Tag Archives: UK

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.

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EPIC THEMES IN AWESOME WAYS: How we made Asteroid Belter: The Newcastle Science Comic, and why it matters by Lydia Wysocki and Michael Thompson

Asteroid Belter Cover

1. Introduction

Asteroid Belter: The Newcastle Science Comic is a 44-page, newsprint, 10000 copy print run comic for the British Science Festival 2013 hosted by Newcastle University, England. It was produced as collaboration between a total of 76 artists, writers and scientists, led by our editorial team: Lydia Wysocki, Paul Thompson, Michael Thompson, Jack Fallows, Brittany Coxon and Michael Duckett. The comic sought to put university science research and concepts into the hands of children in a way that is meaningful, interesting, and inspiring to them. We did this by supporting scientists and comics creators to work together and increase each party’s understanding of the value of the other’s work. This article first outlines how we made Asteroid Belter, where we locate it in the wider field of comics, and then goes on to identify what we can and cannot show as evidence of its success.

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Posted by on 2014/09/23 in Guest Writers


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Captain America and the Body Politic by Jason Dittmer

I have a confession to make. When I sent the manuscript for Captain America and the Nationalist Superhero (Dittmer 2013) to its publisher, I fell off the wagon. After reading superhero comics for the better part of a decade, documenting the adventures of flag-draped superheroes in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom from 1940 to the present, I quit. I’m not someone who believes that a big wall separates the superhero comics from the rest of the comics world, but after over a thousand superhero comics I was definitely ready to switch things up a bit. So I dabbled in all the great new stuff that I had missed when my reading time was occupied by my book project – some of which were discovered by reading this very website (Fransman 2012) and are highly relevant to this essay. And all the while my monthly delivery of Captain America arrived like clockwork, joining its predecessors on my office desk. Last week, I was finally shamed by the verticality of the stack (almost a year and a half’s worth!) into taking them home and giving them some attention. The comics included the end of Ed Brubaker’s eight year run on the title (a pretty remarkable achievement nowadays), during which he famously brought Bucky back from the dead and walked Captain America through the Civil War crossover that made headlines around the world (e.g., Gustines 2007). One might expect a triumphant victory lap for Brubaker’s swansong on the title. Nevertheless, the end of Brubaker’s run seemed fixated on decline and the limits to power. In this essay I hope to briefly trace the ‘Powerless’ storyline (Brubaker and Davis 2012a, 2012b, 2012c, 2012,d, 2012e), as well as the events leading up to and following from that storyline, before contextualizing it all with a tiny, painless dose of political theory. I will then argue that the trope of ‘Powerless’ (in which, not surprisingly, Captain America’s body loses its superpowers) is a relatively common one over the history of the character. While this is to a certain extent true of many superheroes, in the context of Captain America the plot device is freighted with the baggage of the nationalist superhero genre.

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Posted by on 2013/01/18 in Guest Writers


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Some thoughts on an Emerging Field: Connections, Transitions and Looking Ahead by Nina Mickwitz

Over the past three years the Transitions symposium at Birkbeck College has established a presence in the annual events calendar of UK Comics Studies. For an excellent description of how this came to be, the rationale behind the event and of the collaborative DIY-ethos that continues to characterise Transitions I’d like to refer you to ‘The indisciplined middle space’ by Tony Venezia. What Tony wrote a year ago is as relevant now as it was then.

The organisation of this year’s event has been a team effort involving a small group of PhD students at both Birkbeck and the University of East Anglia. Our aim has been to provide a continuation of Transitions, and to maintain the attitude and character of what originated as Tony’s brainchild. We hope that the diverse and promising programme of papers will offer the opportunity to trace some of the current directions as indicated by new research, with the proviso that this selection should be seen as loosely indicative rather than necessarily representative. This year’s keynote, by Chris Murray and Julia Round, will provide insights into the current challenges and opportunities of teaching and researching comics in the academic context. In addition, a roundtable discussion will provide a chance to reflect on the shared scholarly context we inhabit, as constituted by networks of practices and initiatives.

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Cartoon County by Corinne Pearlman

The last Monday in the month (give or take a bit of manoeuvring) is always reserved for Cartoon County – the monthly meetings of the Sussex Association of Cartoonists and Comic Strip Artists. And it’s been going since 1993…If you measure out those Mondays, that’s 884 meetings, or two and a half years worth of my evenings taken up with Cartoon County, or buying 884 pints of Guinness for my co-coordinator, David Lloyd. Well, perhaps I’m not that generous all the time, but that works out as a pretty big black lake, however you measure it. Commitment or madness, or just a dogged devotion to the cause of promoting comics and cartoons in Sussex, because the fact is that Brighton, at the epicentre of cartoon creativity on the south coast, is just buzzing with a new input of creators every week. A constantly rejuvenating stream of cartoonists finds their way into (currently) The Cricketers on Black Lion Street in Brighton’s Lanes, and while a certain leverage to London takes its toll, there are always new faces who join our informal gatherings from 6 till late…

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Posted by on 2012/03/16 in Guest Writers


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