Academics Assemble! Comics Arts Conference Programming at San Diego Comic-Con International 2010

By - July 19, 2010

Thursday, July 22

Fri, Jul 09, 07:35PM

10:30-12:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #1: Comics in the Classroom— Lisa Vizcarra (Carquinez Middle School) explores the pedagogy for creating a middle school biology curriculum based on the book Becoming Batman by E. Paul Zehr, who will join the discussion. Kathy Hall (El Camino College) gives an overview of techniques and assignments for teaching Watchmen in the first-year composition course. Robyn A. Hill (National University) and Bill McGrath (National University) provides illustrations and examples of how comics formats can be used for differentiated instruction to English learners. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Seminars & Workshops

12:00-1:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #2: So You Think You Can Make Transmedia Entertainment?— Over the past few years, the American entertainment world has discovered the power of transmedia entertainment, with more and more stories getting integrated across film, television, games, the web, and of course, Comics. Each new franchise — from The Matrix to Heroes and Lost, from District 9 to Avatar — has shown us something new about the ways transmedia franchises can be organized. In a talk addressing fans and media producers alike, Henry Jenkins (USC), author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, offers an overview of recent developments in transmedia, offering a vocabulary for discussing how we can tell if it is done well or not. Room 26AB
Categories:  Action Figures – Toys – Collectibles | Animation | Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Games | Movies | Seminars & Workshops | Television | Webcomics
1:00-2:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #3: New Fun About Siegel and Shuster— Gerard Jones (Networked: Carabella on the Run) leads Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson Brown (grand-daughter of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson), Brad Ricca (Last Son), and copyright expert Lauren Agostino in a discussion about the creative influences and legal issues surrounding Siegel and Shuster’s early characters. Mel Gordon (California State University East Bay) shares insights about Jewish superheroes from his forthcoming book Siegel and Shuster’s Funnyman: The First Jewish Superhero, co-authored by Thomas Andrae. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Seminars & Workshops | Superheroes
2:30-3:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #4: Recapturing Copyright for Gold and Silver Age Comic Book Creators— Copyright lawyer Marc Greenberg (Golden Gate University School of Law) covers key developments in the Superman case (Siegel v. DC) and explores the claims filed by the Jack Kirby estate to the rights to the major Marvel Comics characters he created or co-created. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Comics Law School | Seminars & Workshops

Friday, July 23

10:30-11:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #5: Moving Beyond the Comic Book— A comic book artist, a comics publisher, a law professor, a transmedia scholar, and an anthropologist walk into a…panel at Comic-Con. Is this a joke? No, this is a discussion about the inherent cross-media nature of comics. Comic-Con special guests Phil Jimenez (Astonishing X-Men) and Paul Levitz (DC Comics), Patricia Williams (Columbia University), Henry Jenkins (USC), and Stanford Carpenter (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) discuss the reemergence of comics as a mainstream popular art form through the democratization of production and distribution processes in conjunction with new e-readers and the corporate synergy of media conglomerates.  Learn how comics are creating new worlds across the mediascape. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comic-Con Special Guest Spotlights & Appearances | Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Seminars & Workshops
Fri, Jul 09, 02:12PM

11:30-1:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #6: Digital Comics— Nick Langley (Rocket Llama) gives a brief history of webcomics and evaluates online economic experiments from subscriptions to micropayments – with Brock Heasley (Super Fogeys, Zuda Comics’ Monsterplex). Neil Granitz and Steven Chen (CSU Fullerton) examines consumer attitudes toward comic book digitization and argues that comics could enjoy a period of technological convergence due to the hedonic qualities enjoyed by readers. David B. Olsen (Saint Louis University) explores the implications of moving comics from the page to the screen and considers the ways in which print comics have always been multimedia. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Seminars & Workshops | Webcomics

1:00-2:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #7: This is Your Brain on Comics Theory— Julia Round (Bournemouth University) argues that From Hell relies on a comics aesthetic, in which all panels are co-present in the page’s spatial layout, to represent time as co-present and nonlinear. Neil Cohn (Tufts University) discusses two psychology experiments examining what happens in the brain when people read comics. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Seminars & Workshops
2:00-3:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #8: Where Are the Action Chicks?— Katrina Hill (, G4TV’s Next Woman of the Web), Jill Pantozzi (MTV Splash Page,, Adrianne Curry (America’s Next Top Model, My Fair Brady), Cindy Morgan (TRON), Clare Kramer (Glory on Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Jen Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors), Gina Misiroglu (Encyclopedia of Women in Popular Culture, The Superhero Book), Marjorie Liu (Black Widow, Dirk & Steele), Cindy Morgan (TRON, Caddyshack), and J. Michael Straczynski (Wonder Woman, Babylon 5) discuss why comics, television, and movies do not depict more action heroines and look specifically at why movies starring traditional comic book superheroines are nearly nonexistent. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comic-Con Special Guest Spotlights & Appearances | Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Movies | Seminars & Workshops | Television

Saturday, July 24

10:30-11:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #9: Batman and the Empty Nest Syndrome— Does Batman become a different type of person when he has a sidekick? Join panelists Dennis O’Neil (Batman writer and editor), Michael Uslan (executive producer, Batman Films), Tommy Cash (The Workday Comic), psychologists Travis Langley (Henderson State University) and Robin Rosenberg (The Psychology of Superheroes), and neuroscientist E. Paul Zehr (Becoming Batman) as they discuss who Batman is when he works alone versus who he becomes when he works with Bat-family members. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comic-Con Special Guest Spotlights & Appearances | Comics | Seminars & Workshops | Superheroes | Writers & Writing
11:30-1:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #10: Superhero Comics as Meta-Fiction— Matt Yockey (UC Irvine) uses “The True Story of Batman and Robin” and David Mazzucchelli’s self-reflexive afterword in Batman: Year One to look at the paradoxical relationship of fans and publishers. Whitney Donaldson (California State University, Long Beach) details the self-referential, metafictional, and narrative complexity of Watchmen. Karen Healey (University of Melbourne) argues that contemporary superhero comics are essentially corporate-owned fan fiction and proposes a theoretical approach that emphasizes the fluidity of texts composed in knowing reference to other works. Andrew J. Friedenthal (University of Texas at Austin) uses Crisis on Infinite Earths as a lens to examine how metatextual continuity creates a “narrative” of superhero universes out of the “chronicle” of comic book history. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Seminars & Workshops | Superheroes
1:00-2:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #11: Using Comic Book Characters For Cultural Critique— Comic book creators and scholars are using comic book characters — existing ones and their own creations — as a form of cultural critique in both the academy and in the larger popular culture. Join Patricia Williams (Columbia University), John Jennings (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Kane Anderson (UC Santa Barbara), John Jackson (University of Pennsylvania), Stanford Carpenter (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) for a discussion of how comics characters — including President Obama’s depiction as a superhero — act as proxies for leveling cultural critiques. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Seminars & Workshops

2:00-3:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #12: Poster Session— Want to go in depth with a comics scholar? On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday the PowerPoints of the poster presenters will be available to read in printed “poster books,” and then the scholars will be available in this session to discuss their presentations in small-group and one-on-one discussions.

Jim Miller (Henderson State University) discusses how the interplay of images in Dan Clowes’s Eightball creates literary comics that are very real and sexual in nature, and why this necessary element of his work leads to successful narrative.

Ashleigh Mayes (Henderson State University) looks at the functions of anthropomorphic animal characters in the depiction of historical events or tragic fiction in works such as Maus.

Adam Streed (UCSD) shows how sequential art can be used to illustrate Bertrand Russell’s paradox, detailed in Logicomix, in various ways that are impossible outside the comics medium.

Anthony Pate (Henderson State University) connects the portrayal of sexuality and violence in the works of Alan Moore with the satiric depiction of promiscuity among nobles and subsequent effects of decadent living in the sequential storytelling of William Hogarth.

Tanner Gibson (Southern Wesleyan University) uncovers the influence of photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge on the development of sequential art.

Dustin Nevill (Henderson State University) reports on surveys of convention goers on their perception of Spider-Man, Batman, and Superman and why these characters endure as the world’s best-known superheroes.

Richard Purnell (Stark State University) investigates how poetry and comics work as a nontraditional union of content and form.

Marko Head and Greg Fischer (Henderson State University) examine the comics and films of Hayoa Miyazaki from idea to process to completion as contemporary art.

Nicole Smith (Henderson State University) examines the issues and challenges of drawing the cover art for The Workday Comic, a collaborative variant on Scott McCloud’s 24-Hour Comics.

Henry Andrews (Grand Comics Database) demonstrates how the Grand Comics Database can be used to conduct academic research.

Naysan Mojgani (UC, San Diego) analyze how cosplayers identify with the race and ethnicity of the comics and anime characters they choose to role-play and challenge the essentializing, nationalist politics of the United States in radical, populist ways.

Stephanie Matlock (Henderson State University) reports preliminary findings from a study of how personality variables correlate with degrees of willingness to suspend disbelief among comic book readers.

Samantaha Deorge (School of the Art Institute) compares the post-feminism of Wonder Woman and the radical feminism of Tank Girl as representative of the British and American portraits of superheroines.

Poster Panel: Comics and Video Games: Alex Langley (University of North Texas) correlates addictive behavior among comics readers and video game players.

Matt Ragan (Henderson State University) argues that demonization of media forms — comics in the Fifties and videogames more recently — leads to greater status for these forms as the generations that grew up with them come to higher statuses in society.

Green Lantern Poster Panel: Erica Ash (Henderson State University) looks at how Martian Manhunter’s survivor guilt drives him to heroism, even as a reanimated Black Lantern.

Jarett Kobek ( analyzes the O’Neil/Adams Green Lantern run to ask whether America can still recognize itself in the travails of the hard-traveling heroes.

Gabrielle Lissauer (American Jewish University) ask whether the creation of Parallax as a separate entity retcons the tarnish done to Hal Jordan’s heroic identity in order to keep him heroically pure.

Room 26AB
Categories:  Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Seminars & Workshops | Superheroes

Sunday, July 25

10:30-12:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #13: Queer Comics— Lien Fan Shen (University of Utah), the artist of I Will Be Your Paradise traces the production process of her manga, reveals the author’s struggles with the publisher, and examines the negotiations of her “queer” identity and Taiwanese identity since publication. Ben Bolling (UNC-Chapel Hill) looks at how the “truth” about Marvel’s Northstar — who he is, whom he loves, whether he lives or dies — is not simply written by creators and handed down unilaterally to fans, but instead operates in an ongoing and often heated negotiation between creators and Northstar’s gay fans. Harry Thomas (UNC-Chapel Hill) argues that rise of the Midnighter to “iconic, breakaway star” status in the Wildstorm universe has been accomplished by the subtle but consistent feminization of his partner Apollo, curtailing the radical potential of a queer couple by coding them as a traditional male-female relationship. Mark Miner (Poet-at-Large) draws on the Greek tradition of underage partners and rhetorical competitions exemplified by Plato’s Phaedros to understand Yun Kouga’s manga Loveless, which features a similar same-sex, under-age partner relationship. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Superheroes
12:00-1:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #14: The Superhero as the American Ideal— Sandy Palas (CSU-Fullerton) traces the social impact of Captain America as physical exemplar of the ideology of strength and power and his extension beyond America’s borders as a protector figure for and from other countries. Keegan Lannon (Aberystwyth University) examines how Marvel’s Civil War questions the role of the superhero and how the superhero is
constructed through parallel story arcs. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Superheroes
1:00-2:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #15: Alternative Comics— Amy Taylor (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) examines the cathartic pleasures of fictional violence and identity in Jhonen Vasquez’ Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. Kathleen Dunley (University of Advancing Technology) amends the misunderstanding of Seth’s Palookaville and George Sprott as nostalgic by framing Seth as a “memory individual” who artistically directs and focuses the reader’s attention to the smallest, but necessary, traces of the past. Sheri McCord (Saint Louis University) argues that Jaime Hernandez’s characters Maggie and Hopey reveal the complexities of being sexual women to their audience and illustrate the conflict between friendship and attraction, love and desire. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comics | Comics Arts Conference
2:30-3:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #16: The Culture of Popular things: Ethnographic Examinations of Comic-Con 2010— Matthew J. Smith (Wittenberg University) moderates a panel of graduate and undergraduate students (Kane Anderson, Evan Dossey, Melissa Miller, Emily Saidel, Max Wassmann, Tanya Zuk, Cameron Catalfu, Pamela Geranios, Samuel Kinney, and Jacob Sigafoos) from a range of universities who present initial findings of a week-long field study of the intersection of fan practice at the nexus of cultural marketing and fan culture at Comic-Con. Discussion with the audience follows the presentations. Room 26AB
Categories:  Comics | Comics Arts Conference | Fandom

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