Friday, May 17, 2013

Future Bear Flashback: Sequential SmArt May 2012

Sequential SmArt was a conference held at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. The conference brought together comic creators, scholars, librarians, and educators from a range of disciplines who teach using comics or were interested in learning more about the comics in the classroom. The keynote addresses were given by Matt Madden co-author of Drawing Words and Writing Pictures and author of 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style and by Eric Shanower author of Age of Bronze, two-time winner of the Eisner Award as Best Writer-Artist.

Rachel Simmon and I attended the conference and presented Future Bear. Billed as "The Fine Arts" in the conference program and paired with Eric Shanower's plenary talk, I must admit thinking I was outside the box marked "history."  After Shanower gave a reflective and interesting discussion of his research needed to create Age of Bronze, Rachel and I presented Future Bear to the entire conference.  On display throughout the event, Future Bear was well received by scholars and creators well verse in comics practice and theory.  It was great validation for the interdisciplinary dialogue at the heart of this project.

My thanks to the conference organizers Jay Hosler, Jim Tuten, and David Hsiung. As faculty at Juniata College they conceived and organized a truly interesting conference to support educators interested in comics. In addition to presenting Future Bear, I also presented a paper entitle "Superhero Comics: Artifacts of the U.S. Experience" that explored how superhero comics can be an engaging tool for historical study.  Ultimately, Sequential SmArt  provided all the participants with a dynamic examination of comic art form. I know I learned a great deal.  Proof comics are cool.

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