|Comics: Philosophy and Practice Auditorium|
The past few months have been intensely busy, and my time has been filled with an exciting, but exhausting internship at a political campaign. In the few hours I haven’t been interning, I’ve been applying to graduate school in Latin America, writing papers for conferences, and preparing to take terrifying tests. And that left very little time for comics. I’ve been back almost three months, but only just today checked a comic out of the library.
But, to be honest, it wasn’t just the lack of time that caused this distance from comics. After a year of studying, I wasn’t able to enjoy them anymore. I was burnt out. Contributing to this malaise was the fact that during two of the past three months unhappiness from leaving Argentina, unemployment (I’m an unpaid intern), and the intense and painful introspection that comes with thinking about the future put me in a foul mood. I though, maybe, the comics period of my life was over. (Yes, yes. A bit dramatic, I know.)
But this past weekend’s Comics: Philosophy and Practice, a three-day long academic comics conference at the University of Chicago, reinvigorated me. First of all, I was volunteering and got to meet a bunch of thoughtful, like-minded comics fans. Then, the conference included panels and interviews with some of my favorite illustrators, like R. Crumb, Alison Bechdel, Chris Ware, Lynda Barry, Seth, Daniel Clowes, Joe Sacco, Charles Burns, and Aileen Kominsky-Crumb. And finally, the conference gave me hope that I might find a way to pursue comics academically. The organizer, Hillary Chute, is a professor at the University of Chicago and writes extensively on graphic novels. An academic field exists for studying comics, and given the good turnout, I think it will be growing in the near future.
So, inspired by comics, I write again.