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Australian Comics Symposium at PCAF (Perth Comic Arts Festival)

by Stuart Medley

 

PCAF A4 poster by Soolagna MajumdarArt by Soolagna Majumdar

 

The Australian Comics Symposium was a one-day conference held at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, on Friday 29 June 2018, as part of the inaugural Perth Comic Arts Festival (29-30 June 2018).

 

This event was the first comics-focused festival in Western Australia. For many years Perth has been on the annual circuit of two major Australian pop culture events: Supanova and Oz Comic-Con. Both events have provided paid-for opportunities for local comics makers to show their portfolios and sell comics and comics-related art. However, both have a modus operandi similar to San Diego Comic-Con, in that they feature TV and film celebrity appearances and foreground the sale of pop culture merchandise. It was a stated aim of the PCAF organisers to have the focus on comics and to see what appetite there was in Perth for such an event. The inaugural PCAF was a big success with most of the visiting artists and scholars declaring it the best comics event they had been to in Australia. The market day attracted hundreds of visitors. Vendors all reported having done more business than at the big pop culture conventions. PCAF was covered by the national broadcaster (ABC) on its television news and reported in the state newspaper, The West Australian.

 

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A Space of One’s Own

How and Where Comics Cultures Flourish

by Amy Louise Maynard

 

In a Twitter thread composed in mid-June this year, creator Darryl Ayo (Little Garden) decried what he considered to be the lack of cultural spaces for independent and/or small press comics, both online and offline. According to Ayo, the demise of Google Reader and the decline of Tumblr meant that it was harder for independent creators to have a virtual ‘hub’ where their work could be found, shared and discussed:

Indie comics has a culture problem: specifically, that indie comics attaches itself to other cultures to survive. Whether it’s being driven out of the direct market shops or hitching its collective wagon too tightly to 2000-2008 era internet websites [sic]. Indie comics has the following culture problem: it attempts to survive as a symbiotic subculture but doesn’t insist on its own boundaries (Ayo, 2017).

In regards to physical spaces, Ayo pointed out that serial comics produced through the direct market system still had hubs for consumers; the comics store:

One thing that is appealing about “mainstream” comics, i.e. the North American direct market, is that there remain dedicated cultural spaces. There is a self-sustaining cultural space to go to and to be and to experience that culture. Yes, it’s a commerce space. But it fits (Ayo, 2017).

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Posted by on 2017/10/26 in Guest Writers

 

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Report on the Superhero Identities Symposium (December 2016)

By Naja Later

Organised by the Australian Research Grant-supported Superheroes & Me research team, the Superheroes Identities Symposium ran at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne on 8-9 December 2016. The symposium hosted over 50 speakers whose research questioned what defines superheroes and how superheroes define us. With a wide range of panels, speakers, events and attendees, the symposium created a dynamic environment in which new frontiers of superhero research collided and collaborated with wonderful possibilities for the future.

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