International Comics and Graphic Novels Conference 2015

At the wonderful Voyages conference in Paris last week, fellow-traveller Paul Fisher Davies and I had a sort of unofficial pact to take our notes from the various panels and talks in something approaching comics form. Mine are below, and come with apologies for bad portraits of speakers, misrepresented concepts, and terrible handwriting.


Keynote by Jacques de Loustal


Panel 1C: Independents

David Huxley, A Voyage Through a Collector’s Brain
Dominick Grace, Failed Journeys in Ed the Happy Clown


Panel 2C: Visual Practices
Louisa Parker, The Artist as Sojourner: The value of visual practice in making a space for feminism
Leonie Brialey, Voyeur du Voyage


Panel 3D: Travel
Simon Grennan and Roger Sabin, Being at home abroad: Londoners ‘ong continong’ (on the continent) in the 19th century comics of Marie Duval
Michael Connerty, Travelogues, Empire and the Early British Comic Strip
Ariel Kahn, Inside Out; Feminist Subjectivities and the Representation of the Journey in Autobiographical Comics by Jewish Comics Artists

I was standing at the back during the first two papers and couldn’t get comfortable to draw, so I only have sketch notes of Ariel’s paper.



Panel 4D: Gender
Nicola Streeten, “I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night” (Sylvia Plath)
Penelope Mendonca, Conceptionmoons, babycations, Viking invasions and the quest for motherhood: travel, romance and pregnancy in comics and graphic novels
Rachel Miller, Bedroom Voyages: Riot Grrls, Ghost Worlds, Teen Angels, and the Ephemeral Archive

Nicola has the distinguished position of being the only person to be depicted full-figure in these scrawls.



Panel 5D: Medium and Message
Paul Davies, Representing Experience in Comics: Carnet de Voyage
Bill Ashbaugh, Different Media Explore the Messages of Mobile Suit Gundam


I deeply regret not getting a satisfying AWESOME ROBOT PICTURE on the page from Bill’s paper, but the screen was very pale and I couldn’t nail it in time.

Panel 6C: Form
Greice Schneider, Visual journalism and comics storytelling
John Miers, Visual metaphor’s voyage from vagueness to symbolic status
Simon Grennan, Journeys of the self: Marion’s partial ‘mediagenius’ and the motive reader in comparitive theories of intersubjectivity



I was a bit nervous during this panel as it was the one that contained my paper, so the notes on Greice and Simon’s papers are less full than they could be. I think the drawing of materiality being key to intersubjectivity is one of the better visual metaphors I came up with during the week though. It might well appear in the comic I’m working on.

As a side note, it was fun seeing how different speakers worked the conference theme of “Voyages” into their presentations. It was frequently metaphorical, of course. If I’d been really on the ball I’d have anticipated this and done some sort of meta-paper about the use of ‘voyage’ as a metaphor vehicle in comics scholarship and sucked the entire event into a vortex of self-reflexivity.


Played hooky and went to the Picasso museum. Also drank endless wine at the conference dinner and told Pat Mills about how my subjectivity was reformed by Simon Bisley’s run on ABC Warriors.


Panel 8A: Creating Comics
Gunnar Krantz, Sketching beyond the boundaries of time and space – developing scrawled memories of the past
Cecilia Valagussa, Your Neighbour is a ‘Pig’
Maurice Vink, The Adventures of Boris the Great Globetrotter. “Eat, Pray, Get Confused”



Panel 9A: Voyages Between Media
Markus Arnold, Shifting between sequential art and novel writing: the topic of slavery in recent French bande dessinee
Barbara Uhlig, Sketchbook? Travel log? Comic? Mattotti’s silent voyage through Vietnam
The third paper in this panel wasn’t in the programme as it was a late addition, and unfortunately I didn’t note down the speaker’s full name or the title. It was about Taiwanese comics, and very interesting. Apologies to the speaker!


Panel 10A: Narratological Challenges for the Interpretation of Comics: Four analytical perspectives on the case of travel narratives
(it was actually three perspectives as Phillipe Marion couldn’t make it)
Benjamin Picado, Visual Narrativity and Graphic Enunciation in Documentary Comics: a look upon Le Photographe, by Guibert, Lefevre and Lemercier
Raphael Baroni, Time Travels in French Comics: From Extraordinary Journeys to Time Paradoxes
Jan Baetens, Tintin in America, or How to Describe a Place You’ve Never Been



Panel 11C: Gendered Journeys
Hannah Schiff, Curses Comics and Combinations: How Ranma 1/2 Promotes Gender Hybridity
Nhu-Hoa Nguyen, Kim Dong-Hwa’s Journey back to Korean Traditional Culture in Ehwa’s Journey into Womanhood



Panel 12A: Belgium and the Congo
Benoit Crucifix, The Architecture of the Colonial Adventure: Olivier Schrauwen’s Arsene Schrauwen
Gert Meesters, Congo as a voyage to the roots of a cartoonist’s practice: Arsene Schrauwen by Olivier Schrauwen

Benoit and Gert combined their papers into a two-hander when they realised they would be on the same panel talking about the same comic.


Keynote by Renaud Chavanne


Panel 13B: The Voyage through History
Billy Grove, Topffer’s Travels
Marion Joassin, Exploration of the notion of the voyage in the bandes dessinees created in the 1970s and 80s: fantasy quests, sea crossings and spacetime voyages in Thorgal and Corto Maltese



With particular apologies to Billy, I think that’s the worst portrait I did all week.

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