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Comic studies conference returns

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer
By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer

Just because professors and librarians don’t dress up as superheroes, doesn’t mean they don’t research them.

Professors, scholars, librarians, students and entrepreneurs are all expected to take part in the annual 2014 Comic Studies Conference at the University of North Texas this Saturday, sans costumes.

Unlike other comic conventions like regional and international Comic Cons, where fans frequently opt to dress like famous characters and meet their favorite writers and actors, the conference at UNT focuses on the scholarly aspects of comic books.

Shaun Treat, conference director and a UNT assistant professor who teaches Mythic Rhetoric of Superheroes, said at first it was an excuse to get together with other teachers and writers about how to use comic books in an educational atmosphere, but has grown in its four years.

“It became a way to just get everyone together in the same room and do a show-and-tell about what classes they teach and the scholarship that they do,” Treat said. “It’s kind of grown — now we try to include members of the community to highlight different resources here in Denton.”

The conference is free and open to the public, and no registration is required. It begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the Business Leadership Building, 1307 W. Highland St.

Speakers range from local comic artist Jeff Amano to the keynote speaker Kate Leth, the creator of “Kate Or Die!,” a webcomic that covers a range of topics including sexuality and superheroes, cats and the comic book industry.

“Part of getting that talent together is getting students exposed to the interest and passion for comics and comic arts, and could become relevant to lots of other things,” Treat said.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.