2017 Program

10th Annual Comics and Popular Arts Conference


Music as Superpower in Anime

Time: Friday 1pm
Location: Anime/Manga Track (Galleria 1 – Hilton)

A presentation on the use of music as a superpower in Japanese animation.

  • Presenting Scholar: John Flowers

CPAC Conference Dinner

Time: Friday 5pm
Location: TBA by Email

Racial Representation in Marvel

Time: Friday 7pm
Location: Comics Track (Chastain I-J – Westin)

Comics Scholars from CPAC explore issues of racial representation, the struggle for diversity, whitewashing, and blaxploitation, in comics such as Black Panter, Ghost Rider, Power-Man & Iron Fist, and Nighthawks.

  • Julian Chambliss (Rollins College), “A Different Nation: Black Panther and the Struggle for Diversity”
  • Gabriel Cruz (Bowling Green State University), “From East L.A. to ABC: A Critical Analysis of Ghost Rider Reyes’ Whitewashed Latinidad”
  • Phillip Cunningham (Quinnipiac University), “The Limits of Neo-Blaxploitation: Considering David F. Walker’s Nighthawk and Power-Man & Iron Fist
  • Moderator: John Flowers (SIU Carbondale)

Sex and Gender Issues in Comics

Time: Friday at 10pm
Location: Comics Track (Chastain I-J – Westin)

CPAC scholars discuss representations of sex, gender, and sexuality in several comics genres, including representations of men and women, interrogations of hegemonic masculinity and normative heterosexuality, and the diversity of powerful female characters.

  • Aidan Diamond (Memorial University of Newfoundland), “‘Any more of your deviant behavior’: Masculinity in Gotham City”
  • Margaret Robbins (Mount Vernon Presbyterian School), “The Evolution of Diverse Female Superheroes and Warriors in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity, and Ms. Marvel Comics”
  • Erin Gordon, “‘I know when you girls say NO … you really mean YES’: The Normalization of Sexual Violence and Rape Culture in Superhero Comics”
  • Special Guest: Kelly Sue DeConnick
  • Moderator: Matthew J. Brown


RPGs, Philosophical Pedagogy, and Immigration

Time: Saturday 11:30am
Location: Tabletop Gaming Track (Westin Augusta 3)

In this workshop, participants will take on the role of characters with distinct philosophical perspectives and play out a unique RPG encounter. The workshop will demonstrate the use of tabletop roleplaying games (such as D&D) as a form of experimental education and explore philosophical perspectives on the ethics of immigration.

  • Ryan Windeknecht (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), “King Trumpkin Decrees a Ban on Elven Refugees! Philosophical Pedagogy, Tabletop Role-Playing Games, and the Ethics of Immigration”
  • Moderator: Matthew J. Brown (UT Dallas)


The Educational and Developmental Role of Comics

Time: Saturday 7pm
Location: Comics Track (Chastain I-J – Westin)

Using information from education studies, psychology, neuroscience, and history, CPAC scholars discuss the educational and developmental value of comics and contrast their reputation with the reality.

  • Rachel Branham (Marblehead High School), “Visual Narrative in Public Education for 21st Century Skills”
  • Kari Neely (Middle Tennessee State) on comics in the college classroom
  • Matthew J. Brown (UT Dallas) on comics studies in graduate studies
  • Special Guest: Andy Runton, creator of Owly
  • Moderator: Matthew J. Brown

Comics Studies Roundtable: The Interplay of Creation, Criticism, and Scholarship

Time: Saturday 10pm
Location: Comics Track (Chastain I-J – Westin)

Our special guests Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction are not only two of the most exciting, innovative comics writers today, but they are known for doing work that engages with and is particularly engaging for academic research and critique. Several comics studies scholars join DeConnick and Fraction for a discussion of how they draw on academic research when writing, whether and how academic scholarship about their work affects future work, and the perceived impact of their work in the academic field.

  • Presenting Scholars: Daniel Amrhein, John Flowers, Kari Neely, Damien Williams
  • Special Guests: Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction
  • Moderator: Matthew J. Brown


Translating Ghost in the Shell: A Roundtable on the American Adaptation of Ghost in the Shell

Time: Sunday 1pm
Location: Anime/Manga Track (Galleria 1 – Hilton)

This will be a roundtable of scholars and fans who will discuss the cultural and social implications of the American adaptation of ghost in the shell to live action, with specific reference to aesthetics and the translation of the themes of the manga and anime into the American motion picture.

  • Presenting Scholars: John Flowers and Damien Williams

Using Play to Problem Solve

Time: Sunday 1pm
Location: Tabletop Gaming Track (Westin Augusta 3)

This interactive presentation will explore a series of case studies illustrating various definitions and principles of “play.” Participants will take part in a group RPG and debate the importance of ludic principles in formal rules and real world social contracts and interactions.

  • Tim Bryant (SUNY Buffalo State), “The Ludic Situation: Problem-Solving Case Studies for Readers, Players, and Fans”
  • Moderator: Richard Scott Nokes (Troy University)

CPAC Scholars Forum

Time: Sunday 4:00pm
Location: TBA (Private meeting for CPAC presenters only)

We will discuss how to justify the value of comics/pop culture studies to advisors, colleagues, and students. (CPAC Board meeting will immediately follow.)

Discussion Leader: John Flowers (SIU Carbondale)

Philosophy in Brightest Day and Blackest Night

Time: Sunday 7:00pm
Location: Comics Track (Chastain I-J – Westin)

A philosophical exploration of ideas and themes from the Green Lantern universe, including the emotional spectrum of the many-colored lanterns through the lens of the monomyth and Nietzschean analysis of Sinestro.

  • Durf Humphries, “Thus Spoke Sinestro: The Superman in the DC Universe”
  • Sargon Donabed (Roger Williams University), “Faith in Uncertain Times: Fashioning Hope Through Comic Mythopoeia”
  • Moderator: Matthew J. Brown

Race, Gender, and Culture in Comics

Time: Sunday 8:30pm
Location: Comics Track (Chastain I-J – Westin)

This panel of CPAC comics scholars investigates the relationships among sex, gender, sexuality, race, culture, and politics in comics like Black Lightning, X-Men, Power Man, Araña, Blue Beetle, and even in fanfiction.

  • Jillian Browning (Florida Gateway College), “Why Hair Matters: Negotiating The Politics of Black Hair in Pop Culture”
  • Johanna Alberich (Troy University), “Justice Latinos of America: The Hispanic Influence in the Comic Book World”
  • LindaMarie Tonn, “Slashing the Patriarchy: How Male/Male Fanfiction Might be a Feminist Response”
  • Moderator: Daniel Amrhein

Politics, Power, and the Other in Superhero Comics

Time: Sunday 10pm
Location: Comics Track (Chastain I-J – Westin)

Comics Scholars from CPAC interrogate the representations of power relationships and the political struggles of the social Other, those who are non-normative, oppressed, disabled, or unwanted, in Avengers, X-Men, Daredevil, and other superhero comics.

  • Tiernan Cole (Guardians of Legality), “Mutant Registration Act, Superhuman Registration Act, and Sokovia Accords: A Constitutional Anaylsis”
  • Courtney Bliss (Bowling Green State University), “The Super Problem with the Super-Crip”
  • Daniel Amrhein, “Punishing Powerful Women: Gender Power Politics in American Superhero Comics”
  • Moderator: Kari Neely