Hannah Means-Shannon (Georgian Court University), Robert Weiner (Texas Tech University), and Christina Angel (Metropolitan State University of Denver) examine the teaching of comic books in the classroom and the variety of opportunities for publishing in comics studies, including journals, forums, blogs, and social media. The group contemplates the future of comic studies for educators, librarians, and scholars of many kinds.
Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight) explores the history of journalist characters in comic book stories and why so many news folk date, harangue, or are themselves superheroes. Dr. Sarah Boslaugh (Kennesaw State University) describes a history of comics journalism in the real world and offers a prediction for its future. Joining them are comics journalists Alan Kistler (Comic Book Resources), Tony B. Kim (Crazy4ComicCon.com), Molly Mahan (Geekscape.net), and Michael Worthan (Comic Book Therapy) to set these professors straight on the reality of it all.
Can comic books and graphic novels help us understand the world in richer and more complete ways? Sarah Boslaugh (Kennesaw State University) discusses the roots and development of comics journalism, focusing on how this graphic medium complements both reporting and the growth of Internet journalism. Nicole Rehnberg (California State University, Fullerton) focuses on how the graphic memoirs Persepolis and Maus provide new viewpoints for understanding conflict in the Middle East and the horror of the Holocaust. Molly Hall (University of New Hampshire) shows how graphic novels can be serious literature and points out the potential benefits of using them in a humane literary studies curriculum.
From a performance studies perspective, Maria Patrice Amon (University of California, Irvine) argues that cosplaying is the ultimate embodiment of Scott McCloud's assertion of universal identification with characters through the simplification of the cartoon image. Rooted in contemporary comic and Foucauldian theory, Cameron McKee (University of California, Berkeley) argues that Tom of Finland's comics were seminal to the emergence of a radical gay identity pre-Stonewall through the AIDS crisis. Christine Ferguson argues that Batman illustrates the superpower of S&M and, in the process of exploring the submissive side of Batman, demonstrates the importance of aftercare, bonding, and how not to call the Commissioner down.
Karma Waltonen (University of California, Davis) argues that the form and content of David Mazzucchelli's masterwork Asterios Polyp are wedded in such a medium-specific way that it resists adaptation completely, and, through the relationship between form and content, it serves as a unique example of the medium. John Rodzvilla (Emerson College) discusses how Wallace Wood's unpublished handout of "22 panels that always work" has influenced the pacing and layout of comics over the last 30 years in everything from superhero stories to independent graphic novels. Michael J. Muniz (Liberty University) presents a philosophical introspection on the fourth wall as a device to manifest narrative worlds that, when broken, becomes more transparent and even metaphysically malleable to the reader.
Harvey Award-winning independent voice and CAC special guest Matt Kindt (Mind Mgmt) discusses his approach to making comics with CAC co-chair Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight). They will discuss Kindt's use of sequential artistry in his works and the creative process in formulating elements like character and plot as well as the way he draws on his background in book production to design the physical books.
UPDATED: Mon, Mar 25, 03:47PM What's the point in examining fictional characters, especially fantastic superheroes unlike any people we encounter in real life? Psychologist Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight) and Andrea Letamendi (Barbara Gordon's therapist in Batgirl #16), comics scholar Kathleen McClancy (Wake Forest University), and comic book writer Bryan Q. Miller (Batgirl) explore how the filter of fiction can allow people to face some of the worst events that happen in real life without turning away and how that, in turn, helps us learn more about the way actual crises affect living human beings.
James Medina (University of Dundee) compares the politics, style, and purpose of postapocalyptic narratives from different countries. Lindsay Kerstetter (California State University, Fullerton) applies trauma theory to explore the motivations of The Walking Dead characters, who are forced to exist in a world where trauma has become a part of everyday life. Rachelanne Smith (California State University, Sacramento) explains how satirizing the dark, gritty attitudes of contemporary comic book film adaptations actually makes the case that the traditional, altruistic hero is the one society needs.
Kamila Tuszyńska (University of Warsaw) examines how Enki Bilal's Julia & Roem plays with conventions drawn from the classical cultural heritage to focus attention on contemporary issues. Hannah Diaz (California State University, Fullerton) explains how the female cosplay world has responded to the limited variety of body types and outfits from which to choose by modifying designs to reflect a female character with a wider variety of qualities than those found in mainstream comic books.