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Friday, April 3
 

12:30pm

Comics Arts Conference Session #1: Superheroes Before Superman
An aristocrat dresses in a weird batlike costume and fights evil. Batman? Nope; it's Spring-Heeled Jack from the 19th century. A genius uses weaponized armor to battle bad guys. Iron Man? Nope; it's the Flaming Avenger from 1933. Who were the superheroes before Superman? Peter Coogan (Washington University, St. Louis), Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight), Molly Mahan (Dynamite Entertainment), and Chris Gavaler (Washington and Lee University) travel back before the big bang of Action Comics #1 in 1938 to examine the pulp vigilantes, mystery men, gentleman thieves, and sci-fi Ubermenschen who laid the groundwork for the superhero genre, as well as the role of eugenics in the emergence of the superhero and how these proto-superheroes are being revived today.

Friday April 3, 2015 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Room 210

1:30pm

Comics Arts Conference Session #2: Web-Spinning Heroics: Critical Essays on the History and Meaning of Spider-Man
Spider-Man has been one of the most widely known superheroes in popular culture for over 50 years. What is it about this character-based on an arachnid that most people hate or are afraid of-that has made Spider-Man resonate with the populace? Robert G. Weiner (Texas Tech University), Robert Moses Peaslee (Texas Tech University), Christina Angel (Metropolitan State University of Denver), and Hannah Means-Shannon (Bleeding Cool.com) address this issue and discuss the process of putting together the collection Web-Spinning Heroics: Critical Essays on the History and Meaning of Spider-Man (McFarland Books) and their individual contributions-"the hermeneutics of Spider-Man," Peter Parker's role in Elizabethan England from Neil Gaiman's 1602, why Mary Jane is really the only girl for Spider-Man, and how Freudian analysis can help us understand the inner workings of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films.

Friday April 3, 2015 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Room 210

2:30pm

Comics Arts Conference Session #3: Comic Futures
How do comics use the future to examine the present? Christine (Capes and Whips) explores how Sarah Stone's art in the Transformers comics Starscream and More than Meets the Eye is particularly female and queer-friendly through character design and facial expressions. Michele Brittany (Spyfi & Superspies) analyzes how Garth Ennis effectively employs space opera and horror genre tropes, with particular attention to gender identity, body transformation, and societal values. Ajani Brown (San Diego State University) uses the lens of AfroFuturism to explore what it means to be identified as "alien" or "other" in figures such as ICON, Concrete, Deathlok, Papa Midnite, and the Black Panther.

Friday April 3, 2015 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Room 210
 
Saturday, April 4
 

10:30am

Comics Arts Conference Session #4: Comic Anxieties, Comic Traumas
Erika Rothberg (Loyola Marymount University) argues that "Prisoner on the Hell Planet: A Case History" in Maus helps bridge the gap between Artie and Vladek by exposing their shared trauma and survivor's guilt and requires the reader to witness and actively interpret trauma. Christine Zabala (Texas State University) analyzes the way genre and medium enable artists such as Oscar Wilde, Shaun Tan, and Neil Gaiman to use fairy tales and comic books to present controversial views on homosexuality, immigration, and AIDS without being rejected by the societies to which they react. Deanna Rodriguez (Texas State University) compares the attributes of Captain America in his first appearances and the conflicts he faces in Ed Brubaker's run to show how a WWII icon resonates with a post-911 culture and how the anxieties facing society today mirror those of post-war America.

Saturday April 4, 2015 10:30am - 12:00pm
Room 210

12:00pm

Comics Arts Conference Session #5: Super Heroines to the Rescue!
Given the acclaim that Jill Lepore's The Secret History of Wonder Woman is receiving, the attention given to the new female Thor, a controversial Spider-Woman cover, and the burgeoning of the "Carol Corps" movement, the "super heroine" is back in the spotlight of academia and popular culture. Susan Kirtley (Portland State University), Nhora Lucía Serrano (Harvard University), and Andréa Gilroy (University of Oregon) present a roundtable exploration of representations and archetypes of the super heroine from early incarnations like Wonder Woman to the newest version of Batwoman (and beyond), in order to debate the kinship between reader expectation, popular culture, feminism, and cultural theory.

Saturday April 4, 2015 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Room 210

1:00pm

Comics Arts Conference Session #6: Spotlight on Devin Grayson
WonderCon Anaheim special guest Devin Grayson (Nightwing) discusses education, career, and the craft of writing comic books, novels, and video games. In addition to writing many DC Comics stories and creating Batman: Gotham Knights, she has scribed Marvel's Black Widow, Dynamite's Red Sonja, and more. Her Vertigo title USER was nominated for the GLAAD Outstanding Comic Book award. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology) moderates.

Saturday April 4, 2015 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Room 210

2:00pm

Comics Arts Conference Session #7: Geek Culture in Therapy: Using Comic Books, Video Games, and Other Works of Geek to Empower Others
With the rise in popularity of geek-oriented media, tomorrow's psychotherapists need new tools to bring into therapy. Patrick O'Connor (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Josué Cardona (Geek Therapy), Elizabeth Smith (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Desiree Misanko-Louvat (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Edward Perin (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), and Cary Shepard (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology) discuss classroom experiences and real-world applications of a university course, "Geek Culture in Therapy," that aims to discover culturally sensitive methods to increase rapport, examine research on fantasy, and develop techniques using comic books, video and board games, television shows, and movies to best connect with impassioned clients. They demonstrate how the course has been helpful through the presentation of case examples using geek-friendly therapy techniques.

Saturday April 4, 2015 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Room 210
 
Sunday, April 5
 

11:30am

Comics Arts Conference Session #8: The Walking Dead Psychology: Psych of the Living Dead
The Walking Dead explores ways people struggle to survive and hang onto their humanity in the worst situations. Psychology professionals Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight), Elizabeth Ann (NerdLush), Josué Cardona (Geek Therapy), Patrick O'Connor (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Billy San Juan, and Janina Scarlet (Superhero Therapy) use examples from the comics to discuss the psychology of trauma and triumph. They will be joined by novelist S. G. Browne (Breathers) and journalist Janey Tracey (Outer Places). Why do horrific circumstances bring out the worst in some people and the best in others? Is there hope?

Sunday April 5, 2015 11:30am - 12:30pm
Room 210

12:30pm

Comics Arts Conference Session #9: How Comics Work: The Span of Comics Studies
How is the study of sequential art explaining the mechanisms that make comics work? Do readers of American comics and Japanese manga use their brains differently? Do comic books naturally create a sense of community among readers in ways text-only books cannot? Do Jack Kirby's machines engage readers in ways they never knew? Neil Cohn (University of California, San Diego), Mathieu Li-Goyette (Université de Montréal), and T. Keith Edmunds (Brandon University) look into the brain, across the real world, and throughout many fictional worlds to examine how comics work for the creators they come from and the readers who consume them.

Sunday April 5, 2015 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Room 210

2:00pm

Comics Arts Conference Session #10: Teaching Comics
Comics and graphic novels are increasingly valued as a legitimate medium, both literary and visual. This panel focuses on approaches to using comics in the classroom by both teaching comics and using comics to teach. Lesley S. J. Farmer (California State University, Long Beach) describes how comics and comic cons help learners comprehend, critique, and create through the particular way comics structure knowledge. Rebecca Thompson (American Physical Society) discusses APS's series of comics designed to teach physics and demonstrates how a compelling comic story, delicately balancing education and entertainment, can excite students who might otherwise be turned off by traditional teaching. Derek Held (Temecula Valley High School) discards arbitrary limitations on which comics should be taught and demonstrates how mainstream "floppies" can be used to teach classical literary theory and critical reading skills at the secondary level.

Sunday April 5, 2015 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Room 210