VCU scholars, collection curator present at RVA Comics Con July 31-Aug. 1

July 29, 2015

RVA is a comic arts town. VCU graduates comic artists with great talents and aspirations, teaches a one-of-a-kind course combining drawing with writing, and holds one of the nation's top comic arts collections at James Branch Cabell Library.

At the Wizard World Comic Con July 31-Aug. 2 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, the scholarly side of comics will be well-represented by people with VCU ties. 

  • Friday, July 31, 6:30 – 7:15 p.m.: "Spawn of the Pulps: The Twisted Roots of Comics" offers a panel about the gangsters, bootleggers and eccentrics who founded the comic book business. Speakers include VCU English Professor Tom DeHaven. The speakers: DeHaven (author of It’s Superman; Derby Dugan’s Depression Funnies), M. Thomas Inge (Handbook of American Popular Culture; Will Eisner: Conversations), Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson (granddaughter and biographer of DC Comics founder Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson) and Danny Fingeroth (Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics and the Creation of the Superhero). Inge, who teaches at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, has donated many papers and comic arts materials to VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives. 
  • Sautrday, Aug. 1, 5 -- 5:45 p.m.: "The Queens of Comics: A Discussion with the Curators of Some of the Largest Comics Collections in the World." Bob Hoffman, an international teacher of comics as art, literature and as a teaching tool for English as a Second Language students, moderates a conversation with VCU Libraries' Cindy Jackson and Georgia Higley of the United States Library of Congress. Jackson will discuss the Richmond-based collection and the logistics of comic book collecting, research, preservation and more. The panel is billed as an opportunity for people to learn how to use of these collections as teachers, students, researchers or people with an interest. The collections are free and open to all.  
  • Sunday, Aug. 2, 1:30 – 2:15 p.m.: The same big names in scholarship and the history of comics discuss "1940: World War II and Comics: the Joker, Robin, the Flash, Captain America, Captain Marvel and the Spirit." On stage, again, will be DeHaven, Inge, Fingeroth and Wheeler-Nicholson. They will reflect upon the pivotal year 1940, 75 years ago, when the Nazi conquest of Europe continued and the Battle of Britain raged. The United States watched the war from the sidelines while instituting the first peacetime draft. At the same time, the world of comics was experiencing a sustained period of invention. The Joker, Robin, Green Lantern, the Flash, Hawkman, the Spirit, Catwoman, Captains America and Marvel all debuted. (Pop culture icons Bugs Bunny and Brenda Starr and classic movies "Fantasia" and "The Great Dictator" also debuted in this timeframe.) The panel will show and discuss historical and cultural factors that made that year so important.

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