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Blog: Comics Conferring

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I spent most of last week in the city of Manchester for the International Graphic Novels And Comics Conference. It was a whole WEEK of people talking about comics in a scholarly way, which was a) fun but also b) a LOT!

Manchester, it turns out, is quite an expensive place to stay in, so to save money on my accomodation I ended up having to set off on Monday morning rather than staying the night before. It was VERY early - registration was at 9am so I had to get up at 5AM IN THE MORNING to catch the 6.36am train - but it all went fine and I made it to venuew good time. It carried on being fine until lunchtime when I realised I was KNACKERED and so went off to my hotel to a) check in b) have a NAP.

I stayed in the Premier Inn in Media City, which was very pleasant, just about affordable, but a LONG way away. It took me about an hour to get between my room and the conference each day, but the good part about that was that I got to go on the TRAMS every time - I do like trams and these were dead good ones. It was also Quite Exciting being in Media City, especially in the mornings when I'd put BBC Breakfast telly on and think "That's just round the corner from here!"

The conference was about Comics and Transmedia which should have been RIGHT up my alley (NB my PhD is all about Doctor Doom and Transmedia) but, as ever with this sort of thing, in many cases people had thought "How on earth can I make MY research sound relevant?" and just said "storyworld" a couple of times while doing the traditional Here Is A Comic What I Have Read presentation. I was a bit disappointed also that TWO of the FOUR main people I wanted to see had dropped out since I registered, but the TWO I DID want to see were GRATE - I didn't learn a whole lot of NEW stuff from their talks, but it was EXTREMELY reassuring to UNDERSTAND about 90% of what they were on about and know that I was thus on the right tracks!

Away from my Subject Area there were LOTS of very interesting talks, notably one that told me Alfred E Neumann existed before MAD Magazine, and another that PROVED that me and Steve's shows were ENTIRELY in the vein of RADICAL FRINGE THEATRE. Infuriatingly though, one of the best and most interesting talks was by one of my own supervisors, who talked about using Art Historical Techniques to show the similarities between Mike McMahon and Brian Bolland's work on "The Cursed Earth". It was dead good, but I could have got that sort of thing back in London!

I also got to do a talk myself, in a slot at 9am on the very last day, which actually worked out well as a) only people REALLY interested in Marvel Comics And Transmedia could come b) the person before me in the session gave a REALLY interesting talk about Marvel Legacy and Marvel Now! and then c) the final person didn't show up so d) we had plenty of time for a LENGTHY discussion with the aforesaid ENGAGED audience members. It was brillo!

An interesting thing I discovered was a shop called BOOTHS which is apparently known as "The Waitrose Of The North" because it TOTALLY IS. Next time someone from The North claims that Southern people are too posh I shall highlight my knowledge of this fact. They're all eating focaccia up there!

I did manage to CARVE OUT some spare time for myself over the week, especially on Wednesday when I did a LOT of work on The Book (which is now onto - hopefully - final re-writes) and then ended up going back to the hotel to watch THE FOOTBALL. Here is my excellent joke about The Lionesses: "They are so GRATE at The Football, you might almost forget that they are ... (pause for effect) ... ENGLISH". Thank you very much! My other joke is an HILARIOUS RIFF around the idea of having "Comics Studies Bingo" where (HOLD ONTO YOUR SIDES) once you have ticked off all the buzzword you shout... "MAUS!"


It was a very good, very interesting week, but I tell you what, I was glad to get back on the train when it was all over. It made my BRANE hurt!

posted 1/7/2019 by MJ Hibbett

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