Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures - University of Washington, Seattle
Widely regarded as the “father” of Armenian comics, Yerevan-based Tigran Mangasaryan has been producing graphic narrative works since the late 1980s. Since 2005 he has devoted several graphic novels to the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1917, one of the 20th-century’s greatest tragedies, in which over one million Armenians died at the hands of the Ottoman Turks (many modern-day Turks either dispute these figures or point to similar atrocities committed against their own people at the time, or both). Public remembrance of those events more than a century ago remains a pillar of Armenian identity formation, in support of which it mobilizes numerous types of media, both within and without the country’s borders. As described by Roxanna Ferllini:
Diasporic communities have been able to develop and maintain cultural and national identity via a series of mnemonic devices, such as historical studies, publications in books, magazines, and newspapers, collections of photographs, memorials, oral histories, and the staging of commemorative events. This kind of “memory work” has served to keep intact Armenian heritage, language, belief systems, sociocultural practices, and maintained an active remembrance of the genocide (“Armenian”: 357-358).
Andrea Aramburú Villavisencio
PhD Student at the Centre of Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge
In 2017, Giancarlo Roman, editor of the independent comics publisher Pictorama, in Lima, Peru, asked me if I wanted to collaborate on a publishing project, a small series of zines by Peruvian women comics artists: Ana Paula Machuca (Piura), Ale Torres (La Libertad) and Leila Arenas (Arequipa). I readily accepted. The project was a valuable initiative in a still very masculine comics scene, that is often limited to the capital.
PhD student, English Department at the University of Florida
The widespread devastation of ocean ecosystems due to marine pollution, overfishing, and rising temperatures caused by climate change has emerged as one of the greatest man-made environmental issues of the twenty-first century. This crisis will undoubtedly have devastating, far-reaching consequences, particularly for today’s youth, who will need to adapt to an increasingly inhospitable world ravaged by environmental disaster. Given this unsettling reality, Carlie Trott contends that “empowering today’s children to understand and take action on climate change should be an important goal, both to support children’s agency and to promote present and future community resilience in the face of climate change impacts” (43). Katie O’Neill’s middle-grade comic Aquicorn Cove (2018) takes up this challenge by using a “gentle fantasy” narrative to educate children about ocean conservation. The comic centers on young protagonist Lana as she returns home to her storm-ravaged, nameless village and rescues an injured baby “Aquicorn,” an adorable seahorse-unicorn hybrid. Soon, Lana discovers that the village’s unsustainable fishing practices have contributed to coral bleaching and endangered the Aquicorn population. Beyond merely using the colorful, Disneyfied Aquicorns to evoke sympathy in the reader, I argue that O’Neill’s comic models “global feminist environment justice,” which Noel Sturgeon defines as “using an intersectional approach… and revealing the connections between social inequalities and environmental problems to uncover the systems of power that continue to generate the complex problems we face” (6). By drawing attention to the larger systemic issues threatening the oceans, Aquicorn Cove empowers children to engage in justice-oriented environmental activism.
Due to the ongoing pandemic crisis, ICAF was forced to cancel its events at the 2020 Small Press Expo. Over the next 16 weeks (give or take), we will be publishing