Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: 2ND SEQUENTIAL ART STUDIES CONFERENCE

It was ten years ago this month that the second Sequential Art Studies Conference took place at the University of Technology, Sydney. At a time when minicomics, having blossomed throughout the 1990s, had really begun to matter in the local alternative comics scene it was billed as A Mini Conference on Minicomics and featured presentations by comics creators as well as scholars. The conference was convened by Spiros Tsaousis(now Spiros Xenos) and I and was a sequel to the first Sequential Art Studies conference held in 2002, again held in association with Supanova Pop Culture Expo. Included in the event was a minicomics market.

CALL FOR PAPERS: 2nd Sequential Art Studies Conference May 23, 2003, Sydney. The Interdisciplinary Studies Unit of the Faculty of Design at UTS (University of Technology, Sydney) http://www.uts.edu.au will again host this new scholarly conference that will be held during the same week as the Sydney Writers’ Festival. The inaugural event in 2002 attracted a small but stimulating range of papers from local academics and students and it is hoped that this year’s event will build on that. Scholars are invited to submit 250 word proposals which address alternative approaches to comics, whether local or global, recent or historical, online or offline, artistic or commercial. The conference will adopt an interdisciplinary approach and so welcomes papers from a broad range of areas. Send proposals by email to either of the conference convenors and coordinators by February 28, 2003: Michael.Hill@uts.edu.au  Spiros.Tsaousis@bigpond.com 
CONFERENCE PROGRAM: Scholarly Papers

4.00pm                Opening of Conference and Welcome Assoc. Professor Steve Harfield Assoc. Dean of Research Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building  University of Technology, Sydney

4.05pm                 The Sydney Morning Hell of Glenn Smith, Michael Hill, Interdisciplinary Studies Unit, Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building University of Technology, Sydney

4.30pm                 Fear and yearning of “manga Japan” in Australia, Craig Norris, School of Communication, Design and Media, University of Western Sydney

4.55pm                 Taming the ‘Superhuman’ Shrew: Identification with Superheroes in Comics and the Popularisation of the Human Potential Ethic, Adam Possamaï, School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Western Sydney

5.20pm                The Problem of The Yellow Kid: From Single Panels to Sequential Images, Spiros Tsaousis, La Trobe University

Craig Norris, University of Western Sydney.

Craig Norris, University of Western Sydney.

Adam Possamaï, University of Western Sydney

Adam Possamaï, University of Western Sydney

CONFERENCE PROGRAM: Artist Presentations 

6.00pm             Alex Major (Naomi and Poggie)

6.20pm             Komala Singh (Moshi Moshi)

6.40pm             Bernard Caleo (Big Cardigan Comics)

7.00pm             Katarina Knebel (Cult Fiction Comics)

7.20pm             Ben Hutchings (Geeen Comix)

7.40pm             David McDermott (Glitter Shy)

Bernard Caleo proclaimed his comics manifesto and promoted Tango.

Bernard Caleo ‘performed’ his comics manifesto and promoted Tango.

Komala Singh talking about Moshi Moshi.

Komala Singh talked about her minicomic Moshi Moshi.

David McDermott goes Glitter Shy.

David McDermott goes Glitter Shy and had some pages ‘performed’ live in his presentation with lines read to projected images of panels.

Chloe Lyttle introducing David Maccad.

Chloe Lyttle introducing David Maccad.

Ben Hutchings going Geeen!

Ben Hutchings going Geeen!

Katarina Knebel talks Cult Fiction Comics.

Katarina Knebel talks Cult Fiction Comics.

Alex Major describes Naomi and Poggie.

Alex Major describes his minicomic Naomi and Poggie.

Minicomics market at the conferece.

Minicomics market at the conference.

This is the thirteenth in a series of posts called Archives of Australian Comics History that document moments in the recent history of Australian comics, particularly alternative comics and the Australian Small Press. I started researching this subject in the late 1990s and it eventually led to my PhD thesis: Ph.D. Macquarie University, Division of Society, Culture, Media and Philosophy,  A Study Of Contemporary Australian Alternative Comics 1992-2000 With Particular Reference To The Work Of Naylor, Smith, Danko And Ord, 2003. On completion of the research I donated the materials and comics I had collected to the National Library of Australia: Michael Hill Collection of Australian Comics.

Posts in Archives of Australian Comics History:   Comic-Fest   Comics  in Record Shops   Comics Workshops   Down Under Ground   Getting SMASH(ed)!   Imaginary Worlds Symposium    International Exhibition of Drawings   OZCON   Mind Rot   Savage Pencils   Sick Puppy Comix   TiNA Arena   MCA Zine Fair   2002 Sequential Art Studies Conference   2nd Sequential Art Studies Conference

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics: TiNA ARENA

1999 event: Outsider meetings. (Photo by Louise Graber)

On Sunday 27th September 1998, I drove from Sydney to Newcastle to attend the two sessions devoted to the discussion of comics at the inaugural National Young Writers’ Festival. Accompanying me were three active members of the Sydney ‘small press’: Stuart Stratu, Anton Emdin and Ross Tesoriero. With there having been all too few formal attempts to discuss and promote ‘small press’ activity we were impressed with the novelty of the event, its inclusion in a writers’ festival and with the fact that it was actually taking place, if a little curious as to why the organisers had by-passed Sydney and only invited Melbourne and Canberra based creators. Nevertheless we were enthused enough to make the trip as it offered a rare opportunity to meet with colleagues from interstate, many of whom, although familiar with their work, we had never met.

1999 event: Tim Danko, Stuart Stratu, Q-Ray and Kieran Mangan. (Photo by Louise Graber)

1999 event: Michael Fikaris(Froth) reading minicomic. (Photo by Louise Graber).

1999 event: Carol Wood and Susan Butcher aka Pox Girls reading minicomics. (Photo by Louise Graber)

The organizational aspects improved considerably over the next few years and the festival developed, expanded and diversified. Originally called the National Young Writers’ Festival it became part of the umbrella event TiNA, the acronym for This is Not Art. This has become a multidisciplinary event in the week leading up to and across the October holiday weekend and has spread around Newcastle which has become the TiNa Arena. During the weekend the city becomes a catchment area for visiting youth from a range of artistic, literary, music and media fields from all over Australia. I attended five consecutive events from 1998 to  2002 by which time comics discussions had moved into the Town Hall. A high point for comics creators is the annual comic and zine fair held on the Sunday afternoon. This was a busy trading and swapping event first staged in the park across the road then subsequently moved into the Mission theatre with accompanying live music.

1999 event: Anton Emdin(If Pain Persists) with Lewis P. Morley and Marilyn Pride(Red World Komics). (Photo by Louise Graber)

1999 event: Tim Danko(Dead Xerox Press) and Stuart Stratu(Sick Puppy Comix). (Photo by Louise Graber)

On arrival in the city that afternoon in 1998 we easily found the centre of activities laid out in various sumptuously appointed rooms of the Newcastle Town Hall and Civic Centre. There were panels and presentations in the Banquet Room, the Function Rooms and some impressively attired Committee Rooms in the Council Chambers and also at the nearby Wintergarden Cafe. We were, however, unable to find the venue for the discussion of comics, so we asked for that information and were directed out of the main building, out the back and there it was, a modest room with plastic chairs, and an insufficient number of them at that, so a few attendees sat on the floor. No podium, no lectern, no microphone, no monitor, no vcr, no whiteboard, no jug of water, no media nor reporters were present. Furthermore, this was not a seminar but a workshop. Comics were not so much to be discussed as produced and if there was to be any discourse it would be on matters of production rather than on content, or so it seemed. Then I realised how appropriate all of this was in the then current scheme of things. It was the perfect venue at a writers’ festival for the discussion of comics because it indicated just how marginalised the form was. The established, pure literary forms such as the novel and poetry headed the hierarchy. Even emerging word based forms such as e-mail and writing textual content for the Internet and journalism had superior status and were located in the main hall. But comics and zines, not being part of the mainstream, were out the back and out of sight.

1999 event: Happy Pox Girl Susan Butcher. (Photo by Louise Graber)

1999 event: Q-Ray(The Comic Messiah) and Kieran Mangan(Urrgh). (Photo by Louise Graber)

Interested (Photo by Louise Graber)

Interested (Photo by Louise Graber)

Things changed over the subsequent years. We’ve had comics events at the Sydney Opera House with international guests but it was so different back then, so ‘underground’, so beneath the radar. Comics were even made during the event in a ramshackle upstairs, cut and paste graphics studio called Octapod where minicomics filled were produced. At the 1999 event I took the opportunity to do a series of interviews with many of the comics creators in attendance. This became research material for my thesis.

1999 event: Ross Tesoriero(Radiation Sickness). (Photo by Louise Graber)

Event organiser Kylie Purr with Glenn Smith.

Event organiser Kylie Purr with Glenn Smith.

This is the tenth in a series of posts called Archives of Australian Comics History that document moments in the recent history of Australian comics, particularly alternative comics and the Australian Small Press. I started researching this subject in the late 1990s and it eventually led to my PhD thesis: Ph.D. Macquarie University, Division of Society, Culture, Media and Philosophy, A Study Of Contemporary Australian Alternative Comics 1992-2000 With Particular Reference To The Work Of Naylor, Smith, Danko And Ord, 2003. On completion of the research I donated the materials and comics I had collected to the National Library of Australia: Michael Hill Collection of Australian Comics.

1999 event: Michael Hill aka Doctor Comics. (Photo by Louise Graber)

1999 event: Michael Hill aka Doctor Comics. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Posts in Archives of Australian Comics History:   Comic-Fest   Comics  in Record Shops   Comics Workshops   Down Under Ground   Getting SMASH(ed)!   Imaginary Worlds Symposium    International Exhibition of Drawings   OZCON   Mind Rot   Savage Pencils   Sick Puppy Comix   TiNA Arena   MCA Zine Fair   2002 Sequential Art Studies Conference   2nd Sequential Art Studies Conference