Arctic Comics Seminar 2016

Arctic Comics Seminar 2016 – Comics and science


Oulu Comics Center invites you and your organization to join the Arctic Comics Seminar, held in 4 November 2016, in the city of Oulu, Finland. Seminar will held in Sarjasto, Comics library.

The Arctic Comics Seminar 2016 focuses on the theme of comics and science. We invite researchers, students and enthusiasts of comics to participate. Proposal for scholarly papers from any academic discipline that seek to examine, interrogate, and expand research related to comics, in any medium are welcome. Papers will be allowed a maximum presentation time of 20 minutes. Seminar is organized in co-operation with the University of Lapland and Finfar – The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research. Download more information (PDF)


  • Arctic Comic Seminar opening words

    10:30 Oulu City Library / Comics Library

    Friday’s program begins with the traditional Arctic Comics Seminar.
  • Aino-Kaisa Koistinen, Essi Varis, Tanja Välisalo – Adapting Alias?: Transmedial Characterization of Jessica Jones | Arctic Comic Seminar

    10:45 Oulu City Library / Comics Library

  •   In the new millennium, media producers across the world have opted more and more often for so called transmedia storytelling (Jenkins 2006), or the creation of transmedial worlds (Klastrup and Tosca 2004), which entails building a storyworld simultaneously in various media platforms. It can be argued that one of the most notable and lucrative forerunners of this trend have been American superhero franchises, such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (see Harvey 2015). Our paper aims to dissect one of the narratives constituting the MCU: Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ Alias comics series (2001–2004), and the original Netflix series Jessica Jones (2015‒) it recently inspired. More specifically, we shall discuss the transmedial characterization and/or character adaptation of the eponymous protagonist, retired superhero Jessica Jones, in relation to previous theories of adaptation and transmedia. Do the two series pose two distinct versions of the character, or do they form between them a singular, extended ‒ but not necessarily coherent ‒ transmedial universe, with a continuous character identity? That is: is the relation between the comics and the online television show adaptational or transmedial, and how do these mediums contribute to Jessica Jones’ characterization as a female superhero? Dr. Aino-Kaisa Koistinen is a senior researcher in literature at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her research interests include television, speculative fiction, gender studies and transmediality. Lic. Phil. Essi Varis works as a comic book researcher and a doctoral student in literature at the Department of Art and Culture Studies of the University of Jyväskylä. She is aiming to defend her compilation dissertation concerning the functions and cognitive theory of comic book characters in 2017. MA Tanja Välisalo is a doctoral student in contemporary culture at the University of Jyväskylä. She is writing her dissertation on virtual characters in media fandom. Her research interests include identity and materiality in fandom, transmedia audiences and ludification of culture.
  • Timo Konttinen – On how to grow comics in Academical studies| Arctic Comic Seminar

    11:15 Oulu City Library / Comics Library

  •   I degreed in spring of 2016 as Master of Culture and Arts. My thesis was partly made in a form of a cartoon. My seminar presentation includes an overview to my own thesis and other people who have used comics instead of normal writing in their works. I would like to share my vision and discuss about all possibilities how we could use comic in academical studies or at work. Timo Konttinen, born 1979 Anjalankoski, lives and works in Jakobstad, Finland. I paint and draw at least one artwork every day. The artistic styles vary – my works often feature a lot of people, beings, faces, eyes. Underground culture, cartoonish expression, the combined effect of text and image are elements found in my works. I utilize several different art forms in addition to drawing and painting: comic or graphic novels, printmaking, performance, music. BA in Fine Art in 2004 from Svenska Yrkeshögskolan, Nykarleby, FI and MA in Culture and Arts in 2016 from Novia University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Jakobstad, FI.
  • Harri Filppa – Panel-to-panel transitions in sequential visualizations| Arctic Comic Seminar

    11:45 Oulu City Library / Comics Library

      How panel-to-panel transitions works in sequential storytelling? Reading track called flow depends on the culture and language. Flow leads the reader panel after panel and page after page toward the destination. Changes in the empty space between panels allows the reader to think. What happens inside the flow and how panel-to-panel transitions can be categorized? Cartoonist and comics theorist and graphic designer MA Harri Filppa graduated in 2007 from the University of Lapland Faculty of Art and Design. In 2011, Kustannus HD published Filppa’s groundbreaking Master’s Thesis, designed as a comic book, Tiedettä ja sarjakuvaa ‒ Ruutujen kaupalla (“Science and Comics”). At the moment, Filppa is working on his doctoral dissertation focusing on the visual language of comics at the University of Lapland. Filppa is the Director of Oulu Comics Center, Editor-in-Chief of Ruutukaava -comics journal published by the Oulu Comics Center, and board member of Sarjakuvantekijät ry, union for Finnish comics professionals. More information (in Finnish) on:
  • Coffee break and free discussion | Arctic Comic Seminar

    12:15 Oulu City Library / Comics Library

    Self financed coffee break. Omakustanteinen kahvitauko.
  • Kristian Hellesund – New optics on Norwegian comics history | Arctic Comic Seminar

    12:45 Oulu City Library / Comics Library

  •   Special lecture about history of Norwegian comics and Kristian Hellesund`s soon-to-be published book. There has been very little research around comics in Norway. There are few papers written by scholars and researchers, and students of literature, arts and history usually pick other subjects than comics for their master or doctoral theses. Most of the work around Norwegian comics history has been done by enthusiasts documenting comic books released by various publishers. The first catalogue of comic book releases in Norway, Norsk Tegneserie Index, was released in 1983. Later there have been seven updated editions of this book. One challenge for researchers is that there are comics published in newspapers and magazines that are not documented in these books. In my lecture I will present some finds from my work on a book chronicling the history of comics in Norway. After research in libraries and archives, I have found rare and sometimes undocumented comics by Norwegian artists. In some cases the artists involved are better known for their work in other fields. I have also documented that what are believed to be early American comic strips and Sunday pages published in Norway, have actually been redrawn and remediated into picture stories with text under the drawings. In my lecture I will present various examples of original American comics and the redrawn versions from Norwegian newspapers, magazines and comic books. I will show the differences through storytelling and remediating and give my thoughts on why this was done. Perhaps some of the artists involved were Norwegian? My hypothesis is that we now need new optics to look at the Norwegian comics history. I will therefore present an updated timeline for Norwegian comics history. This timeline will include works from before World War 2, comics works from the 1950s and 1960s, works by the Norsk MAD and Pyton generation and modern comics strips and graphic novels. Among the important names in my lecture are Olaf Gulbransson, Ragnvald Blix, Jens R. Nilssen, Solveig Muren Sanden, Håkon Aasnes, Knut Westad, Arild Midthun, Steffen Kverneland, Tommy Sydsæter, Frode Øverli, Lars Fiske, Lise Myhre, Lene Ask, Øystein Runde, Ida Neverdahl, Anja Dahle Øverbye and the Dongery collective. Kristian Hellesund (b. 1970) is a deputy headmaster at a Norwegian primary school. He has a weekly column about comics in the Sydvesten newspaper, and has been writing about comics since 2006 for the website. He is also one of the organizers of the Stribefeber comics festival in Kristiansand, Norway. Kristian Hellesund has translated Marvel superhero comics into Norwegian for the Seriehuset publishers. He has also edited eight issues of the FLEIP comics anthology and various Norwegian comics oneshots. At the moment Hellesund is working on a master thesis in paedagogical science and a book on Norwegian comics history. In addition to his teacher’s degree, Hellesund has a bachelor degree in history.
  • Jyrki Korpua – Mythopoetics of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman -series| Arctic Comic Seminar

    13:30 Oulu City Library / Comics Library

      The Sandman is a hugely popular dark fantasy series written by Brittish writer Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) and published originally from 1989 to 1996 in the United States of America by comics syndicate DC. Originally the series was conducted as a revival of 1970s The Sandman -series by Joe Simon, Michael Fleisher, Jack Kirby and Ernie Chua, but Gaiman’s work soon moved away from the so-called ”DC-universe” and created its own mythopoetic secondary world. Mythopoetic here meaning creative myth-making. The term has been connected with authors of fantasy fiction who integrate mythological themes and archetypes into fiction. Gaiman’s series focuses on the character of Sandman, the Dream, one of the Endless – immortal beings governing certain functions in the universum of the series. Each Endless has atributions of certain ideas (such as dreaming, destiny or death), and/or emotions (such as desire and despair). The Sandman himself can be seen in the series as an anthropomorphised version of the concept of ”dreams”, but it is in many occasions emphasided that ”he is Dream”, and not (just) a representation of ”dreaming”. In the series, the Sandman is also repsonsible for his own plane of existance, the Dreaming where mortals (of Earth, for example) travel during their sleeping periods. Gaiman’s The Sandman creates interesting mythopoetic intratextualies, where familiar and unfamiliar mythic elements taken from all around world cultures, and also those elements created for the series, form a coherent well balanced secondary creation: The Sandman -universe. My paper discusses how these elements are mythopoetically constructed. PhD Jyrki Korpua is a literary scholar and cultural researcher working as a post doc researcher on international “The World Hobbit Project” reception study. Currently Korpua is working in the Finnish sub-project “Uses of Fantasy” studying the reception of The Hobbit movies and Game of Thrones television series. Korpua’s research interests include for example comics & graphic novels, fantasy, myth, the Bible, Plato, utopian and dystopian literature, and literary history in its many aspects. Korpua is a board member in Oulu Comics Society and the chair person of FINFAR – Finnish Society for Fantasy and Science Fiction Research.
  • Katja Kontturi – How to Study Donald Duck? Fantasy and postmodernism in the Disney Comic| Arctic Comic Seminar

    14:00 Oulu City Library / Comics Library

      Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart analyzed Disney comics in their (infamous) book How to Read Donald Duck – imperialist ideology in the Disney Comic (1971). Interesting as their analysis was, it wasn’t a scientific study, but a pamphlet against United States government. But how to do actual research on Donald Duck comics? The first doctoral dissertation (2014) concentrating in the contents of the Disney comics dealt with fantasy genre and postmodernism. The Finnish “Ducktor” talks about her study and how we can analyze our favourite comic. Reseacher PhD Katja Kontturi defended her doctoral dissertation in the University of Jyväskylä in 2014. Her thesis, Duckburg – The Gate between Two Worlds: Don Rosa’s Disney Comics as Postmodern Fantasy analyses how comics depict fantasy with both text and image. In her dissertation, Kontturi developed an analysis model for comics which is compatible for teaching comic narration and comic reading skill in primary schools.  Kontturi has published several articles, and taught a course of comics history, theory, analysis and interpretation in literary studies starting the year 2013. She is a member of NNCORE, FINFAR – Finnish Society for Fantasy and Science Fiction Research, and Finnish Comics Society. She is also one of the editors of the peer reviewed Scandinavian Journal of Comic Art. More information on:
  • Closing of the Arctic Comics Seminar

    14:45 Oulu City Library / Comics Library

      After the seminar day, the guests of the Arctic Comics Seminar are invited to enjoy the rest of the program of the Oulu Comics Festival. Welcome to the informal round table meeting and after talks at cafe Konst o. Deli, where Comics goes Afterwork 4-8 pm. Hallituskatu 7, Cultural Centre Valve.