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[personal profile] loolaa
I spent Thursday and Friday attending conferences, specifically conferences about comics. I had no idea what to expect but I definitely didn’t expect them to be so academic. Though you’d think the words ‘conference’ and ‘forum’ might have alerted me to this. I had no idea the academic world was even interested. Perhaps it isn’t. And that was the obvious focus of the event. To get academics interested in comics together and to discuss them.
Of course I’m not an academic. I’m far from intellectual. Too much thinking and concentrating gives me a headache, as evidenced by the end of these two days. Though admittedly the first day may have been caffeine withdrawal, which I rectified on the second. When I did my A-Levels I wrote an essay about comics. I can’t remember what mark I got. I don’t think it was very good. But then none of my A-Level marks were any good. Because, and I’ll keep repeating this, I’m not academic. When I studied Animation the academic side (ie: the pesky writing part we had to do) was on Art History (which was pretty standard for practically all art course back then I think) and not on Animation. This is why I dropped out after two years. (Avery’s pathetic college problems were all about me in Ave’s Story.)
And now, fifteen years later, academics are rattling on about comics. I’m not objecting. It’s good that comics are being taken seriously. If comic theory existed when I was at university it’s likely I wouldn’t have dropped out. Hell, if the writing had actually been about animation on my animation course it’s likely that I wouldn’t have dropped out too. And I’d have taken a course about comics over a course in animation any day. More on that in a minute.

But wow. How much of those forums were completely over my head? In all seriousness I’d say about fifty percent of it. Personally, I’d call a lot of it jargon. But then, I’m not an academic. To an academic it is normal. Though one of them did point out (after a fellow ‘practitioner’, not ‘theorist’ vocalised my own thoughts) that even among academics the same word might mean a different thing relative to their specific areas of study.

So why have I attended the entirety of both days and not walked out after the first panel on day one? (other than the fact that the ticket was £15 for 2 days and godamn I’m gonna get my money’s worth) Well, because it was about comics and comics are something that I’ve always loved. I’ve read them and drawn them for as long as I can remember and occasionally put them online, ie: the tmnt fanart comics. So naturally I’m willing to sit thought a whole load of theoretical waffle just because there are a load  of people talking about the thing I love most. More than cartoons, music, film or TV. (Oh but maybe not video games. You got me there.) Even if they are talking seriously.

Thursday’s Conference was ‘Women In Comics II’ (I was held last year and III will be held in Glasgow so I doubt I’ll attend.) It was very interesting. All of the panels I saw were interesting but I missed two because two coincided in the morning and afternoon. Friday’s conference was ‘Theory and Practice’.

I am amazed that I attended though. The forums are part of ‘Thought Bubble’ the Leeds Comic Convention which I attended yesterday (more on that later) and I missed it last year by a week so I was determined to go this year, booking annual leave and everything. Of course I still had to FORCE myself to attend. I wanted to go. But I couldn’t be arsed. I wanted to go. But could I really be arsed? I wanted to go, but still kept putting off and putting off booking tickets in advance just in case I didn’t go. I had to make a special effort. Setting my alarm for 7am on lovely annual leave days off and kicking myself out of bed. It probably sounds weird. I’m not agoraphobic or anything. I just don’t like to go out. It can be a bit of an issue, but if there’s something I really want to do it makes it a little easier but even then it’s not easy. Especially if it’s something far away. I don’t actually know how to explain this problem or how debilitating it even is. I mean, I bet you think ‘mph why can’t you just go’ but honestly it’s not that easy.  So on Thursday morning I convinced myself to get up and get ready without faffing and to go out. I made the bus, but there was something wrong with it meaning it was running late. My immediate thought? “I’m not going to get there for 10am. Oh well, just go back home. NO. Yeah. No. Yes! No…” and so on until the bus was replaced.  Once in town it was a whole lot easier. But even when I got to the Art Gallery where the conferences were being held I still almost turned back to go home because there was a barrier with a guy standing guard. First though. ‘Shit I’m in the wrong place. Just go home. No. You’re here you look stupid at least ask him.’ So I did and they let me through.
I usually listen to the ‘go home’ or more often the ‘meh don’t go out’. But I forced myself a lot to get there on Thursday.

Because I enjoyed Thursday, Friday and Saturday were a piece of piss and I didn’t do any sabotaging negative thinking at all. Well, a bit on Saturday because of the change of venue, but not much.

One of the best things about the two days was the mix of people. There were people from all over Britain, Americans, French, Irish, Danish, Swedish, a Canadian and more I’ve forgotten now.

The most interesting person in Women in Comics II (though I have to emphasise that EVERYONE was interesting!) was a woman called Maureen Burdock who emigrated from Germany to Chicago when she was little and now lives in Santa Fe. She’s working on five books called The F Word Project: Five Feminist Fables for the Twenty-first Century.
She’s completed three so far. ‘Marta and The Missing’ about the hundreds of missing women in Ciudad Juarez. ‘Mona and the Little Smile’ about a girl who was sexually abused (semi autobiographical) and ‘Maisa and the Bad Muslim Girls’ about honour killings. They’re magic realism. In each one the protagonist is the heroine that overcomes the problems being faced. They’re very surreal and kind of fun considering their serious subject matter. I bought all three I loved them so much.

And here on her website you can see the books and her gorgeously surreal artwork:  maureenburdock.com/Burdock_Fine_Art_Current.html  

Also of interest the Scandinavian group of women wanting to get female artists around the world to contribute to their comic 'Penneveninder' http://penneveninder.blogspot.com/ which mean penpal in Danish (I think). Send them a drawing and they'll send one back. :) 
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