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Report on the Superheroes Beyond Conference (December 2018)

By Vincent Tran

 

On the 6-8 of December 2018, the Superheroes Beyond Conference took place at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne. Organised by the Superheroes and Me research group of Angela Ndalianis, Liam Burke and Ian Gordon, and part of a larger project funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), the conference was built on the crux of going “beyond out-dated definitions of superheroes”, stemming from the costumed heroes of the 1940s. Running alongside the conference was also the exhibition on Cleverman (2016 -), an Aboriginal superhero television show as well as the Superheroes: Realities Collide virtual reality experience, also organised by Superheroes and Me, allowing participants to explore the streets of Melbourne as a superhero in VR. Across these three days over 50 presenters expanded and enriched the dialogue on superheroes, all in a collaborative effort to hopefully shift the direction of future research to new uncharted ground. Through exploring international examples, historical antecedents, real life super-heroism, on top of a multitude of perspectives, these presentations opened up the discussion beyond the white male caped crusader.

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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 Culture of New Racism in Comics

By Whitney Hunt

 

New Racism Ideology In the USA

Whiteness is an enduring construct of privilege and power that systematically shapes and maintains racial inequality, resulting in a hierarchal system of oppression toward people of color (Feagin & Elias 2013). Systematic racism requires generations of people reproducing racist institutions and the white racial framings that support them (Feagin 2013). According to Feagin (2013), the white racial frame is a broad concept encompassing racist practices, imagery and discourse throughout US society shaped by and for the primary benefit of individuals considered white by society. In all eras of American history, manifestations of racism contain the ideological underpinning that justifies racial inequality. Moreover, the societal grip of white racial framing underscores the gross reality that America’s racist foundations are regularly unacknowledged (Feagin 2014; Bonilla-Silva 2017).

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Posted by on 2018/09/17 in Guest Writers, Women

 

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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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Superior Unreliability: Thoughts on Narrators in Comics on the Occasion of Spider-Man 2012/13 by Stephan Packard

The following thoughts started off as a contribution to the online roundtable on unreliable narration in comics at the German Society for Comics Studies, ComFor. I am indebted to fellow roundtable participants Burkhard Ihme, Dietrich Grünewald, Elisabeth Klar, and Daniel Stein, as well as roundtable organizer Felix Giesa, for the engaging and inspiring discussion.

Spoiler Alert: Peter Parker is no longer the amazing Spider-Man; in fact, he is no longer Peter Parker. Doctor Octopus, one his longest-running villains, has taken possession of Peter’s body, is living in and through him and has been secretly continuing both his private and his secret identity. While Doctor Octopus’ Spider-Man has since launched into his own series, the Superior Spider-Man replacing (for now) the established Amazing Spider-Man, the original replacement of one mind by another took place around issue #698 of Amazing, late in 2012. More specifically, it took place before that issue starts, but readers only find out about it on the last few pages. Up to that point, the readers are deceived, much like the other characters surrounding Peter and Spider-Man. So the narration is unreliable in the strict sense of the prima facie interpretation requiring revision. But does the unreliable narration imply an unreliable narrator? And what can this unreliability tell us about the general problems of applying narratological concepts such as narration, narrator, and unreliability, which are typically formed vis-à-vis written lingual narrative, to comic books?

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Posted by on 2013/08/12 in Guest Writers

 

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