Graphic Brighton: Drawing in the Margins
Sallis Benney Theatre, University of Brighton, 58-67 Grand Parade BN2 0JY
01/05/15 and 02/05/15
Two days of academic talks on the subject of the marginalised voice in comics.
Good talks, good chats outside the talks and some good beers after the talks!
Friday night’s Gay Manga panel (Emma Vieceli, Inko, Chie Kutsuwada and Ilya, moderated by Alex Fitch) was interesting in itself, but especially notable for how often the panelists had to return to discussing the definitions of different manga categories. Even ‘gay manga’ is too broad with numerous variations on the theme.
Quick Strips, which followed, was largely a forum for Myriad Publishing authors to talk through their recent projects, but a few of the speakers did step outside of ‘precis mode’ ~ particularly Hannah Eaton, Danny Noble and Fraser Geesin.
The comics dynamo that is Karrie Fansman was interviewed by Time Pilcher to set the tone on Saturday.
Muna Al Jawad, Corinne Pearlman and Julian Hanshaw shared a stage for ‘Can’t we talk about something more pleasant? Older people and comics’. Corrinne gave us an overview of representations of the elderly in comic form; Julian talked through the thinking behind his upcoming Tim Ginger book, which imagines himself as a septuagenarian; Muna described her method of using cartoons in workshops and had us pair off to draw ‘a memory of an old person’, which images were then discussed to tease out unspoken and unexpected attitudes to ageing.
Ilya (above, looking more puzzled than sincere which was the sketch I was intending to make) and Nye Wright hosted ‘Street Dwellers’: a lively panel asking if the homeless have a voice in comics. Impassioned contributions from the audience ~ particularly Kate Evans on who owns an individual’s story ~ made this one panel that stuck in the memory. I thought the two leads handled it with grace and compassion, even when challenged on the ethics of depicting real people without their permission or knowledge…
Bumps, Births and early Motherhood in comics and graphic novels (phew!) was very rewarding. I’ve enjoyed Francesca Cassavetti’s personal memoir comics for a few years now and her fellow panelists Henny Beaumont and Kate Evans had me noting down there titles to seek out later.
Daniel Locke and John Higgins and Hannah Berry – in the same sketchbook, but were they spotted at Graphic Brighton or some other event? This blog is catching up with things…
A much stronger second year for Graphic Brighton. Running parallel streams of talks is frustrating when interests overlap, but demonstrates how much ground there is to cover. Most panels seemed to be recorded, possibly video’d, so hopefully they will be made available online soon through Graphic Brighton or the Panelborders podcast.
Bring on Year 3 – tentatively themed War (& Peace, following comments at the closing session, we hope)