This year, the BCNM awarded five new media graduate students with summer fellowships to help support their dissertation research and writing. Here’s what Grace Gipson gained from the experience!
The comic book world is truly a hidden gem here in Amsterdam!! For two weeks this summer, I’ve had the opportunity to interrogate the role and representation of Black female characters in comic books in Amsterdam, Netherlands. During my time in Amsterdam I spent a lot of time at Henk Comics, which is the largest comic and manga store in Holland! This visit proved to be quite exciting and fulfilling considering this is the 20th anniversary of the store being open. Throughout these two weeks, I obtained a great deal of knowledge at Henk Comics that I did even begin to anticipate, nevertheless very fruitful. The way that many of the comics and manga deal with race and gender is quite fascinating, considering the Netherlands history of dismissing race. The comic book store and its owners are definitely using creative license to push boundaries as it relates to race and comics/manga; while at the same time bringing forth innovative ideas for incorporating technology in this burgeoning medium.
Prior to coming to Amsterdam I had no idea what to expect as it related to comics and manga, let alone the various narratives that I would encounter. Yet, this extensive visit to Henk Comics along with my corresponding Summer School experience has proven very beneficial towards my future dissertation work.