Over at The Hooded Utiliarian this past week, hooded ones Noah Berlatsky, Robert Stanley Martin, Caroline (Caro) Small, Derik Badman, Ng Suat Tong, and Matthias Wivel have been engaged, along with me, in a spirited, not to say feisty, roundtable on my book Alternative Comics and the issues that it poses.
I thank Noah and the gang, and guests and commenters, for opening up this space to talk about my work--and for making me work so hard to consider, respond to, and joust with their various, by no means interchangeable, points of view! It's a dense discussion with a lot of byways and probably some misunderstandings en route, and some heated byplay in the comments section. All to the good.
Among the dividends, from my POV:
- Caro's illuminating essay on women's autobiographical self-representation, an important qualification and extension of, and alternative to, my work on comics autography
- Suat's thoughtful reconsideration of Gilbert Hernandez's Human Diastrophism
- Matthias's serious engagement with, again, the matter of autobiographic comics
For me, a big personal dividend has been the opportunity to reflect seriously on the changes in my work and in the comics field that Alternative Comics either anticipates or fails to anticipate. This whole process has me seeing alternative comics and comics studies in a new light. Interestingly, this all ties in, I think, to Craig's and my contributions to the online journal Transatlantica's newly published issue on comics studies.
If you're interested in questions like the future prospects (?) for alternative comics, the formalistic tensions that may define comic art, the problematic reception of Gilbert Hernandez's work (dare I say that this roundtable is something for Hernandez scholars to bookmark?), the ways in which theories of self-representation may need to be inflected by gender, or the promise and pitfalls of writing academically about comics to a mixed audience--if you're interested in any of these things, this roundtable will have something to say to you, I bet.