by Stuart Medley
Art 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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Tags: 24 Hour Comics Day, Alyce Sarich, Andrei Buters, Angouleme, Australia, Australian comics, Australian Comics Symposium, Australian superhero comics, autobiography, Bruce Mutard, Campbell Whyte, comics festivals, Creative contracts, Edith Cowan University, Elizabeth Marruffo, Emilie Walsh, Ginger Meggs, José Luis Cuevas, Justin Randall, Library collections, Mary Leunig, Michael Fikaris, Michael Leunig, Oz Comic-Con, Pat Grant, Perth, Perth Comic Arts Festival, Robert Cook, San Diego Comic-Con, Sarah Winifred Searle, Shaun Tan, Soolagna Majumdar, Supanova, superheroes, Tommi Parrish, WASP, Western Australia
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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Tags: art worlds, Australia, Australian comics, comics festivals, cultural spaces, cultural tourism, Darryl Ayo, GRAPHIC!, independent creators, indie comics, Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival, Small Press, small press comics, social spaces