it is available open access.

This project also contains a collaboration with Eriksson Barajas where we investigate how youths in Year 8 utilize the Swedish gender-neutral pronoun 'hen' and deconstruct the traditional binary gender roles in their talk about a comic strip.

Furthermore, I am also working together with Robert Aman (Linköping University) on how these students talk about Disney and superhero characters, and how this talk constructs gender. Students perceive the comic book characters that they work with to be stereotypical caricatures of real life gender roles, and we can draw the conclusion that other, less gender-stereotypical, comics could open up for a discussion on gender that is more multi-facetted.

Doing Feedback in Higher Education

In this project, Karin Stolpe and I investigate how students and university teachers in the teacher’s program construct feedback for written assignments, both in writing and orally, and how this is done as a multimodal process in interaction and through text.

Fiction in Pedagogic Practices

In this project, under the management of Katarina Eriksson Barajas, I explore how fiction is utilized in teacher education for pedagogy and general didactics. The value of fiction has long been under discussion, where some argue that fiction is a part of bildung, through development of empathy and other positive effects. This current project investigates the use of fiction as an initial step, and, secondly, how fiction is used for teacher education, and how fiction is constructed as a tool for interaction around learning and school.

This Teaching Life 2020

In this podcast of This Teaching Life I talk to Wajeehah Aayeshah about teaching during Covid 19, and teaching with comics.

Interview about Bat Universe

Bat Universe

In March 2021, I was interviewed by the YouTube channel Bat Universe about my work with comic books (and my opinions on a slightly more specific character). Watch the interview on Youtube.


Research projects




Apart from my project work, I also teach courses in 
Scientific theory and method, Educational Psychology and Social Studies (religion) for the Teacher's Program (Grade teachers, K-3, recreation centre, and Pre-school) and supervise essays and degree papers, at the Department of Social and Welfare Studies.

Work in the community

Presently I am looking for teachers who work with, or are interested in working with, board games and role-playing games in the classroom. I’m also interested in working on relations between schools and Linköping University. If you are a teacher interested in this, do not hesitate to get in touch with me!

Framed Pedagogy

This project aims to expand
their possible uses in teaching.

As a common reading format at home but an uncommon one in school, the comics medium offers possibilities for reflection on visualization, learning to read, the conceptualization of students’ thoughts, and classic literature analysis.