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1: Programs [clear filter]
Friday, March 23

1:00pm PDT

Comics Arts Conference Session #1: What Is a Supervillain?
The greatest superheroes face rogue’s galleries full of colorful foes. What makes a great supervillain? How evil do they have to be? Are they truly insane or just having fun? Travis Langley (Daredevil Psychology: The Devil You Know; Wonder Woman Psychology: Lassoing the Truth), Peter Coogan (Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre), Kathleen McClancy (Texas State University), and Alan Kistler (Doctor Who: A History) offer a look at the history of supervillains and an exploration of what they really are. Find out which came first—the superhero or the villain—and which one needs the other more.

Friday March 23, 2018 1:00pm - 2:00pm PDT
Room 210

2:00pm PDT

Comics Arts Conference Session #2: Comics in the World
Can comic books make a difference in people's lives? How might we use them to make the world better? Jessica Motherwell McFarlane (Justice Institute of British Columbia; Life Outside the Box) describes how graphic narratives can help people practice moving from bystanders to upstanders to stop social injustices and bullying. Megan Hoelting (Northwest Missouri State University) uses Lumberjanes to explore youth agency, analyzing comics for survival stories, mythology adaptations, and LGBTQ accounts of 'coming out.' Victoria Minnich recorded her daily observations as the only woman among male deckhands, through the visual language of comics. Rachel Branham (Marblehead High School; What's So Great About Art, Anyway? A Teacher's Odyssey) applies visual narrative in public education for 21st-century skills.

Friday March 23, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm PDT
Room 210

3:30pm PDT

Comics Arts Conference Session #3: With Great Power Comes Great Pedagogy: Teaching, Learning, and Comic Books
Eisner Award winner Susan Kirtley (Lynda Barry: Girlhood through the Looking Glass) brings together diverse voices to explore the power and potential of comics in education today. Antero Garcia (Stanford University) offers an overview of the need for comics teaching methodology. Peter Carlson (Green Dot Public Schools) presents examples of comics used in South Central L.A. classrooms to impact reading and empower students. Bart Beaty (University of Calgary) speculates on how scholars and educators can embrace online tools and incorporate comics beyond the "typical." Ben Bolling (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) describes a class in which students engage the Batman mythos in print, radio, television, film, music, and other media.

Friday March 23, 2018 3:30pm - 4:30pm PDT
Room 210
Saturday, March 24

10:30am PDT

Comics Arts Conference Session #4: Comic Monsters
Michele Brittany (Horror in Space: Critical Essays on a Film Subgenre) uses historical and intertextual approaches to identify themes and tropes in comic books featuring the mummy as the main character. James R. Thompson (Comic Book Historians Group) examines how techniques of the comics form are used to represent "Authority" in the police interrogation scene from diverse comic book adaptations of Poe's "A Tell-Tale Heart." Nicholas Diak (The New Peplum: Essays on Sword and Sandal Films and Television Programs Since the 1990s) employs concepts such as gender representation and the hero's journey to explore how Dynamite Comics's Re-Animater series reimagines and subverts H. P. Lovecraft's "Herbert West–Reanimator."

Saturday March 24, 2018 10:30am - 12:00pm PDT
Room 210

12:00pm PDT

Comics Arts Conference Session #5: Borders and Liminal Spaces
Andrew Barton (Texas State University) examines how Dr. Strange's straddling of the borders between magic and medicine in Dr. Strange: The Oath can enhance our understanding of the interplay between the scientific and the fantastic. Lillian Martinez (Texas State University) details how Saga's star-crossed love story reveals the potentialities unleashed when sexual acts transgress the binaries and borders of war. Sean Rachel Mardell (Texas State University) argues that Frank Castle's arc in The Punisher (2014–2015 series) and his inevitable inability to escape his "punishing'" nature connects with the inherent link between whiteness and the imperialistic past and present. Michael Gonzales (Texas State University) uses DC: The New Frontier as a case study to examine how the "Freak Lab Accident" trope in origin stories is a liminal event between humanity and superhumanity, heroism and villainy.

Saturday March 24, 2018 12:00pm - 1:30pm PDT
Room 210

1:30pm PDT

Comics Arts Conference Session #6: Comics and Women
This panel presents four approaches to considering the representations of women in comics. Resisting the subsuming of female heroes under masculine identities, Megan Vinson (Indiana University Bloomington) examines what happens in Greek drama, comics, and contemporary superhero films when the mother-figure is embraced, rather than rejected, in constructing heroic forms. Olivia Hicks (University of Dundee) looks at how British superheroine Valda from the anthology Mandy showcases the fascinating and complex process of repurposing characters within a gendered context, and asks how Mandy adapts and reconstructs genre and gender in the British superhero sports story. Sean O'Brien (Wayne State University) studies Geek Feminism as a subculture with critical components in the production of comics, the consumption of comics, and as subject matter. Monica Geraffo (Fashion Institute of Technology) unpacks Storm’s makeover in The Uncanny X-Men #173 from cape to punk streetwear, a fan-favorite depiction that would become both synonymous with her character and a visual representation of a society in transition.

Saturday March 24, 2018 1:30pm - 3:00pm PDT
Room 210
Sunday, March 25

11:30am PDT

Comics Arts Conference Session #7: Countercultures
Jennifer Henriquez (California State University–Dominguez Hills) explores how King and Hernandez's Vision emphasizes the underlying problems nondominant race groups face in integrating and upholding class structures that do not address social, civil, and economic disadvantages common to marginalized groups. Brenda Bran (California State University, Dominguez Hills) looks at Rivera and Quinones's America, examining how America disrupts the dominant white heteronormative narratives pervasive in both canonical literature and the comic industry. Salvatore Russo (Long Beach City College) argues that, despite being separated through medium and culture, Superman in Kesel and Ordway's World Without Superman and All Might in Korikoshi and Cook's My Hero Academia allow readers to explore and dispel myths associated with marginalization. Terri Fleming-Dright (California State University, Dominguez Hills) argues that the character of Amanda Waller in DC Bombshells reinforces stereotypes and tropes that surround African American women, despite being presented as a counter-narrative because of her position as the leader of the Bombshells.

Sunday March 25, 2018 11:30am - 1:00pm PDT
Room 210

1:00pm PDT

Comics Arts Conference Session #8: Race, Horror, and Comics with John Jennings
The genre of horror can be a useful tool to unravel some of the complex systems surrounding representations of race and how to unpack how those systems cause serious complications in the lives of real people. We can see the simmering tensions between white liberal ideologies and the lived fears of black people in Jordan Peele's film Get Out (2017); traumas of sexual abuse, suicide, and familial upheaval in Where Children Play (2015); and fears around the erasure of white identity and interracial sexual tensions in Clive Barker's Candyman (1992). Join WonderCon special guest John Jennings (Kindred; University of California at Riverside) for a conversation that takes inspirations from such cinematic narratives and pushes them into the surreal world of the graphic novel, focusing on how comics and graphic novels have created ample spaces to critique systems of racism. Frances Gateward (California State University at Northridge) moderates.

Sunday March 25, 2018 1:00pm - 2:00pm PDT
Room 210

2:00pm PDT

Comics Arts Conference Session #9: Comics and History
How have comic books influenced and been influenced by their historical context? Sydney Heifler (The University of Oxford) argues that 1950s romance comics reflected normative, anti-feminist, and societal stereotypes and expectations of the Cold War era as espoused by the white male writers, becoming anti-feminist tools to teach women about their roles in society. Christopher Sperandio (Rice University) discusses a new museum exhibition that presents the art of Mexican comics in the context of other global comic book trends of the time, in particular the nearly forgotten "micro-comic." Kathleen McClancy (Texas State University) examines how Jones and Rich's Lady Killer is emblematic of the ways in which comics as a medium can challenge the ideological uses of nostalgia through its refusal to engage in the reification of history.

Sunday March 25, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm PDT
Room 210