Panel Presentation at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Annual Conference in Boston

I apologize for the delay in updating this blog. I’ve been very busy over the past several months, but I promise, I haven’t forgotten about you!

Among the many responsibilities I’ve been handling (including finally completing my MFA thesis–I defend next Thursday), I had an amazing opportunity to present research on Comics as a Legitimate form of Literature at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Annual Conference and Bookfair in Boston earlier this month.

Here is the abstract for the entire panel:

S211. Video Games, Fan Fiction, & Comics: Alternative Genres as Legitimate Literature

Alternative forms of narrative are often perceived with disdain or suspicion even though they address the same plots, themes, and conditions of respectable literary forms. Comics have begun to break away from this stigma, but what about more mainstream genres, such as fan fiction and video games? How do all three of these alternative forms both threaten and reinforce ideas about originality and narrative? This panel will make the case for alternative genres as creative literature.

Presenting the panel was an absolutely thrilling experience. At first, we weren’t sure what to expect. Would only 16 people show up? Would 200? I prepared for the panel as if I was giving a lecture to my students in a small classroom of 25. (This is something I’m very comfortable with.) I wrote out what I wanted to say beforehand, but gave myself some freedom to talk off the page. Since comics are such a visual medium, I put together a simple PowerPoint to accompany what I said.

When I showed up to the venue with my fellow panelists, we were a bit overwhelmed. There was a huge line of people waiting to enter. Before we got started, almost all of the seats were full, we had people standing in the back, people sitting in the aisles and up front. I’m really bad at estimating numbers of people in a room, but I’ve heard numbers of around 200-300 people were in attendance, which is mind-blowing to me. And is also incredibly flattering.

The panel went rather smoothly. Toward the end we had some technical difficulties (my netbook disconnected from the Internet halfway through a presentation that required a Prezi) but we made do without it. For about 45 minutes afterward, we were still talking to people that attended our panel, and as we walked through the bookfair later that afternoon, we received several compliments on the success of our panel. In short, the panel was very well-received, and for that I am grateful.

If you’d like to hear the audio from the entire panel, here it is:

You’ll have to excuse my horrendous pronunciation of Latin and French terms. At the end, you can also hear some of the more personal Q&As that went on afterward (I forgot to stop recording on my phone). I apologize for this. And as I mentioned earlier, this panel was also accompanied by a PowerPoint (from myself) and a Prezi (from Kirsten, who spoke about Video Games).

I’m currently in the process of organizing and proposing another panel strictly on comics for next year–hopefully it is accepted. :)

If you have any comments, suggestions, or anything else, please comment! I’d love to hear what you have to contribute. Let’s keep this conversation open!

Since my thesis is done and the semester is coming to an end, hopefully I’ll be able to update this blog more often and continue chronicling my growth as a cartoonist and writer. Thank you for your patience and support!

Edit: I’ve finally added a link to the PowerPoint on Comics!

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