Saturday–another full sleight of panels though I missed the 8:30am strand thanks to the primitive business center at the Holiday Inn. Having been convinced by Paweł and the combined charm of the other SFRA-ers to join, I saved the html form to my computer, edited it, saved it to a usb drive, and figured I could print and mail it at the conference… Well, the old PC was not thrilled with my “high-speed removable storage” since it only had low-speed usb ports, and then the printer to which the computer was connected had a jam. So finally I had to email it to a woman working on the other computer which was connected to another printer… And then I had to walk 4 blocks to the post office for a stamp…
Really it was ridiculous, but by then my rare but powerful stubbornness was fully engaged and I was determined to send that damned form. Which I did, but at the cost of a whole session. Nice walk though.
So the next round I saw was themed around Cartoon Images. The first speaker, Ellen Grabiner, presented “Wild About the Box: The Disruptions of Zippy the Pinhead.” This was a really good talk. Not only did Grabiner make interesting point about the way creator Bill Griffith plays with visual conventions in order to subvert our narrative and linguistic expectations in a humorous way; raise real ontological questions; and challenge visual conventions of the comix medium, but I love Zippy and she picked great, hilarious examples. Combining solid analysis with humor is no mean trick. And I think a number of the other people in the audience hadn’t encountered Zippy before, and it was nice to see how much they enjoyed it.
Next was a paper by Chris Couch, “The Geometry of Emotion: Doorways in Will Eisner’s Comics.” I was interested to hear that Chris had been part of Kitchen Sink Press and now was teaching Comp Lit at UMass Amherst, where I did my MA and PhD. Kitchen Sink was such a cool press, not least for their support of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the once embodied Words and Pictures Museum of Northampton. (That was such a great place; I spent so much time entranced by the rotating exhibits and there that I first saw the ever-so-cool Devil Girl chocolate… anyway he quite an interesting talk, once he got going. It was a pretty straightforward analysis of window/door/portal images in Will Eisenberg’s comics, which was cool (if only because comics were treated exactly like any other subject of art historical study).
My only quibble is that I didn’t really see the science connection, or the code, or anything that connected this paper to SLSA. (Unless we are just going to say the portal metaphor is code enough.) But I suppose it doesn’t matter too much, because it was really informative lecture on Eisner–I’ll edit this later to add just a few more details on that, after I locate my notes… 😛
Finally, the last presenters were talking about I don’t know what–nuclear bombs, bio-art, fruit flies, mutations…they spent way too much time on the fruit flies and not nearly enough on the main point. They shall remain nameless.