Mary and Bryan Talbot. Image courtesy Bryan Talbot

Oxford-based TORCH to host several comic-related events, Bryan and Mary Talbot on guest list

Launched in May 2013, Oxford-based TORCH provides an important opportunity for the city’s humanities scholars to collaborate with researchers across other disciplines, and institutions; work with academics across all stages of their academic careers; develop partnerships with public and private institutions; engage with wider audiences; and bring together academic research, diverse industries, and the performing arts.

As part of a diverse events programme, the TORCH, including its Comics and Graphic Novels network, has announced several comics related or illustration-related events for early 2018, which include appearances by Bryan and Mary Talbot.

Brother Voodoo. Image: Marvel Comics
Brother Voodoo. Image: Marvel Comics

On Thursday 1st February, the TORCH Comics and Graphic Novels network are hosting a talk on Graphic Narratives of Haiti: From Revolution to Earthquake with Charles Forsdick.

Charles Forsdick and James Barrow, Professor of French at the University of Liverpool, explore the representation of Haiti in comics and graphic narratives, and also addresses the production of comic art in Haiti itself.

Drawing on material ranging from nineteenth-century caricatures by Cham to the art of Jacob Lawrence, from Marvel’s Brother Voodoo to public information comics produced in the wake of the 2010 earthquake, the paper challenges the idea that Haiti is ‘graphically incarcerated’, and suggests that the capacious and flexible genre of the comic has the emancipatory potential in the contemporary Caribbean to provide a space for the exploration and narration of new national narratives.

The Plumb Pudding in Danger

Figurative Frames in Political Communication takes place on Thursday 8th February at Jesus College with Christian Burgers, an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Science at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Netherlands). His research focuses on the use and effects of metaphor, hyperbole and irony across domains of discourse. He is a member of the management team of the Metaphor Lab Amsterdam.

Political discourse is rich in figurative language that serves to frame political topics. Consider politicians describing immigration as a “flood”, Brexit as a “divorce” or political institutions as a “swamp”. Such figurative frames can have important implications for political communication.

The talk will consider how figurative frames structure and colour political communication. Following an overview of current theory and research on figurative framing, it will present  theories of framing from the field of political communication and discuss how figurative frames are used in political discourse, affect voters’ political attitudes, and change over time.

Grandville: Force Majeure - Preview ArtGrandville and the Anthropomorphic Tradition, led by Bryan Talbot, and The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, led by Mary Talbot, take place on Friday 2nd March, both creators discussing their recent work and artistic practice.

Bryan addresses his long-running and much-celebrated Grandville series in relation to the anthropomorphic tradition, the most recent installment of which, Force Majeure, will be on sale at the event (along with others).

The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia

Meanwhile, Mary offers her thoughts on The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, which chronicles the incredible life of the anarchist, teacher, orator and poet, Louise Michel.

On Saturday 3rd March, from 12-2pm, both Bryan and Mary will also be doing a book signing at Oxford’s comics and graphic novels shop, Inky Fingers, on Cowley Road.

Check out the TORCH web site for further events and additions to the comics and visual medium programme.

TORCH Dates for your Diary

The Graphic Narratives of Haiti 5.15 – 6.45pm Thursday 1st February Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG

Figurative Frames in Political Communication 5.15 – 6.30pm Thursday 8th February, Ship Street Centre Lecture Theatre, Jesus College, Oxford

 • Grandville and the Anthropomorphic Tradition, led by Bryan Talbot, and The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia take place on Friday 2nd March (5.15pm to 6.45pm), Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG

• TORCH is online at http://torch.ox.ac.uk

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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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