by Joe Sutliff Sanders and Laurence Grove
Although the 2021 joint conference of the International Graphic Novels and Comics and the International Bande Dessinée societies, to be held in Cambridge, was advertised as an in-person-only event that would be cancelled if the pandemic interfered, such was the response to the call for proposals that we moved the conference online. The result was five full days (21-25 June) of papers, keynotes, and online socialisation.
The four keynotes targeted the conference theme of “Comics and Their Audiences / Audiences and Their Comics.” Sara W. Duke (Library of Congress) gave an overview of European comics and caricatures in the Library onwards from the purchase of material from Windsor Castle a century ago. Kate Charlesworth (Sensible Footwear: A Girl’s Guide and many more) took us through her personal journey to becoming an artist, coming out as a lesbian, and creating the much-lauded autobiographical account that is Sensible Footwear. Lara Saguisag (City University of New York-College of Staten Island) provided a compelling history of the petrocultural, the ways in which global society is an oil society, in physical and material ways, shaping values, practices, habits, and even feelings, infusing comics and communities with a narrative that naturalises high energy consumption. Kazumi Nagaike (Oita University) explored depictions of sexuality in Japanese ‘essay manga’, essentially slice-of-life narratives in comic form.
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