Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

January 2, 2015

50 Comics Positives For 2014: Bart Beaty Challenges Comics Scholars To Write More Broadly, Do More

imageI didn't know what to expect of a keynote speech at an academic conference like ICAF, held this Fall on the Ohio State University campus. I also had never seen Bart Beaty speak, despite knowing him for almost two decades.

To my pleasant surprise, Beaty's keynote was a reasonably contentious one, setting a baseline of conversation over beers and burritos for the rest of the weekend. The two points I liked best were 1) Beaty's observation that a lot of comics material gets left out of academic study because of basic pressures to cover certain kinds of material over others, 2) Beaty's challenge to his peers to work more persuasively and potently within their academic frameworks in order to advance the specific causes dear to them and their peers at the conference.

I imagine both points can be argued -- I know they can, I listened to the arguments that weekend -- but what I like about this and feel was such a positive is Beaty used the occasion to speak to the value of the academic endeavor, in direct fashion, to those that might benefit the most. It's also one of the few times in comics I've seen a few negative positions not summarily dismissed as impolitic.
posted 2:25 am PST | Permalink

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