The ‘Outside’ World: Isolationism and Interconnectedness in Comics Cultures

International Graphic Novel Conference to see launch of new Dementia-focused comic and Laydeez do Comics Manchester

Comics archivist and internationally-respected advocate of the form Paul Gravett is to give the Keynote Speech at the 2019 International Graphic Novel Conference at Manchester Metropolitan University in June. The Speech is just one of a number of pubic events that are part of a full day of public comic events that are part of the conference, including the launch of There’s No Bus Map for Dementia, a new mini-comic about dementia and a Your Life Stories as Comics workshop from members of Laydeez do Comics, as well as LDC’s first ever Manchester event.

The ‘Outside’ World: Isolationism and Interconnectedness in Comics Cultures

The ‘Outside’ World: Isolationism and Interconnectedness in Comics Cultures

In our high-speed, highly connected, ‘borderless’ world, it’s easy to forget that export, exchange and trade have always been part of the global industries of comics. In his Speech, titled “The ‘Outside’ World: Isolationism and Interconnectedness in Comics Cultures“, Paul Gravett explores how the big three – American comics, Franco-Belgian bande dessinée and Japanese manga – as well as other players have been determined to spread their sales abroad and also receptive, in the end, to enriching external content and influences.

The more interconnected comics cultures become, is it more likely that specific national styles, themes and schools are set to vanish and for a stateless, internationalist ‘world comics’ style to emerge?

Tickets for this event, price £5, are available here.

There’s No Bus Map for DementiaThe day also sees the launch of ‘There’s No Bus Map for Dementia’, a new mini-comic about the experience of living well with dementia and the condition’s social and emotional impacts . The comic was created through a series of arts workshops in which artists and people living with dementia have worked together to find ways to represent and depict the condition in a comics format, and aims to improve understanding around what it is like to have dementia and how people with dementia would prefer to be treated.

Tickets for this event are available here.

Laydeez do Comics Manchester Laydeez Do Comics are also hosting their first-ever LDC event in Manchester on the same day, offering a free event featuring four short illustrated talks, hosted by Lou Crosby of Laydeez do Comics, Leeds and SeeingPoetry.com.

The night will open with a short introduction to LDC “Me and Laydeez do Comics: What next and why” from: Nicola Streeten, a speaker, writer and drawer of comics. Nicola co-founded and directs the international forum Laydeez do Comics in 2009. Her PhD on feminist cartoons and comics in Britain informed her co-editing of The Inking Woman (Myriad Editions, 2018) the first documented history of women’s cartooning in Britain, and her graphic memoir Billy, Me & You, published by Myriad Editions in 2011 is about her process of bereavement.

Rachael Ball will be talking about her second graphic novel, WOLF (published last year by Self Made Hero) and her current project, a third graphic novel The Patsy Papers, based on her experiences of teaching in secondary schools, a political satire which spotlights the effect of austerity and poor management on British schools.

Shroma Das will talk about her work including #MeToo in India a call out to her abusers in her powerful first graphic narrative, and artist, academic, curator, editor and writer Sarah Lightman will be talking about her new graphic memoir Book of Sarah, published by Myriad Editions. This is a deeply subversive autobiography set in the Jewish heartlands of north west London, that questions religion, family, motherhood and what it takes to be an artist.

Tickets for this free event are available here on EventBrite.

Laydeez do Comics are also running a free “Your Life Stories as Comics” workshop with Rachael Ball, Lou Crosby and Dr Nicola Streeten. This session will begin with a brief illustrated presentation of the possibilities of the comics form, followed by some fun practical exercises to introduce you to drawing comics. No drawing experience or knowledge of comics is required to participate, but you’ll need to bring something to draw with.

Tickets for this free event are available here.

STORYWORLDS AND TRANSMEDIA UNIVERSES IN GRAPHIC NOVELS

Joint International Conference of Graphic Novels and Comics and 20th Anniversary of the International Bande dessinée SocietyThe three-day Joint International Conference of Graphic Novels and Comics and 20th Anniversary of the International Bande dessinée Society aimed at comics scholars and academics includes scholars and practitioners who debate the fascinating issues surrounding storyworlds and the location of comics within transmedia universes.  It is presented jointly by scholars from Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Glasgow, the University of Dundee and the University of Bournemouth.

The conference, which has the over-arching theme of “Storyworlds and Transmedia Universes in Comics and Graphic Novels“, also marks the twentieth anniversary of the first IBDS gathering in Glasgow in 1999, and as such will reflect upon the development of BD scholarship over this period.

The notion of a storyworld, or a shared universe within which the settings, characters, objects, events, and actions of one or more narrative are present, existed long before the present-day media. Examples include myths and legends of antiquity, folktales and Arthurian romances, while today’s story worlds have been described by Mark Wolf as, “transnarrative, transmedia, and transauthorial in nature”, and open up fresh opportunities.

Storyworlds have found a fertile terrain in comic strips and graphic novels. After all, the text/images form provides narratives dedicated to specific characters, times and places; these narratives are often used as source material for adaptations in film, games and broadcast media. Consequently creators, fans and corporations can interact with other forms beyond comics, thereby developing characters and narratives, as well as exploring new storytelling methods.

The possibilities seem almost infinite. Storyworlds may relate to Marvel’s and DC’s extended universes of the future. They can be adapted or constructed from half-remembered myths and legends, as in Isabel Greenberg‘s Encyclopedia of Early Earth.

Some storyworlds (such as the manga Barefoot Gen) reveal historical events from individual perspectives or a world view from the perspective of a particular historical and cultural moment such as Hergé‘s Tintin. Others recount alternate histories – such as the Gallo-Roman era in Asterix by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, or the Belle Epoque with Adèle Blanc-Sec by Tardi.

Clockwork Watch - Evolution - Cover

Still others offer parallel worlds, including the Clockwork Watch saga instigated by Yomi Ayeni, a collaboratively created storyworld involving online fandom, or Les Cités obscures by Benoit Peeters and François Schuiten; or the ‘Sword and Sorcery’ parody Donjon started by Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim, which invites contributions from other artists and has given rise to numerous side projects.

Book a ticket for the launch of There’s No Bus Map for Dementia and the associated workshop on Wednesday 26th June here on EventBrite

Book a ticket for the free Laydeez do Comics Your Life Stories as Comics” workshop here

Book a ticket for Laydeez do Comics do Manchester on Wednesday 26th June here on EventBrite

Book a ticket just to Paul’s talk “The ‘Outside’ World: Isolationism and Interconnectedness in Comics Cultures” on Wednesday 26th June here for just £5 here

• If you go to the whole International Graphic Novel Conference, admission to all the public events on Wednesday 26th June is included – registration details available here

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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