Comics Fandom

Comics and manga creators, critics and fans discuss, dissect and build graphic narratives.

Now in our second year at Nine Worlds, Comics Fandom is the track perched atop a pile of floppies trying to find their stylus. This track is about comics, why we love them, why we sometimes don't-so-much-love them, what they mean and who we, as the people who love comics, are. We have a mix of creators, aspiring creators, critics, publishers and fans. Our view isn't that we don't care if you're not the white, straight male stereotype of comics - it's that we definitely do. We care if you've never read a comic and want to get started, we care if you got into them through the films (we did), we care if you've been reading them and going to conventions and tattooing them on yourself for seventy years, we care if you're queer, we care if you're a person of colour, we care if you don't feel represented, we care even if you do. This is Nine Worlds; we want to talk about all the glorious things other conventions don't think to. And we also want to cry about superheroes, throw crayons around and wear Galactus flower crowns. We hope you do, too.

We're running across four themes this year:

How are comics formed?
What makes a narrative work as graphic? How do you draw superheroes? How can you optimise the medium to show the invisible and the silent?

History of graphic narrative
From cave paintings, heiroglyphics, legendary narrative and tapestries to the Age of Comixology.

Presentation and representation
When you can draw anything, it matters what you choose; what's done well, what's not and will we ever really see improvement?

Power and patriarchy, control and colonialism
Global humanitarianism in comics, from superheroes to Somalia

The Comics Fandom track is dedicated to the memory of our dear friend Martin Skidmore, whose commitment to serious (and fun) critical analysis and appreciation of all comics is something we can only aspire to.



Cosplayers Assemble! Last-minute costume rescue: help, support and chat to finish your cosplay - 6.15pm onwards, Room 31
As with last year, we’ll be spending the Thursday evening helping you finish your costume: drop in for a chat and a chance to make final tweaks. We’ll have supplies, fizzy drinks, and a friendly space.
Workshop with Hazel Southwell and Elly Frances


Tabletop Gaming Evening: join us for a relaxed evening of board games - 6.45pm, Room 31
An evening of quiet, social board gaming; drop in or out to join us for a game or two. Feel free to bring games or just come along to a chilled-out session, as we’ll be bringing plenty ourselves as well as fizzy pop and friendliness.
Social, games

Be Weird, ????, Get Deals: improve your life with dystopian Twitter birthday fiction - 8.30pm, Royal B
Nathan Crowley spent the first third of 2015 writing thousands and thousands of words to his friend, Daniel Barker, on Twitter, about a dystopian birthday universe. Now, he’s been commissioned for a novel. This talk will explore why social play and strange jokes can be the parents of extreme creativity. Also: clowns, kazoos, frightening things.
Talk by Nathan Crowley

‘Zine Making Workshop: make quick comics and explore zines - 11.45am - 1.00pm, Room 11
Join us for a chance to make quick comics, explore the idea of zines and 16-panel fun, for fast creativity in a relaxed, social environment. We’ll explore the importance of going beyond tropes or tokenism in representing LGBTQAI+ characters in comics and the particular wins or difficulties that come from a graphic medium.
Workshop, social

How To Break Into Comics: but seriously, how? - 1.30pm - 2.45pm, Room 11
It’s the frequently asked question asked most frequently at any comics event: how do you perform the magic manoeuvre of getting in? Industry professionals from all sides talk the mechanics of pitches, webcomics, finding an artist or writer or colourist, what even is a Cintiq, and how are comics formed?
Panel with Sally Jane Thompson, Ed Fortune, Alasdair Stuart, and Hazel Southwell

Representative Drawing for Graphic Narrative: how to draw the comics that look like you - 3.15pm - 4.30pm, Connaught A
What is a representative drawing? When do you draw yourself as a badger? How do spines really work? Artists, models, and all the paper and pens you could want, interrogate writing and drawing.
Workshop with Howard Hardiman, Sarah Gordon, Maki Yamazaki, Natalie Wilkinson, Hazel Southwell, Sally Jane Thompson


Show, Don’t Tell: Wordless Comics - why make wordless comics? What do they represent? - 10.00am - 11.15am, Connaught A
From sign-language to space to animal speech, why make wordless comics and why are they so effective?
Panel with Howard Hardiman, Sarah Gordon, Kieron Gillen, Sally Jane Thompson, Stephen Lacey

Queerness, Comics and Visibility: LGBTQAI+ characters in graphic narrative - 10.00am - 11.15am, Connaught B (with LGBTQAI+)
We’ll explore the importance of going beyond tropes or tokenism in representing LGBTQAI+ characters in comics and the particular wins or difficulties that come from a graphic medium.
Panel with T. Walpole, Maki Yamazaki, and more

How the Comics Code Ruined Comics Twice: the heroes we need, not the stories we deserve - 1.30pm - 2.45pm, Room 11
The Comics Code restricted comics content in the US or for the US market from 1954 until the turn of the millennium, famously censorious and based on extremely poor research. But what did it do to the narrative of comics?
Panel with Kelly Kanayama, Charlotte Geater, Roz Kaveney, Magnus Anderson, Ed Fortune

Magical Girls 4eva: the mystical feminine, from cave walls to Comixology - 3.15pm - 4.30pm, Connaught A
Commencing with a lightning-fast survey, by artist and art historian Howard Hardiman, of the mystical feminine in the European history of art, and going from hand-paintings in caves and a visit to the temples of Hellenic Greece, we’ll chart the history of magical women in narrative art. We’ll talk about the familiar tropes of women as maidens, mothers and monsters in graphic narratives across the world. Please be aware there may be depictions of nudity and some sexual content.
Talk and panel with Howard Hardiman, T Walpole, Sally Jane Thompson, Harriet Greene, Charlotte Geater

Comics Talk Three-Parter: Charlotte Geater, Tony Keen and Lauren McPhee talk comics - 5.00pm - 6.15pm, Room 11
Charlotte Geater creates a history of American comics through colouring, Lauren McPhee argues for a politics of superhero continuity, and Tony Keen looks at some semi-forgotten superhero comics of the early '80s
Talk with Charlotte Geater, Tony Keen, Lauren McPhee

Drawing Dinner: Food and Comics: noodles to pizza, why is eating so evocative? - 6.45pm - 8.00pm, Connaught A
Manga is full of food-as-feeling, from domesticity to ceremony. Why does a drawing of the steam rising from hot soup work? What’s the language of food?
Panel with Kieron Gillen, Charlotte Geater, Zoe Burgess, Hazel Southwell

Laika biting Thanos: Galactic Comics - five ten-minute talks on SPACE and AWESOME - 8.30pm - 9.45pm, Room 11
Five speakers present different aspects of cosmic comics: from whether tech leads comics or the other way around, to why we can’t stop thinking about Soviet Space Dogs, via a whole lot of prog headgear.
Talks by Natalie Wilkinson, Ed Fortune, Alasdair Stuart, Stephen Lacey, Hazel Southwell


Why Have Representative Space Deities? - or, ‘yes, it matters: the unreal is diverse’ - 9.00am - 9.45am, Room 11
A relaxed, breakfast-time chat about the importance of a diverse fantastic in a graphic medium.
Social, roundtable discussion

The Humanitarian Element: Superheroic Ethics: heroism, compromise & the reality of intervening under fire - 11.45am - 1.00pm, Room 11
BANG! POW! ZAP! None of these things cures multiple-drug-resistant tuberculosis. The type of humanitarianism depicted in superhero comics tends to have solutions, often ones that require an ethical breach for a heroic end. With the popular hunger for these stories at an all-time high, what does this disconnect mean?
Panel with Alasdair Stuart, Stephen Lacey, David Tallerman, Roz Kaveney, Hazel Southwell

The Many Roads Into Comics: four creators discuss their way into graphic narrative - 1.30pm - 2.45pm, Connaught A
Adam Christopher; Paul Cornell, Emma Vieceli and Maki Yamazaki talk about how they got to where they are and why they made the choices they did in shaping their careers. How much of it is luck? How much can you influence the process?
Panel with Adam Christopher, Paul Cornell, Emma Vieceli, Maki Yamazaki

No More Ms. Nice Minority: it's time to shout - 3.15pm - 4.30pm, Connaught A
Comics scholar and critic Kelly Kanayama puts the world of comics to the test with an impassioned call-out of complacency, demographic dilution in criticism, racist academia and much more. Expect a little brimstone, more than a little fire (metaphorical - so far), and incredibad/truly life-changing PowerPoints.
Talk with Kelly Kanayama

A Better Way to Die Launch: the launch party for Paul Cornell’s first collection of short stories - 3.15pm - 4.30pm, Atrium
Dr Who and Marvel writer Paul Cornell launches his first collection of short stories, A Better Way To Die. Join us for a glass of wine and an opportunity to buy a signed copy featuring hardback-exclusive content.
Book launch and social, with Paul Cornell