The International Comic Art Forum has played a major part in my academic life, and Craig's too. Me, I can't imagine where I'd be today without it.
Now, I'm hardly unbiased in this matter, but I do believe ICAF is an important conference that represents a high standard in terms of intellectual rigor, depth of research, and diversity. ICAF has gone a long way toward encouraging a more global view of comics and cartooning among scholars in North America, and has hosted both some excellent scholarship and some fascinating artists over the years. The scholarship in many cases has since been published and debated, and the artists include some whose names have since become much, much better known among North American enthusiasts (I remember when Rutu Modan and her Actus colleagues made their US debut at ICAF 1998).
Anyway, it's time once again to sound the trumpets for an upcoming ICAF, in this case the 14th Annual ICAF, to be held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, October 15-17, 2009.
As usual, this conference is free, open to the public, and requires no preregistration. Come and see!
This year the conference lineup looks especially good and especially diverse, in terms of nationalities, disciplines, and subject matter. I'm delighted to report that Spanish artists Max and Pere Joan, collaborators on NSLM, will be at ICAF, co-sponsored by the Cervantes Institute of Chicago, for a special evening presentation on Oct. 15. Max was a guest of ICAF back in 1998, and the fact that he will once again be with us makes me feel either very old or very young, I'm not sure which. In addition, artists Guy Davis, Sara Varon, and John Miers will be giving presentations.
The most important source of info about the conference is the ICAF site, at http://www.internationalcomicartsforum.org (I should admit that I maintain it). I'd also like to include the following bare-bones press release, with apologies in advance for the shameless hype-tasm:
In addition, a special event will be held on Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cervantes Institute of Chicago, featuring talks by Spanish artists Max (Francesc Capdevila) and Pere Joan (Pedro Juan Riera), who are appearing under the sponsorship of the Cervantes Institute.
ICAF will also present talks by three other artists, including American artists Guy Davis (Sandman Mystery Theatre, The Marquis) and Sara Varon (Robot Dreams, Cat and Chicken) and UK artist John Miers (winner of the Web & Interactive Design category at the inaugural Digital Artist awards for his website www.johnmiers.com).
The core of the ICAF conference will consist of nine panels comprised of twenty-five juried academic papers, given by scholars from the USA, Canada, Norway, Belgium, Germany, India, and Japan. Friday will also feature a lecture by Italian scholar Marco Pelleterri, 2009 winner of ICAF’s annual John A. Lent Scholarship in Comics Studies.
ICAF is a joint presentation by the ICAF Executive Committee and the SAIC. Other sponsors of ICAF 2009 include the Cervantes Institute, Andrews McMeel Universal, and Mrs. Jean Schulz.
ICAF is the only annual conference on comics to submit papers to a strict refereeing process, and also the only one with an express commitment to internationalism. Launched at Georgetown University in 1995, ICAF was held in and around Washington, D.C. for twelve years, including three years at the Library of Congress, and then relocated to the SAIC in 2008.
ICAF Executive Committee