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Blog: Grown-Up Conferencing

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Last week I spent a couple of days up in distant LEEDS, there to attend the Comics Forum conference. Short version: it was really good fun and/but felt dead GROWN UP.

The good fun part is easy to explain because it was a coming together of UK (and a few other) comics scholars to present and talk about COMICS. The Comics Studies community is exceedingly welcoming and full of ENTHUSIASM and VIM so it is always GRATE to be once more among them, especially when I get to do a presentation myself, as I did this time. It was called Three Generations Of Dennis The Menace: How Gok Wan created a new storyworld superpower and was all about how a change to the Dennis The Menace storyworld eleven years ago led to The Beano finally entering the equivalent of The Bronze AGe in US superhero comics. One big chunk of it was some MIND BLOWING revelations about continuity in Beanotown which I trailed rather heavily throughout the talk. SO heavy was this trailering that I started to worry that I might be over-egging it, but the eventual reaction was well worth the wait. If anybody wishes to experience this experience please ask me about it next time you see me in a pub and I will be DELIGHTED to share!

The grown-up part was partly to do with the FACT that I didn't JUST tit around showing off (although OBVS I did that) but also talked about Proper Things both Comics and REF-based. However it was also to do with the dawning realisation that I was now NO LONGER one of the new young kids who were just getting stuck into their their PhD. When I HAD been in that position lots of lovely people listened to me talk about MY research, so now it was my turn to talk to THEM about what they were up to. This felt GOOD and was also EXTREMELY INTERESTING - people doing Comics Studies PhDs are doing some FASCINATING stuff!

While I was there I also popped round the corner to the venue that used to be Carpe Diem, a place we had played MANY times back in the day. It was almost entirely different to how it had been back then, with far fewer underage drinkers and fights, but a lot more Street Food and Craft Ales, although weirdly the raised area where the stage had been set up was still in place. It was actually really nice and I went there TWICE for some lovely pizza and some Surprisingly Delicious alcohol free IPA.

Back at the conference I also had various CONVERSATIONS about the next PROJECT what I am thinking up, which will be based around my BOOK what is coming out next year, which I guess is even MORE grown-up than the rest of it. It was an all-round DELIGHTFUL couple of days anyway, and it's made me PINE for the next one!

posted 13/11/2023 by MJ Hibbett

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