Geek/Art CONfluence

I organized a mini-comic con in the Shaffer Art Building on October 5, 2019 as part of my work in the faculty art exhibition at the SU Art Gallery.

The con featured several student groups, outside groups, and four panels of faculty and student speakers from several local colleges, plus cosplay and lightsaber demos.

The student groups included Citrus Comics, which produces student-made comics; the Gaming Group, which ran several demo games; and the Pokemon Go! group. The Star Wars costuming groups, the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion, were there, as was the Gathering of Sabers, a lightsaber dueling group. Local award-winning cosplayer Christina Lavinski gave two cosplay demos, and Kenneth Sliviak did demos on painting gaming miniatures.

The first faculty/professional panel was Comics: From Creation to Reception & Back Again. Its speakers and their topics included:

  • Frank Cammuso, a comic artist and co-founder of Ahoy Comics, who teaches in the Illustration program at Syracuse University: “Making Comics Locally.”
  • Ed Catto, an entrepreneur and manager for Ithacon, who teaches a class on the business of comic-cons at Ithaca College: “Before Riverdale, Before Sabrina: Archie’s Red Circle Sorcery Line.”
  • Christy Knopf, who writes on comics, gender, and war, and is an assistant professor in Communication and Media Studies at SUNY-Cortland: “The Genre Crossovers and Gender Crossplays of DC Comics Bombshells.”

The second faculty/professional panel was History, Identity, and Values in Fan Culture. Its speakers and their topics included:

  • Gael Sweeney, a long-time fan fic writer and researcher, who teaches in the Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition at Syracuse University: “The Unlikely Rise of Fan Fiction.”
  • Diane Wiener, who works on cross-disabilities perspectives in comics and in life and organizes “Cripping” the Comic Con; she is a research professor and Associate Director of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach at the Burton Blatt Institute in the College of Law at Syracuse University: “(Dis)ability in Comics and Cosplay.”
  • Ben Judkins, who studies hyper-real martial arts like Jedi and Sith lightsaber forms, is co-editor of the journal Martial Arts Studies, and is visiting scholar at Cornell University’s East Asian Studies program: “The Weapon of a Jedi Knight: Identity and Vales in the Hyper-real Martial Arts.”

The first student panel was Analyses and Influences of Geek Culture. Its speakers and their topics included:

  • Alayna Vander Veer, an English major and Writing minor at Ithaca College: “Big Breasts and Badass: An Analysis of Two Anime Characters.”
  • Claire Virginia Pitcairn, and English and Education major and Spanish minor at Ithaca College: “The Artistry of the 19th Century in Contemporary Media.”
  • Angelina Manganese, a Broadcast and Digital Journalism major at Syracuse University: “TokuTalk.”

The second student panel was From a Creator’s Point of View. Its speakers and their topics included:

  • Brian Power, Film and Photography student at Ithaca College: “Your Own Origin Story.”
  • Nina Piazza, Linguistics major at Syracuse University: “Writers Are Readers First.”
  • John Licinio, Broadcast and Digital Journalism major at Syracuse University : “Worldbuilding Without Exposition in Crusader Kings 2.”

Photos by Chris Wildrick and Mina Gurbuz.

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