‘Comics and the Multimodal World’ runs from June 13 to 16
By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor
For the first time ever this June, Douglas College, in collaboration with comic book blogs Graphixia and The Comics Grid, will be holding an on-campus comics conference. Graphixia is run in part by three Douglas English professors: Brenna Clarke Gray, Peter Wilkins, and David Wright, and together they’ve brought the conference, Comics and the Multimodal World, to its fruition.
From June 13 to 16, the conference offers four days of comic book education, conversation, and indulgence. Comics and the Multimodal World will feature over 20 guests presenting original works and interestingly a number of papers and essays written by the guests—many of whom are professors from around the world—on the topics of specific comics, styles, and characters. Two of the featured guests will be presenting keynotes, one on June 14 by Bart Beaty, head of the English Department at the University of Calgary and has written several books on the topic of comics (and other forms of media), and on June 15 by Sarah Leavitt, whose first graphic novel Tangles: A story about Alzheimer’s, my mother, and me, was published in 2010.
While the conference serves interest for students who are keen on the subject, the goal of Comics and the Multimodal World is to raise involvement by students (and others) who question the place of comic books in educational settings. The conference includes several roundtables, seminars, film viewings, and many paper sessions, in which the topics of the essays and papers written by the guests will be discussed. These sessions will range in topics from comics in film, biographical comics, post-secondary institutions with comics programs, war and the concept of heroism, and gender in comics.
Each of these paper sessions is an invitation to discuss these topics in regards to the comic book world, and to remind its audience that this particular media form can serve properly as an educational tool. Wright and Wilkins have already proven this by assigning students comic readings in some of their English courses here at Douglas—your time as a student here is not fulfilled until you’ve written an essay on Batman.
With Douglas serving as the event’s venue, sessions, roundtables, and talks throughout the conference will take place on the New Westminster campus in Lecture Theatre 2201 and the Aboriginal Gathering Place. Each day of the conference starts at 8:30 a.m. and run all day on June 13, 14, and 15, with an early noon ending on June 16, where Wilkins will offer closing remarks on the experience.
Tickets can be purchased through http://comics2013.eventbrite.ca/, and something extremely important to note—and to serve as a final reminder that the event is focused on education—Douglas College students can attend the entire conference for free! Students still need to register through the link above, but it won’t cost them anything. I encourage students to take full advantage of this opportunity; events like Comics and the Multimodal World can normally cost quite a bit of money (registration price for the full conference is $55), so it’s important to recognize the offer provided here for the student body. Be sure to bring your notepad and thinking cap, and I’ll hopefully see you there!