This past weekend, I attended, presented,and sold some comics at the MIX 2013 conference, mostly because of the good fun and scholarship that was the first MIX, last year. This event, which I mentioned in the previous post, is largely the brainchild of one Robert Loss, who I am grateful to call a friend and fellow comics scholar/researcher/teacher. I am a big fan of MIX, especially because of its mission to mix together analytical and creative perspectives. Check out an interview with Robert by Tom Spurgeon, the Comics Reporter — as Loss puts it (in said earlier interview):
“This supposed division between academia and creativity is a perfect example of the dangers of insider/outsider thinking, and it doesn’t hold much value — well, any value — for me. Ultimately it’s a distraction from more compelling questions and more significant ideas.”
So MIX is all about breaking down barriers (without getting all meta about it like academics did in the 90s and early aughts) and opening up conversations about comics across a ton of different disciplines, perspectives, words, hearts, and minds. Add in friendly folks and intrigued audiences, and the general result is awesomeness.
Not to mention the context of Columbus — which has been a fun city to watch change over time. I can still remember the very scary downtown that my sister and I would drive through on our way to and from Indiana when she still lived in Lafayette, Indiana. It was the part of town that we tried to avoid, even if it was just down the way from the area we loved (Short North) with its vegetarian restaurant and not-so-dead downtown store fronts. Both areas have changed a lot — to the point that while walking through an area I thought was fairly unsafe, I stumbled upon the North Market and craft market. Geez! Let my assumptions be toppled.
Anyway, the reason I bring this all up is NOT to plug my presentation at said event (which was on how comics creators in India reconcile the tension between analysis and creativity by coming up with new, more adaptable terms for talking about comics — come on, SOMEone was gonna ask). Ha. Nope, it’s instead to announce a series of images I’m working on that will hopefully be coming up fairly soon. Granted, so many projects and applications are coming due in the coming weeks, not to mention grading midterm papers (though when they’re about pop culture, it’s much funner than normal). Alas! I shall have to work my ass off.
Here’s a sample:
This image is one that I drew during the first night of MIX — it was just a random sketch at first, but watching the infinitely talented scholar-artist Azisa Noor inspired me to try to do something more. Which it really wasn’t. Though, earlier in the night, I did get caught drawing a dragon — which is a bit of a spoiler for the post after this one…
But wait — an idea hit me while watching/attending a presentation on women who create comics — specifically, I wanted to ask them, what kind of stories do they wish there were more of? But it seemed like an inane question, and one that I only really wanted to ask as a dude who happens to create a lot of stories about women. Still, attending their panel reminded me that a big reason that I create comics is to tell good stories about strong, vulnerable, realistically complex and not-so-idealizedly-complex women. And that is a big part of the Sadie Hawkins book that I’m currently working on.
And one of the people on the panel said that she wanted to see more images of powerful women — which sparked an idea. What if, instead of creating fairly posed images of my characters for promotional art (which I’ve been planning), I focused on the women in my comics and drew each of them with the phrase “I am a powerful woman” followed by something unique to the individual character.
So that’s the plan — instead of using an image like the one above (which I still kinda like — though I definitely overdid high-school-Sadie’s hair). In the next few days, I hope to put up a rough sketch to give you an idea of what I’m thinking about…along with a few more images related to MIX — so watch for updates!
That’s all for now,