Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Government support of comics

When I interviewed Andrés Valenzuela, I asked him about how comics could gain a commercial presence and form a larger part of popular culture. He proposed that a regular, yearly festival in Buenos Aires would be beneficial, but to have these festivals, government support would be needed. Allowing a government official to open the festival would provide an incentive for politicians to fund these events. A connection between comics and politics can be beneficial for both groups. The “Homenaje a la Historieta Argentina en la Legislatura,” (Tribute for the Argentine Comic in the Legislature) an event I attended yesterday, was a step in that direction. The event was a two-part lecture, first a general discussion of the Argentine comic, and then a homage to El Eternauta. The lecture was accompanied by a showing of original artwork of some of Argentina’s most well known comics (Isidoro, Divito’s ladies, Carlos Gardel).

The first presentation, “Cómo, qué y por qué leer historietas?,” combined a random mix of people: Patricia Breccia and Carlos Nine (both artist/writers), Laura Vazquez (an investigator and writer), and Diana Maffía (Diputada de la Ciudad, city representative). The talk was unstructured, with each participant expounding on their own personal philosophy and connection to comics. Personally, I was most interested in Diana Maffía, the politician, to learn more about her motivations for joining the group. She talked about her childhood reading comics and talked about her observations on women in comics. Apparently, this diputada wrote the law that established the “Día de la Historieta,” a national holiday that celebrates comics. A semi-important holiday was born out of one person’s childhood interest in comics. The event wasn’t a success in itself, the incoherent choice of speakers led to a bit of tension and some weird vibes, but the fact that the government held a homenaje is important. It shows that courting politicians and developing their interest in comics could lead to more support, just as Andrés Valenzuela suggested. Maybe the comics community doesn’t want to get involved in politics, but for the field to grow, comics need presence, and to get presence, financial investment is necessary. The community needs somebody to represent it on a political scale, a consultant. Maybe my analysis is a bit simplistic, but representation could be essential for the growth of the medium.

Okay, I’m done being serious. I initially wanted to end my post with some sort of silly commentary on the break food (we got stale cookies, the other conference got delicious medialunas), but this post ended with a depressing analysis and it didn’t fit with the mood. So, I am going to end with drawings of the conference (I didn't have a camera, so I forced Santiago Slaby, my boyfriend, to draw some of the presenters):

Carlos Nine

Patricia Breccia

1 comment:

  1. A consultant? hmmmm Didn't you blog about creating your own spot in the comics world?