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Blog: Not Reading Comics

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Tuesday evening found me back at Central St Martins, with THREE Action Points to Action. The first of these was a recurring minute: looking ASKANCE at The Students with their Funny Trousers and CAPES. It was actioned IMMEDIATELY!

The second was to pop into the library to snaffle some BOOKS. This is always EXCELLENT fun, although I do have to exercise a WILL OF STEEL whenever I'm there. There are HUGE long bookcases FULL of books ABOUT comics and books which are COLLECTIONS of comics, and it takes me straight back to being approx 11, standing in the Science Fiction section of Peterborough Library, thinking "But I want them ALL!"

What I do now, being a sensible ADULT, is to write a LIST of books BEFORE I go to the libary, and STICK to it. Sometimes this is not easy! One of the books I got this time was "Conversations: Stan Lee", which is a collection of, well, conversations with Stan Lee, taken from magazines, conferences, radio and TV shows over the years. I am roughly 35% of the way through now and it is BRILL - you can say what you like about Stan Lee (and people do) but BY GOLLY he has an engaging way of conversing, and he believes many things with which I entirely AGREE - possibly because I have spent my life READING Stan Lee and thus most of my OWN thoughts are based on HIS. There's one bit in particular where he talks about how comics can be LITERATURE just like someone playing KAZOO can be music - Stan, you are singing my song right there!

With books collected I headed upstairs for a Supervisory Meeting, where myself and Mr R Sabin and Mr I Horton, my two Supervisors, went through my Registration Document. This is a form you have to complete during the first year of a PhD (at UAL at least) to persuade them that what you are doing is VALID, and thus I have been working on it A LOT over the past couple of months - I thought doing a PhD on Marvel Comics would mean reading COMICS, but so far it has been mostly FORMS.

We went looking for an empty classroom and found a GIGANTIC room that spanned most of the width of the ATRIUM, with huge glass windows on either side so anybody entering the building could look up and see us. We then put my form up on a GIGANTIC screen approx the size of my LIVING ROOM. It may seem excessive, but this turned out to be a pretty good way to collaborate on TEXT, as the three of us gently scrolled through it, making corrections as we went.

When it was all done and, with a few more amendments yet to do, almost ready to submit, talk turned to what I should do next for the PhD. "How about writing something?" suggested Roger. "Maybe about the actual comics?"

He was suggesting I actually READ SOME COMICS! Yikes! To be honest this freaked me out a bit, and after discussion we agreed that I'd do a TIMELINE first - the PhD is partly about DOCTOR DOOM, so we I suggested that first of all I do some research into his publication history before I do something as RADICAL as Actually Reading Comics. The very idea!

When that was all settled we popped downstairs to the CSM bar for a PINT - after that shock I needed one!

posted 16/2/2017 by MJ Hibbett

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