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1: Programs [clear filter]
Friday, March 16

12:30pm PDT

CAC Session 1: Iron Man, Robopocalypse, and the Future of Humanity
In E. Paul Zehr's speculative nonfiction book Inventing Iron Man: The Possibility of a Human Machine, the real-life implications of linking humans to robotic technologies in the form of brain machine interface are explored. Daniel H. Wilson's novel Robopocalypse is set in a future where human biology and technology have become seamlessly integrated. Society has become increasingly reliant on automation and robotics and comes face to face with its own extinction when a sentient artificial intelligence is unleashed on the world. This panel contains a discussion on robotics and technological fusion now and in the future using concepts in Iron Man comics, neuroscience, biomedical engineering, robotics, and the dystopian novel Robopocalypse.

Friday March 16, 2012 12:30pm - 1:30pm PDT
Room 210

1:30pm PDT

CAC Session 2: All I Really Need to Know, I Learned from Batman and Bart, Man: Embiggening Brains Without Crayon Implants
Sure, they're entertaining, but can comic book superheroes and cartoon characters teach us anything useful in the real world? A trio of professors discuss how they're using fictional characters to introduce students to nonfictional subjects. Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight) and Dr. E. Paul Zehr (Becoming Batman, Inventing Iron Man) explore the psychology and biology of Gotham's Dark Knight, his allies, and his many foes. Dr. Karma Waltonen (The Simpsons in the Classroom) explains how instructors can use comics as a jumping-off point to introduce concepts in literature, composition, linguistics, cultural studies, gender studies, and media appreciation.

Friday March 16, 2012 1:30pm - 2:30pm PDT
Room 210

2:30pm PDT

CAC Session 3: Comics and Form
Ever consider how comics work? This panel examines the structures that create the stories. Amber Bowyer (University of Southern California) explores the relationship among comics, semiotics, continuity, and history to better imagine the history of comics' materiality, interactivity, and affect. Dr. Kathleen Dunley (Rio Salado College) looks at Seth's The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists as a palimpsest, in which as the new text is written, the original text remains visible, creating a ghosting between past and present. She explores how Seth's visual representation of the palimpsest relates to how the past is created and reconfigured across the narrative. Dr. Nhora Serrano (California State University, Long Beach) looks at Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, and in particular the veiled and unveiled narrator, arguing that this self-portrait is a representation of the concealment, exposure as well as erasure, that is inherent in comics.

Friday March 16, 2012 2:30pm - 4:00pm PDT
Room 210
Saturday, March 17

10:30am PDT

CAC Session 4: Focus on Bob Schreck
WonderCon special guest Bob Schreck (Legendary Comics) joins the Comics Arts Conference to discuss his life in the comics industry. Stanford Carpenter (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) talks with Bob about his time as a marketing director, writer, and editor at both Dark Horse and DC Comics, the founding of Oni Press, and his new venture at Legendary Comics -- and last but not least, his impressions of the industry as both a creative and an editorial force.

Saturday March 17, 2012 10:30am - 11:30am PDT
Room 210

11:30am PDT

CAC Session 5: Batman vs. Iron Man: Can Biology Best Technology?
Batman and Iron Man belong to a very small group of accessible superheroes -- that is, the group of superheroes who have a veneer of reality related to their powers and abilities. This reality makes them appealing and accessible to many and captivates the imagination in a way other heroes cannot. Both Iron Man and Batman are defined by the combination of their human frailty with extreme training and use of technological enhancements. E. Paul Zehr (Becoming Batman, Inventing Iron Man) compares these two heroes and their two approaches to transcending human limitation. The concept of Batman is one of extreme human performance -- Bruce Wayne creates the Batman persona through extreme training. That of Iron Man is the story of Tony Stark, a genius scientist and engineer who amplifies human performance with technology in the form of the fantastic suit of armor. Considering the scientific realities behind these two icons presents a revealing look at how close we are to technological fusion between brain, biology, and technology. It also brings to mind a question truly grounded in popular culture. With these two superheroes in action, who beats whom? Answering this question involves a fascinating examination at the outer limits of human performance where neuroscience, kinesiology, brain-machine interface, and Kung-fu fighting converge.


Saturday March 17, 2012 11:30am - 12:30pm PDT
Room 210

12:30pm PDT

CAC Session 6: Lessons Learned from Batgirl about Female Superheroes and Trauma: Resilience, Recovery, and Relaunch
Is it healthy to be a female character in today's comics? Do comic book superheroines still face different traumas from those faced by their male counterparts? Psychologists Andrea Letamendi (UCLA), Robin Rosenberg (The Psychology of Superheroes), and Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight), with the help of writer Bryan Q. Miller (Batgirl, Smallville), explore how gender differences figure into storytelling issues and reflect on the dangers, support, and expectations encountered by women in real-world high-risk and life-threatening environments.

Saturday March 17, 2012 12:30pm - 1:30pm PDT
Room 210

1:30pm PDT

CAC Session 7: Females and Feminism
Christin Green (The George Washington University) looks at how Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra's series Y: The Last Man confronts stereotypes, breaks traditional formulas, steps out of comfort zones, and makes potentially bold statements about gender norms, masculinity, sexuality, and feminism, defining Y: The Last Man as a postfeminist narrative while drawing critical conclusions about its relative success in re-imagining contemporary popular discourses about feminism. Ayanna Dozier (Chapman University) examines the costumes of female superheroes, uncovering the meaning of such overtly sexual representations of female superheroes and their costumes, which themselves create a power struggle between the character and her costume. When are these designs sexist and when are they an expression of female liberation? Diana Martinez (University of Oregon) studies the many shifts in Wonder Woman's body and costume design, arguing that Wonder Woman in particular has still not reached physical stability because she has no ideological stability. Wonder Woman's body is important because she is not just a character, she is an encoding of ideology -- an ideology reliant on her body and the way she is perceived.

Saturday March 17, 2012 1:30pm - 3:00pm PDT
Room 210
Sunday, March 18

11:30am PDT

CAC Session 8: What's the Matter with Batman?
Batman clearly has "issues." Aside for running around in a form-fitting costume, he's got an alter ego, he broods a lot, he can be a bit neurotic, and he at times experiences alarming flashbacks -- not to mention the problems he has in his relationships with women. Psychologists Robin Rosenberg (Psychology of Superheroes, What's the Matter with Batman?), Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight), and surprise guests explore Batman's issues and determine whether he has a diagnosable psychiatric disorder, and if so, which one(s).

Sunday March 18, 2012 11:30am - 12:30pm PDT
Room 210

12:30pm PDT

CAC Session 9: History and Continuity
Kane Anderson (UC Santa Barbara) recognizes the emotional toll of having whole decades of "truth" eradicated, and reframes DC's "New 52" initiative as a kind of story genocide. With the ongoing publishing of stories collected in trade paperbacks and digital comics, DC's "older" stories become refugees from this event -- ghosts of fictional universes that no longer exist but somehow still continue to emerge from the publisher that perhaps disavowed them. Nick Langley (GeekNation) examines the history of the Man of Steel to explore what compels the last son of Krypton to act as Earth's savior and what has shaped his relationship with humanity. Dr. John M. Ulrich tracks the history of the literary hero Beowulf through comics, arguing that these re-envisionings of Beowulf as a superhero align well with the poem's complex representation of its hero and monsters.

Sunday March 18, 2012 12:30pm - 2:00pm PDT
Room 210

2:00pm PDT

CAC Session 10: Adaptation and Media
Karma Waltonen (University of California, Davis) examines the newest trend in graphic novel adaptation, in which the graphic novel becomes a sequel to familiar stories from other genres. Using the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly series comics, she investigates this new trend in adaptation, questioning and commenting on the genre's ability to serve as a sequel to television. Rachelanne Smith compares The Wizard of Oz and Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls, focusing on how the adaptation of Dorothy's story portrays her adventures as the hallucinations or imaginations of a sexually abused girl. Kathryn M. Frank (University of Michigan) discusses the controversy surrounding the casting of M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender to uncover industry logics regarding casting and the potential success of comics/animation-to-live-action adaptations. Liam Burke (National University of Ireland, Galway) asks why the first decade of the 21st century became the "comic-book movie decade." He examines multiple factors to understand what fostered and shaped this trend in modern Hollywood filmmaking. 

Sunday March 18, 2012 2:00pm - 3:00pm PDT
Room 210
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