International comic celebration welcomes Cardiff academics
23 October 2015
School academics recently took part in an international festival which celebrated the diverse worlds of comics and graphic novels.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival took place on 16 – 18 October in Kendal, the Lake District and was a three day celebration of comic art with well-known creators, writers and artists including Benoit Peeters, Mary Talbot, Bryan Talbot, Dave McKean, Boulet and Steve Bell taking part.
Dr Ryan Prout and Dr Tilmann Altenberg contributed to the event in a panel discussion entitled ‘Border Crossing: Serious Fun with Comics’.
Their discussion was wide ranging and broad with Tilmann discussing how knowledge of Spanish opened up the Falkland’s Conflict as a two sided and multi-layered event via comics and Ryan speaking about the beginnings of sequential art in Mexico in pre-Columbian codices and the boom in the Spanish graphic novel in the mid 2000s. School staff were joined by their colleague Dr Lisa El Refaie from the University’s School of English, Communication and Philosophy who spoke about her work on the expression of time and the formation of subject and identity in the graphic novel.
The panel also discussed Cardiff University’s Santander Collection of comics in Spanish. These comics are held by the Arts and Social Sciences Library and represent a unique resource for the study of comics and graphic novels from Spain and Latin America.
The festival is one of a kind in the UK and embraces the full range of comic art, from superheroes to documentary and experimental graphic novels. Next year sees the beginning of a Hispanic comics strand in the festival and the panellists from this year’s event are hoping to organise a comics scholarship conference in Cardiff building on the network established at the festival this year.
Ryan Prout said at the event, “People learn Russian because they want to read War and Peace in the original, or Italian and German, because they want to appreciate opera. So why not see learning languages as having just as great a benefit in opening up a route into the significant bodies of work in comics and the graphic novel that exist over the other side of that border between languages we know and languages we don’t know.”