AUSTIN – Huston-Tillotson University’s English Professor Jennine Krueger continues to stack up distinction locally and nationally as a poet and overall creative writer. Fresh off of a national poetry team second place win, Professor Krueger will lead a panel at a Wizard World Comic Con Austin event on tomorrow, Saturday, September 22. The panel will take place at Austin Convention Center from 12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. in Room Six.
The panel, “Black Heroes and Diversity: Beyond the Mask and Under the Cape,” extends Krueger’s research on pop culture that she completed for a national conference last semester with fellow professors. The panel’s description, as featured on the event’s website, is,
“Ralph Ellison once said, ‘When I discover who I am I’ll be free.’ Identity is crucial in both the development of marginalized populations as well as superheroes. How does one want to be a superhero when a hero can’t be themselves? How does one want to be another when that denies themselves? This panel will explore race, gender, and otherness in comics. The panelists will discuss beyond the mask and the cape looking at Black nerd culture and marginalized heroes. To be super is to be EXCEPTIONAL, and to be Black is to be anything and everything EXCEPT Black. However, if being Black is also invisible as Ralph Ellison writes, then we could ultimately be the greatest heroes ever.”
Joining Krueger on the panel will be those professors and members of a Wakanda panel Krueger organized and held at Huston-Tillotson during the stint of Marvel’s blockbuster hit, “Black Panther.”
Krueger is super excited about the panel.
“For one, I think students need to see that they can do scholarship in anything they are passionate about. You can be life-long learners in any direction. Even though the original presentation was a paper, because of putting together a panel, we came up with questions such as the first superheroes we connected to and why.”
For Krueger, Iron Man was her first superhero just because he was cocky and smart.
“Then, he later becomes Riri Williams, who is a black woman. Then, there is the issue of gender; although RiRi is a woman, she is still Iron Man, and overall, it is how gender plays out in literature and comics.”
Austin’s Comic-Con event is an extension of the huge national Comic-Con in San Diego. Tomorrow’s event will feature exhibits by comic book companies, costume designers, and as Kruger says, “anything you can think of Comic-Con nerd-related.”