Tube Surfing: Comics Academia

In the aftermath of Thought Bubble and its associated academic conference on comics, Possibilities and Perspectives, here is round up of what is happening comics-wise in the hallowed halls of academia.

We have recently mentioned on downthetubes the Fractured Images, Broken Words postgraduate conference at Lancaster University on 12 June 2010 which will include former 2000AD editor Andy Diggle as one of the key-note speakers.

Before that on 13-14 April 2010 Manchester Metropolitan University will host an academic conference entitled The Graphic Novel and Comic Conference: Comics, Cultures & Genres, hosted by Dr David Huxley and Dr Joan Ormrod who have previously organised the university’s 2007 Aesthetics of Trash conference on animation and comics. This conference will tie-in with the launch of a new academic comics publication, the Journal Of Graphic Novels And Comics, from the university’s Faculty Of Art And Design.

The longest running of the various academic journals is the American based International Journal Of Comic Art which has been running since 1999, although their website is not that up-to-date. We mention it here as the current issue has a long interview with Scottish comics artist Ian Kennedy on his work which includes Dan Dare, Judge Dredd and of course Commando.

Closer to home is European Comic Art from Liverpool University Press which is the first English language scholarly publication to study European language graphic novels and comics. This has been going since 2008 and is published in association with the Glasgow based International Bande Dessinee Society and the American Bande Dessinee Society.

Due to begin publication in 2010 is Studies In Comics from Intellect Books, one of the editors of which is Dr Chris Murray of Dundee University who has been instrumental in organising the Dundee University Comics Day for the last three years as well as the Beano 70th Anniversary exhibition and event. Plans for the fourth Comics Day in Dundee to be held in the middle of 2010 are at an advanced stage.

Perhaps the best known academic tie-in with comics is Edinburgh’s Napier University with its MA in Creative Writing course taken by Sam Kelly and former 2000AD editor David Bishop. This is in its first year and is scheduled to include guest speakers such as Alan Grant, Mark Millar and Leah Moore.

More details of academic publications and conferences will appear as we receive them.

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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