On 17th November, Brick goes all intellectual, presenting a paper at the Thought Bubble Festival Conference in Leeds (http://comicsforum.org/comics-forum-2011/) under the banner of ‘Graphic Medicine:Visualising the Stigma of Illness’. My co-presenter will be Associate Professor Theo Stickley from Nottingham University, who has this crazy idea that we should act out sequences from DEPRESSO as an example of challenging the stigma of madness (sorry, mental illness)!
Comics are slowly wheedling their way into academia, possibly on the back of the number of creative writing courses that now include a module on writing for comics. (While the idea of a degree in creative writing is nonsense, there is stuff an aspiring comics creative needs to master, much like an aspiring film maker.) Around the world there are various high-brow comics conferences, academic journals and subscription websites, and a large number of intellectuals are turning out theses on everything from mainstream superhero crap to obscure underground mags from the Sixties, all of which is good news for those of us struggling to make a living in the medium.
One drawback is that, oddly enough, these boffins pay to present a conference paper, presumably on the basis its extra browning on their CV. Up at Leeds they are currently grappling with the concept that impoverished cartoonists are normally paid for giving talks!