CSS (2018) #3
I should be writing this from home. I should be at home. Instead, I’m sitting in O’Hare with some time to burn because my flight out of Champaign was delayed this morning. (The good news? I wasn’t the only comics scholar stuck at the airport.) So I’m writing from a lounge chair in front of what looks like a WWII plane (where is Kelly Sue DeConnick when you need her to write a time travel story about your life).
Saturday morning got off to an incredible start when (as I mentioned in #2), John Jennings saw me enter the conference site and started talking to me about “Blue Age.” Later, Josh Kopin would come up and tell me he had been thinking about “Blue Age” and blue light, which was brilliant. Soon enough, the morning sessions started.
The first session I attended Saturday was “Theoretical Lines,” because fellow Graduate Student Caucus board member Jeremy Carnes was presenting and I wanted to 1. see as many graduate students speak as possible, 2. support the GSC, and 3. support Jeremy in particular. Jeremy’s presentation was fantastic and it prompted a discussion between us on postcolonial theory that I am very much looking forward to continuing.
The next session I attended was “The Text and the World,” which focused largely on religion and comics, an intersection that I hope to explore (more) in my dissertation (than I already did in my master’s thesis). Then we broke for lunch, where I got to sit down and talk with a group of fellow young scholars, the futures of the field (to borrow from the conference subtitle). It really was a privilege to see and hear and talk about the work being done by graduate students (and recent grads) not just in the United States but around the world.
Afterwards, I attended “Out of Print: Transmedial Comics Studies” where I got to see presentations from Jenny Blenk, Aaron Kashtan, and Nicholas Miller. I think this was the only panel that I attended without any graduate student presenters but, regardless, I am so glad I was there. I’m hoping to do some work on Marvel Rising and their scholarship added fuel to that fire.
In a coffee break between sessions, Rachel Miller was kind enough to sit and talk about publishing with me. I really can’t thank her enough for taking the time to do that.
The last session was made up of roundtables. I attended “Meet the Press(es): Series Editors Chart the Future of Comics Studies” which, of course, hosted a number of giants whose shoulders we stand on in comics studies. Most excitingly, Candida Rifkind and Nhora Serrano appeared to talk about their new press. I cannot wait to read the scholarship they are going to publish.
CSS18 formally came to a close with a business meeting. As we did there, I’d like to thank CSS President Carol Tilley for all of the work that they put into the conference. As they have said, “comics is magic” and CSS18 was magic, too.
That magic didn’t end with the closing remarks. A number of attendees went to the local comic book store and dug through long boxes of back issues before getting dinner together and, even later, going our separate ways. Going into the second year of my PhD program having attended CSS18 (my first conference as a PhD student), I am so grateful for the community that I have found.
I am also grateful to everyone that talked to me about “Blue Age.” From telling me that they loved the paper to telling me that they were going to cite it in their work or teach it in their class, I am just so proud. Please, please, please let me know if you plan on using “Blue Age” in any capacity.
CSS18 has left me energized and ready to revise “Blue Age” and dig into new projects. I might already have an idea or two for CSS19.