ACMI & The Australian Research Council present

Superheroes Beyond

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In this three-day conference, more than 50 leading Australian and international scholars will descend on Melbourne to talk everything superheroes, from cosplay and the Marvel Cinematic universe to real-life superheroes and the ethics of these costume-clad adventurers.

Featuring an all-star line-up of creators that includes the first woman to draw Wonder Woman, underground comix legend Trina Robbins; the first woman of colour to win an Eisner Award, scholar, writer and filmmaker Sheena C Howard, as well as leading Australian creators Tom Taylor (X-Men: Red), Nicola Scott (Wonder Woman), Sutu (Neomad), and Wolfgang Bylsma (Gestalt Comics).

Register now to take part and be the first to try Superheroes: Realities Collide, a new VR experience at Screen Worlds that will let users wield superpowers in a comic book version of Melbourne.

The Superheroes Beyond conference is organised by the Superheroes & Me research team and is supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and ACMI.

Full conference registration

One day registration


Trina Robbins has been drawing and writing comics since 1966, when she drew comics for the East Village Other, New York’s iconic underground newspaper, while at the same time designing and selling clothes from her Lower East Side boutique, Broccoli. In 1970, she produced the very first all-woman comic book, It Ain’t me, Babe. In 1972 she was one of the founding mothers of Wimmin’s Comix, the longest-lasting women’s anthology comic book. (1972 – 1992) In the mid-1980s, tired of hearing publishers and editors say that girls don’t read comics and that women had never drawn comics, she co-wrote (with Catherine Yronwode) Women and the Comics, the first of what would become a series of histories of women cartoonists. She has been responsible for rediscovering previously forgotten early women cartoonists like Nell Brinkley, Tarpe Mills, Barbara Hall, and Lily Renee. In 1986 she became the first woman to draw a Wonder Woman comic book. In 2013 Trina was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame. In 2017 she was inducted into the Wizard World Hall of Legends, and at the San Diego comic convention she received the Eisner award for editing the two-volume reprint collection of the complete Wimmin’s Comix.

Sheena C. Howard is an award-winning scholar, writer and documentary filmmaker. Howard is an Associate Professor of Communication, with a Ph.D. from Howard University in Intercultural and Rhetorical Communication. In 2014, Howard became the first woman of colour to win an Eisner Award (considered the Oscars of Comics) at San-Diego International Comic-Con for her first book, Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation. Howard is the co-writer of the critically acclaimed comic book, SUPERB and the author-editor of the Encyclopedia of Black Comics. Howard has been featured in the LA Times, NY Times and Washington Post. She has been featured in films and documentaries as an expert on race, gender, and sexual orientation. Howard is also the author of Black Queer Identity Matrix and editor of Critical Articulations of Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation. Howard recently appeared in the Comcast On-demand short film, Groundbreakers: Heroes Behind the Mask.

Tom Taylor is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and multi-award-winning playwright and screenwriter. Taylor is currently the writer of X-Men: Red and Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda for MARVEL, and Injustice 2 for DC Comics. Tom is the co-creator (with James Brouwer), lead writer and Executive Producer of the CG animated television series, The Deep, based on the graphic novels of the same name, published by Gestalt Publishing in Australia and Boom! In the US. The TV series is currently screening globally, including on ABC Australia, Netflix in the US and BBC in the UK.
He is well-known as the writer of the DC Comics series Injustice: Gods Among Us, Earth 2, Batman/Superman, Justice League/Power Rangers and Green Lantern Corps, and Marvel’s Superior Iron Man, All-New Wolverine as well as his many Star Wars works for Dark Horse Comics and Lucasfilm

Nicola Scott is an Australian comic book artist. With a history in theatre and in costume design Nicola started pursuing a comics career in 2001. She quickly became a fan-favourite when she began working exclusively for DC Comics on iconic characters such as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and team titles such as Birds Of Prey, Secret Six, Teen Titans and New York Times Bestseller Earth 2. 2016 saw the launch of her critically acclaimed creator-owned maxi-series Black Magick and DC’s Wonder Woman: Year One to celebrate the characters 75th anniversary, both in collaboration with writer Greg Rucka. Also in 2016 Nicola partnered with DC Comics and The United Nations to create the key art for Wonder Woman’s Honorary Ambassadorship. She’s appeared in W Magazine, Vogue Australia, Frankie Magazine, written for The Guardian and guest judged on Cake Wars. She’s given talks at Graphic Festival, Araza Women Presents and the Adobe Max Creative Conference in October. She lives in Sydney with her husband and their cat.

Wolfgang Bylsma is the Editor-in-Chief for Australia’s leading graphic novel publishing house, Gestalt, which he co-founded in 2005. Wolf’s publishing endeavours have helped change the nature of the comics industry in Australia and assisted in building reputations and careers for Australian talent in the international market. Along with his role as Executive Producer on The Deep animated series, he serves as a Creative Consultant on additional TV and Film projects. Wolf was also featured as one of the main subjects in the television documentary series Comic Book Heroes, which chronicled the highs and lows of publishing comics and graphic novels in Australia. His own writing credits include adapting the Wastelander Panda ABC iView series to graphic novel form, and co-writing the Cleverman comics with TV series creator, Ryan Griffen.

Sutu (aka Stuart Campbell) uses art and technology in new ways to tell stories. He is known for his interactive comics including Nawlz, Neomad, Modern Polaxis and These Memories Won’t Last. He has been commissioned by the likes of Marvel, Google and Disney to create VR art for properties such as Doctor Strange and Ready Player One. He has also created three VR documentaries; Inside Manus for SBS, Mind at War for Ryot Films and The Battle of Hamel for the Australian War Memorial. He holds a Honorary Doctorate of Digital Media. His work has won Webby, FWA, ATOM, Ledger and JMAF awards. He is an Eisner-nominated comic artist and is a Sundance Fellow. In 2017 he founded EyeJack, Augmented Reality company.

Visiting the conference

If you'd like to join delegates at the Superheroes Beyond dinner, you can book here.

And if you're looking for a places to eat, things to do and accommodation ideas, you can find it on the Superheroes & Me web site.