Friday, March 22, 2013

academic conferences: like blogging with fewer followers

There's been a lack of posts here over the past few weeks, but fear not, blog readers, it's not because I don't still love you.  I do, I do, deep in the cockles of my heart.  But I've had a few projects that have come up to take away a lot of my free time, two of which are at least semi-academic in nature.  But don't worry; like most things in life, I do my best to take a shortcut around actual work and research and just talk or write about comics.

CASE IN POINT!  Next week I'll be speaking at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association's national conference in Washington, DC.  As far as academic conferences go, it's pretty unpretentious, which is good, because I'll be keeping a straight face as I give my presentation on Frank Miller's awful "Holy Terror", talking about the potential unintentional satire contained within the book's pages.  Here's kind of proof!

I'm actually not a stranger to Dr. Wandtke, as he hosted panels at which I spoke in 2005 and 2006.  It'll be fun to catch up and talk comics with a few like-minded individuals.  And getting back to Holy Terror hasn't been as painful as I imagined it would be...if you squint real hard, there does seem to be at least the possibility that the book is just one big satirical look at American culture as opposed to the racist, hate-filled tome that it, in all likelihood, probably is.

The next opportunity came out of the blue, and it also fits into the professional/semi-professional category of writing.  I came across somebody's reference to the Journal of Venture Studies, an online publication that takes an academic approach to analysis of The Venture Bros. show that I love so very very much.  According to the editors of the book, the first volume (which you can read in its entirety online) caught the eyes of some folks at Adult Swim, who agreed to sponsor a second volume of the journal as a way to promote the upcoming fifth season.

I learned about this call for papers about 36 hours before the deadline, but I was able to get a proposal in that was accepted and, as long as I sit down and do the work (which I will), and that work is good work (which I hope and pray it will be), will have an entry in this sure to be prestigious volume in the storied annals of Venture analysis.

My topic this time around?  Ben Edlund and the Tick's influence on the Venture Bros. show and an analysis of "¡Viva los Muertos!", which is the only episode of the series not at least co-written by Jackson Public or Doc Hammer.  So I'm not straying too far from familiar ground, but I'm looking forward to it in any case.  And for all of you who enjoy instant gratification, this should be published in April, before the new season airs.

Maybe I'll get an honorary degree in comics for these.  Or something.