York professors lead Queer Comics Symposium

coloured pencils sketch cartoon

Building upon the work of the just-published and Lambda Literary Award nominated publication, The LGBTQ+ Comics Studies Reader: Critical Openings, Future Directions (University Press of Mississippi, 2022), York University Professors Alison Halsall and Jonathan Warren will host a Queer Comics Symposium on Friday, April 28.

This event, presented by York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and the Departments of English and Humanities, will focus on transdisciplinary and international LGBTQ+ comics scholarship and creativity. Taking advantage of the appearance of the Reader as a field-defining publication, organizers say the symposium will mobilize the specific kinds of knowledge that it showcases: putting scholars in conversation with creators, providing a forum for the work of thinkers at different stages of their careers, and featuring a diversity of analytical approaches with the aim of generating further contributions to the field.

The day begins at noon, in Accolade Building East (room 005), with a plenary lecture given by Professor Michelle Ann Abate (Ohio State University), author of Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History (Temple University Press). She will discuss “Queering Conformity in Postwar America: The Li’l Tomboy Comic Book Series and Gender Rebellion in the 1950s.” Following this lecture will be a panel that features papers by Professor Lin Young (University of Calgary), Joti Bilkhu (York University), as well as Halsall and Warren.

The second session takes place at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander St., Toronto) at 6 p.m. It will feature a public address given by Professor Justin Hall (California College of the Arts), cartoonist and editor of No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics (Fantagraphics). This lecture will be followed by the first Canadian screening of the award-winning documentary, No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics (Compadre Media, 2021), directed by Vivian Kleiman.

The Queer Comics Symposium will feature contributions from established and upcoming scholars in the field, as well as comics creators and students, at an event that is committed to inspiring and diversifying conversations about LGBTQ+ sequential art and its production around the world.

Via slideshow presentations and a book display, there will also be a presentation of a creative curation of queer comics art.

All are welcome to attend.