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Bruce Mutard: upcoming comics symposium

Hello all you inkers and thinkers,

By now you may have heard something on the grapevine about an interdisciplinary academic comics symposium called Inkers and Thinkers – the Evolution of Comics. Apologies if you have and don’t care, but for those who are curious, read on. It’s the spawn of an affair between the University of Adelaide’s Discipline of Media and the J M Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice (what you can do when you win a Nobel Prize, eh?)

It’s on at the University of Adelaide on 4 April 2014. It is a one day gabfest that brings many of the foremost thinkers and not a few inkers to talk about the medium we love, comics, to discuss its newly acquired space in Australian culture and what challenges and possibilities face it in the coming years. I will be giving the keynote speech – A State of the Comics Nation address- which will cite contemporary comics making in this country within its recent history, the global marketplace and then pull no punches in describing where I think it should go, why and some ideas about how to get there. Bring shoes to throw!

Other speakers are:

  • Antonia Cavic – Exploration of the use of the internet and social media to distribute manga and yaoi in Russia to avoid censorship
  • Annick Pellegrin – Exploration of the impact of social media to comic narratives through case study
  • Enrique Del Rey Cabero – Analysis of the comic book industry in Spain with comparisons to Australia
  • Gabriel Clark – On the way live-readings of comics at conferences etc changes our understanding of what a comic is and how it works
  • David Blumenstein – On the experience of running the Squishface Studios workspace in Australia
  • Elizabeth Macfarlane – Difference between style and voice in comics and prose through case study of Bruce Mutard’s ‘Bermuda Triangle’ and Adrian Tomine’s ‘Echo Ave’
  • Brigid Maher – Analysis of Joe Sacco and the practice of comics journalism
  • Bernard Caleo – Analysis of the way comics, through structure and page design in ‘Blue’ and ‘The Long Weekend in Alice Springs’ use landscape to form part of the story and readers interact with landscape  differently to other media
  • Can Yalcinkya – On the experience of organising and collaborating on #ResistComics anthology and comics in a digital environment
  • Jeanne-Marie Viljoen – Exploration of how comics work through analysis of the film and comics versions of Waltz With Bashir
  • Amy Maynard – way Australian creators utilise Twitter for networking and social captial purposes.
  • Aaron Humphrey – Analysis of educational comics and how they have evolved, comparison between how educational comics work and textbooks
  • Troy Mayes – Analysis of creator’s working on digital comics talk and the way creator’s talk about comics works to shape our understanding of ‘what a comic is and does’

There will also be a screening of Bernard Caleo and Dan Hayward’s Graphic Novels! Melbourne! doco from 8pm.

It’ll run from 9am where it’s tea and bikkies while we register and wet our lips for what’s to come (no, no, not like THAT!)

I’m on at 10am and then it’s the above until 6pm. Lunch will be provided!

And you know what’s one of the best things about it aside from all the mind-expanding new knowledge about comics you’ll get?


Yup, you read that right (or left if you’re a pinko). Won’t cost you your pinkie.

AND NO, you don’t have to be an academic to come along. We want anyone who loves comics, makes comics or is even simply curious about the medium to come along and not only hear what we have to say, but have your say, too. Simply put your hand up when question times arise; there’ll be lots of those – and then there’s the tea breaks and the drinks thereafter.

So, run along to this site and register so that you’ll be let in and I’ll see you there.

Bruce Mutard

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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