2017 - Archive

Under the hood - articles from the past.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Short Run Comix and Arts Festival

As part of my trip to Seattle last weekend for ICAF, the International Comics Art Forum, I made my way out to Seattle Center for the Short Run Comix and Arts Festival.

I was amazed and delighted at just how many independent comics creators were there selling their work, and thoroughly pleased to see such a huge turnout of people checking out the event.

The highlight for me was the artists' talks, starting with Emil Ferris and Leela Corman. I'm a big fan of Ferris's My Favorite Thing is Monsters, so it was great to get some insights into her creative process.

This was followed by a talk with Joe Sacco and Jesus Cossio about comics journalism, which was fascinating.

I also managed to get my copy of Bitch Planet signed by Kelly Sue DeConnick before her talk, which has the best inscription ever:

 ...All in all an amazing event. I've always loved Seattle! So if you ever get a chance to visit while Short Run is on then you simply have to swing by.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Spirit of Inquiry award

I'm thrilled to have received DePaul University's 2017 'Spirit of Inquiry' award for excellence in research. The award honors "the spirit of creative inquiry, which we endeavor to inspire in our students," and I'm truly proud to have been given this award in recognition of my scholarly work. Thank you to my nominees, the College of Communication and DePaul's University Research Council for this great honor.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

VHS... Nevermore!

I've had a hard time letting go of my VHS tape collection the past few years... I have so many films on tape, some that took years to find in the pre-internet-shopping era, that I hoped to keep playing them for years to come. Some of these films aren't even available on DVD... many were special orders from private collectors. But the time has come to accept that I can't play my VHS tapes anymore... because the machine in my office has started 'eating' them.

Here's a pic of my circa-2010 combo-deck DVD/VCR player feasting on a copy of the rarer-than-rare 1915 silent proto-horror movie The Raven: The Life of Edgar Allan Poe.

Now I need to track down a bootleg DVD which will surely be of the same print-quality as my now-chomped tape... Sigh.

I used to love playing VHS clips in class. You cue the clip up beforehand, pop it in and then you're instantly watching the film. No DVD start-up menu, no navigating through a choose-a-scene menu... no ads before a Youtube video starts playing (..."your education brought to you by: these fine corporations...").


Double sigh.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Corner-Store Comics!!

I used to love going to different corner stores when I was a kid... the early '80's was a time when you didn't have a comic shop in every town, they were a special trip for many suburban kids like me. But you had the corner store and its random assortment of titles... you never knew what they'd have, and each store had a different assortment depending on what the owner thought would sell. But there would usually be something cool, something I didn't expect to find or didn't know existed. Now there's Previews catalogues and Internet new release lists. But back then, you just showed up and discovered what they had.

...So imagine my surprise when I found out that my own local corner store, not three short blocks from my house, carries shrink-wrapped packs of comics from the 1980s, right there n the magazine stand. I don't know why. I don't know how. But there they are. Once it was a pack of Firestorm comics. Once it was a pack of Star Comics. Another time it was some Star Trek issues. And now, Thor comics and Power Man & Iron Fist books circa 1983. It's like I'm a kid again.., except this time I'm buying beer instead of a slushie (....but still buying candy!!... and if they had slushies, I'd still buy those too...). I have no idea where they get them from. I don't care. I just enjoy buying comics from my local corner store and reliving my glory days!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Comics Studies Society

I'm honored to have been recently elected to the executive board of the Comics Studies Society by its membership. As your new Member At Large, I will strive to promote comics studies at the institutional level, at conferences and conventions, comic shops and web forums, in the streets and on all planes, trains and public transportation (where I have often discussed comics with the curious strangers looking over my shoulder at what I'm reading).

Thank you for your vote of confidence, and I look forward to serving the CSS over the next two years!

To join the Comics Studies Society, visit our website: http://www.comicssociety.org/membership/

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

iNKS Vol. 1, No. 1 - Comics and Methodology

I'm very proud to be a part of the debut issue of iNKS: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society.


In it, I moderate a roundtable discussion entitled “Comics and Methodology” between Bart Beaty, Scott Bukatman, Henry Jenkins and Benjamin Woo. The discussion first took place at the 2016 Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference, and was then edited (by both Woo and myself) and expanded for the first issue of iNKS. The panelists discuss the various methods involved in both teaching and researching comics as well as how interdisciplinarity is involved, the state of the field of comics studies and academic publishing therein, different audiences targeted by comics scholarship and more.

The roundtable can accessed via Project Muse (access required):

To join the Comics Studies Society:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Batmen & Robins on Forklifts!

Sometimes when you're playing with your three-year old son, things just get goofy.

Fisher Price forklifts + Batman '66 toys + Kenner-Super-Powers Robin + Who-the-Hell-Knows Batman = fun for the whole family... or really just the Y-chromosome-bearers of my household...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Watchmen 'In Focus'

Cinema Journal Vol. 56, No. 2 features an 'In Focus' section devoted to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's Watchmen, which I edited and wrote an introduction for.


In Focus is a regular feature of Cinema Journal in which several short essays examine a case study from multiple perspectives. Mark J.P. Wolf, Aaron Taylor, Drew Morton, Kathryn Frank and Dana Polan look at Watchmen's role within film, media and comics studies, with ideas about canonization, world-building, transmedia, adaptation, digital comics, authorship and academia. 

The full section can be found here: http://www.cmstudies.org/?page=cj_in_focus

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Support Your Local Library...

I don't geek-out very often. Having lived in Vancouver for so long you get used to seeing famous actors filming scenes in the streets, where you work, etc. But when I opened up my local library's newsletter and saw the notice about my 'Meet the Author' talk about Movie Comics, imagine my fanboy-ish surprise to see my face next to Gene Yang's for his (absolutely guaranteed to be so much better attended) talk.

I just saw Gene do a great talk this past summer at the Children's Literature Association conference in Columbus, Ohio, and we even crossed paths in the hallway of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library (but he was busy heading somewhere so I continued on my way).

If you ever get a chance to see Gene talk about his work, you should jump at the chance. If you ever have to choose between seeing Gene talk about his work or me talking about mine, choose Gene. If you ever see him in in a hallway, he seems like he'd be cool with you saying hello.