UNT to host Comic Studies Conference

Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 12:35

What: The 2014 Comics Studies Conference at the University of North Texas, featuring keynote speaker Kate Leth, creator of the webcomic "Kate Or Die!"

When: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. March 1 (Saturday). Leth will give her keynote address at 4 p.m. The conference will be followed by a documentary film screening at 5 p.m. and a closing reception and merchandise signing at 7 p.m.

Where: Presentations and panel discussions in UNT's Business Leadership Building, 1307 W. Highland St. Denton. Screening of the documentary "Wonder Women: The Untold Story of American Superheroines" in the Forum on the first floor of UNT's Willis Library, 1506 W. Highland St. Closing reception at More Fun Comics and Games, 103 W. Hickory St. on the downtown Denton square

Cost: Free

Contact: Shaun Treat, conference director and UNT assistant professor of communication studies, at shauntreat@unt.edu

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Comics books and graphic novels may be just be something that many students read during their spare time, but for other students, they're required reading for classes.

The 2014 Comic Studies Conference at the University of North Texas will bring educators, comic creators, librarians, entrepreneurs and students together to learn about the diverse disciplinary approaches to studying or using comics as a resource for education, criticism or critical engagement with relevant social issues. The free conference will be from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 1 (Saturday) in UNT's Business Leadership Building, 1307 W. Highland St. in Denton. Approximately 120 people are expected to attend.

Shaun Treat, conference director and UNT assistant professor of communication studies, said hundreds of college and university courses now integrate comic studies into the course curricula, and comics are also being used in a rapidly increasing number of elementary and secondary school classrooms.

During the 2008 fall semester, Treat began teaching a course at UNT called "Mythic Rhetoric of the American Superhero." It became one of the most popular courses on campus, enrolling more than 70 students. Students study some of the recurring cultural issues, mythic themes and rhetoric that are communicated in the superhero genre in comic books and movies, discussing mythic American values championed by superheroes, power and its ethical responsibility to humanity and society; vigilante justice and democracy, and superheroes' perspectives on contemporary issues.

The Comic Studies Conference's keynote speaker is Kate Leth, creator of "Kate Or Die!," an eclectic webcomic about her adventures in self-publishing, the comic book industry, sexuality and superheroes, cats and comics fandom.

Leth will give her keynote address, "The Geek Grrrl's Guide to Making Your Own Webcomics," at 4 p.m. A resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Leth works for Strange Adventures, a comic shop with locations in Halifax and two other nearby cities. She has been creating comics since 2010, and was recently the writer of the graphic novel "Adventure Time: Seeing Red." She was also an artist for the anthology "Womanthology" and has contributed to other projects. Leth is also the founder of an online networking group for women in comics retail.

Following Leth's address, the documentary "Wonder Women: The Untold Story of American Superheroines," will be shown at 5 p.m. in the Forum on the first floor of UNT's Willis Library, 1506 W. Highland St. The film goes behind the scenes with TV's "Wonder Woman" Lynda Carter, TV's "Bionic Woman" Lindsay Wagner, comic writers and artists and feminist and political activist Gloria Steinem to offer an enlightening counterpoint to the male-dominated superhero genre. It traces the evolution and legacy of female superheroes from the 1940s to today.

The conference will end at 7 p.m. with a reception and merchandise signing event at More Fun Comics and Games, 103 W. Hickory St. on the downtown Denton square.

For more information, contact Treat at shauntreat@unt.edu.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

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