Those of you who attended The Third International Comics Conference: Comics Rock in Bournemouth this past June may have been present at Ian Hague’s talk, ‘Comics Forum: The Plan.’ In it he outlined his future plans for the development of Comics Forum. Amongst other ambitious ideas, he talked of his plan to house a news service on the Comics Forum website. A service that would provide a monthly review of relevant news links for the comic scholar community. Ian wanted the news service to have international appeal, with an array of international correspondents feeding into the service to offer a better picture of the global situation. In the abstract for his talk, Ian hinted at the possibility of recruiting a few audience members to assist in the ongoing development of Comics Forum. Having been present at his talk, I would suggest he was successful in his aim – as I offered to take on the role of news editor, won over by this ambitious project. And so the Comics Forum News Review was born! Since June, we have been busy fine-tuning the logistics of this service, so allow me to divulge in how this idea is close to becoming a functioning service, and hopefully illustrate how this service may benefit the comic scholar community.
Having come up with the idea to create this international news service, it was time to sit down with Ian and sort through the logistics of how this service will work – what content we thought would be most important to appear in the News Review, and also the simplest format to present the monthly report. Link style reportage seems like the most feasible way of presenting a news story (a short summary sentence with the link to the news story). News will be organised into regions (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania), and then into countries within each region. Under each country we will present articles under a range of section headings (Business, Culture, Education, Jobs, Law & Politics, Obituaries, Research, and Technology). With this format we hope to provide an easy to use service that anyone in the scholar community can access, flicking through the entire month’s report to look at things most relevant to them, be it country or category of news.
The next course of action was soliciting our global correspondence team – of course this service would be nothing without a solid line up of correspondents with their finger on the pulse of all things comics scholarship. Our line up currently includes Andy Mason (contributing for South Africa); Bart Beaty (Canada); Hannah Means-Shannon (USA); Greice Schneider (Brazil); Cheng Tju (Singapore); Jessica Bauwens-Sugimoto (Japan); Lisa Tannahill (France); Lida Tsene (Greece); Shelley Culbertson (Ireland); Pedro Moura (Portugal); Mihaela Precup (Romania); Rikke Platz Cortsen (Scandinavia) and Asta Vrečko (Slovenia). (Be sure to check out the Comics Forum Who’s Who section for full correspondent bios!) As you can see, we still have gaps in our team, and we are looking to recruit more correspondents from around the globe. If you feel you are up for the job in your region/country of specialty, or know someone who might be, be sure you get in touch!
The News Review will be published on the 4th day of every month. We are almost ready to launch, and the inaugural Comics Forum News Review will be published on 4th November. This report will cover the month of October, so be sure to pen that date into your calendar, and check back with us!
This service is a work in progress, and the assistance from our community is crucial. All comments, constructive criticisms, and suggestions are welcome in improving our service. Likewise, while we have a solid starting line up of correspondents, we are missing some key countries, and would be really pleased to hear from you with your suggestions. If you would be interested in getting involved with the News Review, please contact me at the Comics Forum News Review email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you will get involved, and check back with us on the 4th November! I will be present at Comics Forum’s fourth installment this year at Leeds (15th and 16th of November), and hope to see some of you there, so come and say hello.
William Grady is about to begin his PhD in the faculty of Humanities at the University of Dundee, focusing on women in American West comic books of the Cold War era. He has articles on American West comic books both printed and forthcoming in the anthologies Comic Books and American Cultural History, and Undead in the West II, alongside forthcoming pieces in the journals Studies in Comics, and the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. He is currently a teaching assistant in the department of Film and Media at Manchester Metropolitan University.