RSS

Tag Archives: digital comics

Comics Forum 2020: Call for Proposals – Pages of Whiteness

Comics Forum 2020: Pages of Whiteness
November 2020, Online
Conference Lead: Olivia Hicks

Call for Contributions

In White, Richard Dyer argues that race is something which is only applied to non-white people; and thus white people are allowed to speak from a non-racialised, normalised position of power.1 In Unstable Masks, Sean Guynes and Martin Lund state that whiteness is a set of malleable historical, geographical and cultural values, that is ‘one of the key historical formations of power, surveillance and control’ in the West.2 Drawing attention to whiteness is drawing attention to what is naturalised and/or normally invisible.

The title of this conference comes from Tracy D. Morgan’s essay ‘Pages of Whiteness’, which explores white supremacy in the erotic fantasies of the queer physical culture movement in the American post-war period.3 The essay title refers both to the white paper used to produce physical culture magazines, but also the overwhelming presence of white bodies within, and the suffocating racist fantasies which inform the rare appearances of Black or Latino models. The phrase suggests an intersection of identity, materiality and (comics) production. This essay is one of many exposing how whiteness shapes the media we create and consume. The idea of whiteness as a ‘norm’ and the backdrop against which all other identities are contrasted and controlled, filters into
every facet of the comics we read and study; from the over-abundance of white characters and storylines, the privileging of white editorial and creative voices, to the ‘whiteness’ of the comic’s pages, suggesting a white, blank default, to the inks which are used in production, which privilege white skin tones. As Zoe D. Smith notes in her essay ‘Four Color-ism’, ‘Brown skin in comics of this period fails in part because there’s too much ink. The layers of cyan, magenta, and yellow are unreliable and painfully noticeable. White skin, by contrast, is thoughtlessly stable.’4

Maintaining the status quo of Western society is a thoughtless action; challenging the structuring logic of our worlds is a task which requires engagement and action. This conference is calling for a critical examining of whiteness and the structuring systems of comics and comics scholarship. One could respond to this theme by exploring whiteness within comics and/or comics academia. One could also choose to examine those identities which are marginalised or excluded; exploring creators and characters with marginalised identities. This call also encourages work on the production and materiality of comics; submissions on colouring (which is an underappreciated part of comics production) and zine culture, where creators often deliberately choose colourful paper or a collage effect which disrupts the notion of the white page being the norm.

Some ways Pages of Whiteness could be interpreted are as follows:

  • Whiteness and Comics
  • Comics and Race
  • Comics and Identity
  • Comics and Activism/Protest
  • Queering Comics
  • Comics Production (including colouring)
  • Zine Culture
  • Colour and Comics
  • Comics scholarship; new approaches to studying comics
  • Comics Practice as research
  • Digital “Page-less” Comics

Formats

Comics Forum 2020 will take place online. We invite contributors to submit proposals in the following formats, but we are open to other suggestions if speakers are in a position to offer them:

Pre-recorded videos: This may be a single speaker talk of 10-15 minutes, or a 20-minute conversation between two or more speakers. These can be followed by live Q&As either in a video call and/or via Twitter (please specify which you wish to use when you submit your proposal).

Live Events: These may be workshops, reading groups, demonstrations of practice or research methods etc. Events will be hosted on relevant openly-accessible platforms suitable for large-scale live video calls – if you would like to use a particular platform please specify this, otherwise make clear in your proposal what the format of your proposed event is so we can ensure we have access to a platform that will support it. Please note that time-zones mean that live events can be geographically exclusive, so if you can run your event in a way that includes some asynchronous content this will enable more people to participate.

Digital Zines: Zines on the conference theme can be submitted in PDF format for inclusion in the event via Issuu.

Proposals of up to 250 words in length for contributions in the formats detailed above are now being accepted at the following linkhttps://tiny.cc/comicsforum20The deadline for submissions is the 1st of September 2020 and you will be notified of acceptance by or before the 14th of September 2020. Please include a short (100 word) biography with your proposal.

Comics Forum 2020 is part of the Thought Bubble Sequential Art Festival. Find out more about Thought Bubble at: https://www.thoughtbubblefestival.com/.


Note: The Comics Forum organising committee asked Olivia Hicks to be a co-organiser for the 2020 conference in 2019. In January 2020, Olivia proposed the call ‘Pages of Whiteness’ which as accepted by the team immediately. The call was an urgent call to action in comics scholarship in January, and recent events have only served to further highlight how necessary this work is.


1: Richard Dyer, White, (London: Routledge, 1997), p.2.

2: Sean Guynes and Martin Lund, ‘Introduction’ in: Unstable Masks: Whiteness and American Superhero Comics (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2019), p.2.

3: Tracy D. Morgan, ‘Pages of Whiteness: Race, Physique Magazines, and the Emergence of Gay Culture’ in Queer Studies: A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Anthology, edited by Brett Beemyn and Mickey Eliason (New York and London: New York University Press, 1996), pp.280-297.

4: Zoe D. Smith, ‘4 Colorism, or, the Ashiness of it all’, Women Write About Comics (24 May 2019), <https://womenwriteaboutcomics.com/2019/05/4-colorism-or-the-ashiness-of-it-all/>

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comics and/as Co-presence: Multi-directional Reading in ‘Tick Tock’ by John Cei Douglas

by Neal Curtis

 

Douglas_TickTock

 

Definitions of comics are numerous and yet no single version can quite capture the fecundity, variety and experimental profusion of the medium as it continues to evolve. I would therefore agree with Joseph Witek who suggests that arguments over what defines or qualifies as a comic often “devolve into analytical cul-de-sacs and hair splitting debates over an apparently endless profusion of disputed boundary cases and contradictory counter-examples” (149). Witek continues that in light of this, “‘comicness’ might usefully be reconceptualized from being an immutable attribute of texts to being considered as a historically contingent and evolving set of reading protocols that are applied to texts, that to be a comic text means to be read as a comic” (149). Although this suggests a cultural relativist approach to the medium it does still enact some boundary policing in the sense that the graphic information sheet placed in the pockets of airplane seats, while sharing certain features with the comics medium—panels and a combination of word and image—is not a comic because it is not read as such.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 2020/06/04 in Guest Writers

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Symposium report: Tradition and Innovation in Franco-Belgian bande dessinée

by Fransiska Louwagie and Simon Lambert

 

On 13 March 2020 the University of Leicester hosted an International Symposium titled “Tradition and Innovation in Franco-Belgian bande dessinée” organised in collaboration with Wallonia-Brussels International. This one-day symposium – for which the progamme can be found here – was organised with generous support from the ASMCF, the Society for French Studies and the School of Arts at the University of Leicester.

The day was opened by Simon Lambert as Academic and Cultural Liaison Officer for Wallonia-Brussels in the UK, in conjunction with Fransiska Louwagie (University of Leicester). Keynote speakers were Professor Laurence Grove from the University of Glasgow and graphic novelist Michel Kichka, who also delivered a public seminar on his work. Across three panels, the day focussed on various forms of tradition and innovation in Franco-Belgian bande dessinée: the first panel was dedicated to “Revisiting the classics”, the second panel to “Contemporary perspectives”, and the final ASMCF panel to “Reshaping Franco-Belgian bande dessinée”. The closing remarks were organised as a roundtable session on collaborative international research projects.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Conference Report: Fluid Images — Fluid Text: Comics’ Mobility Across Time, Space and Artistic Media (Cardiff University, Wales)

by Andrea De Falco

 

‘Fluid Images – Fluid Text’ was the title of an interdisciplinary conference that took place at Cardiff University (Wales) on 23-24 January 2020. The conference, organised by Dr Tilmann Altenberg (School of Modern Languages) and Dr Lisa El Refaie (School of English, Communication and Philosophy), hosted eighteen speakers from twelve institutions spread across seven different countries, featuring a wide range of backgrounds and approaches. The conference received financial support from Institute of Modern Languages Research (London), University Council of Modern Languages, Cardiff Comics Storytelling Network, Cardiff School of Modern Languages and Cardiff School of English, Communication and Philosophy.

The aim was to investigate from a transdisciplinary perspective three different and interlinked dimensions underpinning comics’ mobility: time, space and artistic media. The chronological dimension covers a broad field including the relationships between comics and history and the transformations investing their editorial and reading practices. Translation is the key word to understand how comics have been able to transcend national borders, by means of transmission in different languages and cultures. The last dimension leads us to comics’ adaptation in other media, investigating their relationships with different forms of artistic expression.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bangladeshi Women Creating Comics

by Sarah McNicol

Comics are, of course, found in many cultures, from Japanese manga and Chinese manhua to South and Central American historietas, and Filipino komiks that draw on traditional folklore as well as elements of mainstream US comics. Moreover, it has been argued that comic books “have always been attuned to the experiences of immigrant Others” (Davis-McElligatt, 2010: 137). Graphic narratives have long played a crucial role in representing and constructing immigrant subjects and the immigrant experience. Today, several of the most widely known graphic novels address issues of migration including Chris Ware’s (2001) Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth and Shaun Tan’s wordless graphic novel (2007) The Arrival. The latter is often said to depict a universal story of migration, telling “not an immigrant’s story, but the immigrant’s story” (Yang, 2007). Nevertheless, it is explicitly the story of a man’s migration as he leaves his wife and daughter behind to make a better life in a new land. At the end of his struggles, the man reunites with his family who, it would appear, settle seamlessly into their new life without experiencing any of the hardships he has endured. Discussing literature more broadly, Pavlenko (2001: 220) argues, “immigrant women’s stories were continuously ignored by the literary establishment” despite the fact that female migrant life writing often explores different themes from those of traditional male autobiographies.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: