By Michelle Davey
With superheroes such as Spiderman and the Fantastic Four flying onto our summer movie screens, comic books and graphic novels are flying off shelves. The Aesthetic Technologies Lab is keeping on the cutting edge of the art world by inviting three acclaimed graphic novelists to speak on the subject.
"The Life of a Graphic Novel" is open to the public from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Mitchell Auditorium in Seigfred Hall. The three featured panelists are visiting professionals Joshua Dysart, Scott Allie and Ronald Wimberly.
The graphic novel is an art form that blends art and art history with mythology, social movements, pop culture and contemporary politics to create a form that is not only cross-disciplinary, but cross-cultural, said Katherine Milton, director of the Aesthetic Technologies Lab. In the past decade, graphic novels have emerged from the academic margins and now are being taken seriously as a literary form.
All three panelists have deep experience in comic books and graphic novels.
Dysart has worked as a writer on numerous projects, including several installments of "Swamp Thing." Allie, an editor, will speak about the editorial process involved in creating a graphic novel and his experience working on "The Devil's Footprints," "Hellboy" and other projects. Wimberly is a graphic artist for the acclaimed series "The Life of M.F. Grimm," which made Time magazine's top 10 graphic novels list for 2007.
Each panelist will share information about his projects and experiences as they related to his specific role in the graphic novel process. Following these presentations, Milton will lead the panel in a discussion about the collaborative process.
"I expect there to be some discussion on the historical markers that punctuate the evolution of graphic narrative style over the past 50 years as well as how global politics is represented in this form," Milton said.
The panel also will cover the economics of graphic novels, including how creative teams are developed, marketed and supported; how an aspiring artist can make it in the graphic novel industry; and on what timeline a publication is produced, Milton said. A question-and-answer session is planned.
"The Aesthetic Technologies Lab is committed to supporting creative collaborations, and we felt that bringing (the panelists) here would be a valuable look inside a collaborative emerging cultural form that has strong ties to a variety of disciplinary interests," Milton said.
Graphic novels are not an art form covered in university course offerings, so the panel discussion offers education of a maturing genre for interested student artists, writers and filmmakers, Milton said.
"I expect that students will emerge from this presentation with not only a stronger sense of what it takes to participate in this field as a creative practitioner, but more importantly, how a broad and diverse educational base is used and valued in this genre," she said.