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Blog: Transitions

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On Saturday Mr FA Machine and I were booked to present our paper The Swingin' Sound Of Sixties Marvel at the Transitions Conference. This is a GRATE comics studies conference that I have attended and indeed PRESENTED at several times over the years, which focuses on Emerging Researcher i.e. generally people doing MAs or PhDs. It's always interesting so it was a HUGE shame that last year's version got cancelled due to The Current Situation, and thus also a DELIGHT when it was rescheduled as an online version this year.

I must admit I was really NERVOUS before our bit. As with the Ramones gig from a few weeks ago this was slightly DAFT as, again, the whole thing had been pre-recorded, so I knew full well that the presentation itself would be fine. I was more worried about the fact that Frankie and I were sandwiched between two papers that looked MUCH more "serious" than ours (i.e. were about Issues and not mostly two people singing). I always RAIL against people who think that something can't be Inportant AND Enjoyable, but it is something that is contained within mine own PSYCHE, as even though I KNEW that our presentation was entirely Academically VALID I was still worried that it might seem LIGHTWEIGHT. I was also hugely on INTERNAL ALERT about us being two Standard Middle-Aged White Men at a conference featuring a DIVERSE group of almost entirely much younger researchers. Again, I look ASKANCE at people who complain about Political Correctness and Wokeness, but there was still a part of me AFEARED that one or both of us would be CANCELLED!

Obviously this turned out to be as daft as it sounds, as the other presentations AND presenters were GRATE and EXTREMELY welcoming to two old twits with their singing. Riziki Millanzi gave a talk on the 'Angry Black Woman' stereotype in DC's "Far Sector" and Dina AlAwadhi talked about the "Occidental gaze" in the MCU, which made me want to a) read "Far Sector" IMMEDIATELY and b) watch all those films again. Brilliantly, once we got into the Q&A session it turned out that all of the other presenters AND the chair were MASSIVE COMICS FANS, and LO! there was a gleeful combination of ACTUAL PROPER ACADEMIC THORT and Getting Excited About GRATE COMICS. It was ace - there is definitely an older generation of Comics Types who actively try to be avoid being seen as FANS in case it makea them look Less Serious, so it is always lovely to see The Younger Generation of Comics Studies people not being worried about this AT ALL.

In amongst all of this delight there were many Serious THORTS proposed, with the chair and us four presenters even managing to find some THEMES that linked all the papers. The only shame of it was that we WEREN'T in the same room together in real life, and so the traditional WINE RECEPTION/NATTER was not available. Hopefully next year!

(PS I'm not sure if we're MEANT to UNLEASH our papers, but for now you can find ours on Vimeo!)

posted 12/4/2021 by MJ Hibbett

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