Kent State to Honor 75th Anniversary of Wonder Woman at Symposium
In honor of the 75th anniversary of the comic book super heroine Wonder Woman, Kent State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Ohio Humanities Council and the Cleveland Public Library have partnered to organize a symposium that celebrates the historical trends that have changed the world of comics, American popular culture and feminism. Centering on the Wonder Woman figure and her heirs, the Wonder Woman symposium will be held at the Cleveland Public Library and other locations from Sept. 22-24. It will feature plenary addresses by major creators in the industry and historians of the comics world and workshops by comics creators. The events are free and open to the public. To see the full schedule, read the speaker bios and register for the symposium, visit www.kent.edu/wonderwoman.
To celebrate this historical moment, Vera Camden, Ph.D., a professor in Kent State’s Department of English since 1984, organized the symposium with her graduate assistant Valentino Zullo.
“Our celebration of Wonder Woman’s anniversary pays respect to ‘herstory’ while recognizing her perpetual relevance to our present day and beyond,” Camden says. “We hope this symposium engages several humanities’ disciplines to cultivate participants’ capacity to understand, critique and celebrate not only popular culture and imagination, but also democracy, empathy and the complexity of the world we live in.”
Plenary speakers include:
- Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti (via skype), the creative team of Harley Quinn, Starfire, and Harley Quinn and Power Girl
- Phil Jimenez, writer/artist of Wonder Woman and Superwoman, and artist of Astonishing X-Men, New X-Men, Amazing Spider-Man and The Invisibles
- Joan Ormrod and David Huxley, editors of the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics and of Superheroes and Identities
- Cameron Stewart, writer/artist of Batgirl, Motor Crush and artist of Batman and Robin and Fight Club 2
- Trina Robbins, author of The Great Women Superheroes, Wonder Woman, and editor of Babes in Arms and The Complete Wimmen's Comix
- Genevieve Valentine, author of Catwoman, Xena: Warrior Princess and the novels The Girls at the Kingfisher Club and Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti
- Carol Tilley, author of "Seducing the Innocent: Fredric Wertham and the Falsifications That Helped Condemn Comics" and a Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards Judge
- Laura Siegel, daughter of Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman. A former correspondent for CNN, she has won more than 100 awards, including 13 Emmys and eight New York Festival Awards
- Peter Coogan, Kent State alumnus, director of the Institute for Comics Studies and author of Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre and co-editor of What is a Superhero?
“By hosting the event at the Cleveland Public Library, we hope to situate this program as one that fulfills the values of Kent State University to cultivate critical thinking and reading skills of individuals in the community,” Camden says. “This event embraces the Cleveland Public Library in its role as 'The People’s University.' The focus will not only be on celebrating the rich history of comics but also educating the public – the same one from which Superman emerged in the Cleveland of 1938.”
Photo caption: Pictured is the cover of the first print run of It Ain't Me, Babe (1970), the first comic book produced entirely by women. It was co-produced by Trina Robbins and Barbara "Willy" Mendes, and published by Ron Turner at Last Gasp comics.