About

Introducing the International Comics Festival at Budapest

I’m going to briefly talk about the International Comics Festival of Budapest at PesText, a festival celebrating literature in translation.

I have been organizing this festival for at least 5 years (though I’m not sure), and I have been main organizer in the past 2 years. This year, in order to celebrate the 15th festival, I made the event a 5-day affair. Though I will only have a couple of minutes to talk about this lovechild (honestly: each organizer is in love with comics), it has been so much fun assembling these slides and going over the pictures (90% made by Enikő Bianka Dancs), that I have decided to share it.

So this is our comics festival!

Follow this link for slides.

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The Geometry of Interdimensional Travel: Trips to Alien Lands in Jesse Jacobs’ Comics – Abstract for Comics and Travel conf @Oxford

Moving Images: Comics and Travel (conference)
5 July 2019
Oxford Comics Network
University of Oxford

Traveling to other dimensions, mapping alien lands, and exploring the unknown both within the the mind and in one’s (new) environment are common topics of SF comics, yet in Jesse Jacobs’ comics these topics are handled in very different ways. In By This Shall You Know Him (2012), Safari Honeymoon (2014), and Crawl Space (2017), neither space nor creatures are static, they are constantly in a state of becoming. Their morphing is paradoxically simultaneously organic and mechanical, it is actual and hallucinatory.

I argue in my paper that the never-ending morphing of biological and constructed forms is just as important in exploring the motif of travel as is an actual narratable and verbally constructed story (of gods practicing creation in By This, of a couple exploring a jungle in Safari, and of a new dimension in one’s washing machine in Crawl). I use close reading to analyze the organic changes of alien life forms’ bodies and alien dimensions, and I show that these transformations are guided by the changes of panel design and by the geometry of the page, and not simply by a plotline.

In Safari Honeymoon and Crawl Space, travelling does not simply happen in space or between dimensions, it also takes place within different forms of creatures who are constantly in transition. Jacobs’ amazing visual logic uses repetition, sequencing, isolation, morphing, as well as playing with representing multidimensional spaces and reinterpreting what makes a figure a figure. In his most recent work, Crawl Space, colour is added to this experimental visuality, by which Jacobs does not simply represent the journey or psychedelic trip of the characters, but invites readers to think of comics narratives and narration in new, not easily verbalizible ways.

the first slide of my presentation

Encapsulations: Critical Comics Studies – Editorial Board

University of Nebraska Press has launched its comics studies series with a long-needed focus: “By looking at understudied and overlooked texts, artists, and publishers, Encapsulations facilitates a move away from the same “big” and oft-examined texts. Instead the series uses more diverse case studies to explore new and existing critical theories in tune with an interdisciplinary, intersectional, and global approach to comics scholarship.”

I am so happy, honored, and enthusiastic that I can be on the editorial board of this series. Send us manuscripts! More info at the homepage of the press.

Editorial Board

Michelle Ann Abate
The Ohio State University

José Alaniz
University of Washington

Frederick Luis Aldama
The Ohio State University

Julian Chambliss
Michigan State University

Margaret Galvan
University of Florida

A. David Lewis
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science

Jean-Matthieu Méon
University of Lorraine, France

Ann Miller
University of Leicester, United Kingdom

Elizabeth Nijdam
University of British Columbia, Canada

Barbara Postema
Massey University Manawatū, New Zealand

Eszter Szép
Independent Researcher, Hungary

Carol Tilley
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Performativity Conference – I’ll be a Respondent

On 24-25 May I’ll be one of the respondents at the Performativity Conference 2019, an event organized by the Narratives of Culture and Identity Research Group. Though I am a founding member of this group, I could not take part in organizing this event because of my really intensive work on the 15th International Comics Festival at Budapest.

However, I am really happy to be able to take part as a respondent, and I cannot wait to hear the inspiring papers. Book of abstracts and schedule are available here.

An Interview with Me

I got interviewed by one of the coolest Hungarian websites devoted to SF, Próza Nostra, on the occasion that I was the main organizer of the 15th International Comics Festival of Budapest. Contrary to the past 14 years, when the festival meant basically a single Sunday packed with programmes, this year I made the festival last for 5 days. On the first four evenings there were cultural programs (two exhibitions and two roundtables), and the fifth day was a big fair + workshops + talks / interviews.

I am really happy that Próza Nostra interviewed me because it is a rare acknowledgement of my work as organizer, and because the questions were really clever and instead of asking me to recommend programs I was asked to reflect on tendencies in the Hungarian comics scene + broader bookish culture. Thank you!

http://www.prozanostra.com/iras/jo-csillagegyuttallast-szeretnenk-kihasznalni-interju-szep-eszterrel-budapesti-nemzetkoz

15th International Comics Festival Budapest

3/1
I have survived the busiest couple of months of my life. I have been the main organizer of the 5-day (!) 15th International Comics Festival, Budapest. I have also become the chair of the Ninth Art Foundation, a foundation working on promoting comics culture in Hungary.
Here is our festival poster, drawn by Miklós Felvidéki, and below are some details:

3/2 As part of the Comics Festival, I curated an exhibition based on the works of three amazing artists who won comics prices last year, Miklós Felvidéki, Olivér Csepella and József Sváb. I gave it the broad title of “A World Hidden in Panels” and I hope that many people who visit Restro Puskin will like the pictures on the walls. The exhibition was opened by András Beck on 10 May 2019.

3/3 On the third day of the comics festival, I had the honor of opening Márk László’s comics exhibition, Very Bad Dreams. I just love Márk’s works.

2018 – My publications

2018: The year most of my projects bloomed, when I finished my PhD, when I reworked my PhD thesis into a book (added 2 chapters, took one away) (to be published in 2020). In terms of non-academic achievements, I organized (almost alone) the comics festival in May, co-curated a major exhibition on comics in the National Széchényi Library, opened Hungary’s first community comics library. Basically a year when I worked my arse off.

1.Books I Edited

Turning The Page. Gendered Identities in Contemporary Literary and Visual Cultures. Ed. Kata Gyuris, Eszter Szép and Dóra Vecsernyés. L’Harmattan, Budapest. Download link.

2018 [Exhibition catalog, bilingual] Kép-regény-történet: A kilencedik művészet ikonjai Magyarországon. Ed. Eszter Szép. Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, Budapest, 2018.

2. Articles and Reviews in English

“Kids’n’Comics: An Equation with Variables to Rearrange.” Kids’n’Comics Exhibition Catalog, D17 Gallery, 2018. pp. 10-12.

“A review of Simon Grennan: A Theory of Narrative Drawing. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. 277 pp, 96,29 €.” INKS – The Journal of the Comics Studies Society, Summer 2018, pp. 261-264.

“A review of The Materiality of Writing. A Trace-Making Perspective. Edited by Christian Mosbæk Johaannessen and Theo van Leeuwen.” Image & Narrative. online.

“A review of Unflattening, Nick Sousanis (2015), Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 208 pp., ISBN: 9780674744431, p/bk, £18.95.” Studies in Comics 8.2. 262-264.

“Ben Katchor: A képregény túllép a próza kifejezési lehetőségein” [The title is in Hungarian, but the interview is in English] Ben Katchor: Conversations. Ed. Ian Gordon. University Press of Mississippi, 2018, pp. 152-154.

3. Articles and Reviews in Hungarian

“Metacomics: Poetics of Self-Reflection in Comics” [Metaképregény: Az önreflexivitás képregényes poétikái”][This is the Hungarian version of my article in Studies in Comics featuring examples taken from H. comics.]Intézményesülés, elbeszélések, médiumok: Tendenciák a kortárs magyar képregényben és képregénykutatásban II. ed. Ferenc Vincze, Szépirodalmi Figyelő Alapítvány, 2018, pp. 95-119. 

“Kölykök + képregények: egy régóta rendezésre váró egyenlet.” Kölykök + képregények kiállításkatalógus, D17 Galéria, 2018, pp. 7-9.

“Setting a Limit on Fantasy.” [in Hungarian. Original title: “A fantáziának határt szabni.”] Szépirodalmi Figyelő no. 3, 2018, pp. 100-104.

“Comics on the Power of Poetry: Nyugat + Zombik by Olivér Csepella.” [in Hungarian. Original title: “Képregény a költészet hatalmáról: Csepella Olivér: Nyugat + zombik.”] Alföld, vol. 69, no. 4, 2018, pp. 96-101.

“Comics Around the Globe Today: A Review of Gyula Maksa’s Comics in Intercultural Currents,” [ “A képregényről globálisan, ma: Maksa Gyula Képregények kultúraközi áramlatokban című könyvéről.”],
Médiakutató vol. 19, no. 1, 2018, pp. 97-99.

4. Non-Academic Writings on Comics in Hungarian

“Történetváz a fiókból – Michael Crichton: Dragon Teeth.kilencedik.hu/tortenetvaz-a-fiokbol-michael-crichton-dragon-teeth/

“Brit istenek – Gillen & McKelvie: The Wicked + The Divinekilencedik.hu/brit-istenek-gillan-mckelvie-the-wicked-the-divine/

“Hogyan került a szövegbuborék a képregénybe?” kilencedik.hu/szovegbuborek/

“A magyar képregény 2017-ben, kilenc pontban.” kilencedik.hu/a-magyar-kepregeny-2017-ben-kilenc-pontban/

“Mellékszereplők reflektorfényben: Paper Girls 1-4.” kilencedik.hu/paper-girls/

“Jessica Jones és a sötét.” kilencedik.hu/jessica-jones-es-a-sotet/

5. Extras

  • I co-curated a major comics exhibition
  • I co-founded the first comics library in Hungary