Tourism - Credit Crunched

A recent seminar by VisitBritain and Visit London discussed their research into how the credit crunch has impacted on domestic tourism. Notes taken by Kurt Janson (Policy Director at Tourism Alliance) can be found here. The research considers the attitudes of respondents to the credit crunch, spending in the current climate, lifestyle changes including changing travel behaviour.

Despite the economic downturn, indications are that travel is still high on the list of priorities for many people, who view it as a necessity rather than a luxury; this has been outlined in a summary of the research by Visitbritain. They also look at marketing strategies to encourage Brits to take their holidays in the UK.
"...Sport builds bridges between individuals and across communities, providing a fertile ground for sowing the seeds of development and peace."
Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace
Sport is helping to bring together diverse communities worldwide; programmes which have been set up have helped areas split by war, refugees and young soldiers to integrate back into the community. There are many great examples of organisations, many non-profit, which have helped in this way - these include the International Table Tennis Federation which managed to encourage dialogue between the US and China, in the 1970s and the Cross Cultures Open Fun Football Schools. Another international organisation is Right to Play that aims to improve health, life skills and peace within communities and disadvantaged regions.

At a conference next week in Cardiff, discussions will include how to develop frameworks to encourage sports in devolved regions.

Dark Tourism

There have been a number of articles spotted on this topic recently. In 'Travelling to the dark side', the author talks about dark tourism in general; Philip Stone's 'A dark tourism spectrum: towards a typology of death and macabre related tourist sites, attractions and exhibitions' is available online or in Ebscohost (Athens) in fulltext. Another which may be of interest is based around the Ustica Disaster in 1980; Terezin in the Czech Republic comes under the spotlight in this article which lists the top 10 darkest attractions in the region.

There is a page of links to places which have a connection to historical figures; another article discusses the experience of visiting old houses and stonewalls. The website Post-Conflict Heritage looks at the restoration and politics at cultural sites such as Angkor.

Tourism Alliance

The Tourism Alliance is a collaborative of trade organisations such as VisitBritain, which aims to lobby government on key issues concerning the tourism industry. Their database contains various publications; a recent one looks at the positive impact that introducing Daylight Saving would have on the tourism industry. There is also a report on the impact of tourism on the UK economy. Links to current news articles, monthly newsletters and press releases are included.

They have given their response to the British Tourism Framework Review as set out by Deloitte for VisitBritain.

Tourismos - new issue

The latest edition of Tourismos is now available in full-text online. Contents include:
  • Travel decision making : the role of habit
  • Genealogy, the Internet and tourism
  • Seasonal analysis of tourist revenues : empirical research for Greece
  • Analysis of the impact of tourism on the West Africa economy
  • Germany-centred mergers and cartels in the European travel industry, their influence on Turkey and Antalya
  • Interpreting the logic of travel
  • SWOT analysis methodology in the formulation of propositions aiming at a more effective operational application of timeshare in Greece

Previous editions can also be viewed.

New Articles

Tourism Insights (non-Athens resource) now includes the following articles:

  • Social tourism in Flanders
  • Visitability : lessons from the 'Liveability' Agenda
  • Making access easy
  • Marketing your way out of recession
  • Sustainable tourism - where are we now?
  • Does the cost of visas affect tourism demand?
  • The role of the consultant in tourism development
  • Email marketing - cost effective, year-round promotion
  • Walking on water : why seaside piers are here to stay
  • The role of shopping in tourism destinations

Don't forget - Destination Manager's Toolkit is now available in Tourism Insights.

Monday morning blues

Feel inspired after seeing some of these wacky travel ideas!

The Sustainable Tourism Gateway

The Sustainable Tourism Gateway offers a range of resources to raise awareness and educate on issues relating to sustainable tourism.

Information sheets, case studies, news and details of forums can be found; a link to a report, Industry as a Partner for Sustainable Development by a collaboration of industry leaders including the WTTC, is also included. There is a page of links to relevant organisations as well as suggestions for journals and magazines.


A trial has been set up to SportDiscus until 1 December. Please take a minute to have a look at the range of sport and leisure resources available in this database. It is currently placed within Ebscohost (Athens).

Any comments/suggestions welcome!

Conferences & call for papers

Call for Papers - Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research : Special Issue Island Destinations

ATLAS Business Tourism SIG Meeting - 23-26 November 2008 in Warsaw, Poland

Wildlife Tourism - 27th November 2008 in Scotland

Texts and tours - 5 December 2008 in Leeds, UK

Contemporary Developments in Tourism, Travel & Hospitality - 3-5 April 2009 in Rhodes Island, Greece

2009 UNWTO Ulysses Conference - 27-28 May 2009 in Madrid, Spain

Events and Meetings in the City - 17-20 June 2009 in Goteborg, Sweden

3rd International Critical Tourism Studies Conference - 21-24 June 2009 in Croatia

Resorting to the Coast: Tourism, Heritage and Cultures of the Seaside - 25-29 June 2009 in Blackpool, UK

The International Event Management Summit - 6-8 July 2009, Gold Coast, Australia

OAG - Latest Report

A press release by OAG gives the latest research relating to the airline industry; a number of useful graphs and charts are provided giving comparisons over a period of 10 years of seat capacity, both globally and the USA. There are also links throughout the report to further graphs.

Latest newsletters

The latest bulletin from the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, is now available; it covers forthcoming events, conference reviews, research news, projects, professional development and new publications. Articles discuss festivals, screen tourism and coastal ecotourism more...

The Tourism Newsletter from University of Surrey is also available online.

Sports Events

Sports Event Management Conference 2008 @ London Chamber of Commerce : 12 Nov 08

Sports Security Summit 2008 @ Novotel St Pancras,
London : 13 Nov 08

Rugby Expo 08 @ The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (London) : 17 Nov-18 Nov 08

Soccerex 2008 @ Sandton Convention Centre, South Africa
- The Football Festival : 23 Nov 08
- Exhibition & Conference : 24-26 Nov 08

Women's Sport & Fitness Foundation @ Emirates Stadium (London) : 24 Nov 08

VisitBritian News

VisitBritain have released their mid-year update for projected figures for 2008. Includes an inbound visitor forecasts, upside and downside risks more...

Research conducted recently into the affluent Arab families market has found that an ideal holiday would be one that included visits to architectural and cultural heritage sites, as well as lots of shopping. Travellers hardly ever book their trips online as they feel it would be safer if made through a trusted travel agent more...

The House Magazine will host a half day ‘Westminster Briefing’ today. The course entitled “Taking Tourism Seriously: The Way Ahead for the UK Visitor Economy” will give delegates the chance to discuss key issues, including how best to build strong and coordinated working relationships across the public sector more...

To combat the recent credit crunch Enjoy England has put together a simple guide mainly aimed at SME’s that outlines 10 top marketing tips more...

Enjoy England have launched a campaign aimed at stimulating shortbreaks and days out in England in the face of an economic slowdown. The campaign will highlight the affordability of "going away at home" by showcasing special offers and incentives provided by industry partners. All English regions will be promoted and all tourism businesses can be a part of it more...

VisitBritain, Visit London and Radisson Edwardian Hotels recently hosted a highly successful cocktail event at Sydney’s exclusive Ivy Bar for over 150 guests from the business events sector. The evening helped position Britain and London as an important MICE destination, especially on the back of investments planned up to the 2012 Games more...

It was back in October 2004 that the Olympic bid was first assessed by Foresight in terms of what it would mean for the industry, and the August edition of Foresight reopens the issue of 2012 and what it will mean for Britain as a whole asking 'what is the scale of benefit for British tourism?' more...

While visits from EU15 countries and North America are down on this time last year, accession countries have dominated the inbound market according to the June figures of the International Passenger Survey more...

Shaping the City...

The Birmingham Big City Plan provides the ideas for shaping the city centre over the next 20 years although the wider economic situation may mean that development plans for regenerating Eastside may be shelved. Meanwhile, Birmingham City Council has been busy consulting with the public regarding the Sustainable Community Strategy in which they have set out their vision and targets for the wider community upto 2026.

Well done if you took part in The Big Picture! This was a project which took place over a period of 6 months this year to produce the World's Largest Photo Mosaic.

The Heart of England Excellence in Tourism awards will be be recognising quality and innovation in a range of tourism and hospitality ventures. Tickets for the event which will take place at the ICC are now on sale. Take a look at what the regions in the Midlands have to offer and cast a vote...

Recently, David Cameron MP was reported to say 'It's great to be in Birmingham'...It is energetic, vibrant and on the up', following the Conservative Party Conference which was hosted by the ICC recently (Forward, p.2). So impressed in fact, they are planning to hold the next conference here in 2010.

Report - Domestic Tourism

According to VisitBritain, representatives from across the travel industry agree the economic downturn, rising costs and falling consumer confidence are affecting prospects for the coming months. However, the positive outlook is that consumers persuaded to stay close to home by a weak pound and higher fuel costs represent a real opportunity for local tourism businesses. VisitBritain have released latest figures for domestic tourism in this online report.

The latest articles include a feature on the pollution issue that was such a concern before the Beijing Games and also looks at the performance of hotels there. Two articles look at what has happened in Athens since the 2004 Games, with Olympic venues standing empty but a revival for the hotel industry. Two articles have featured sport nutrition, an important factor in elite sport performance. Also in sport, the last month has seen a Database Focus article on winter sports injuries.

The economic slowdown has prompted a discussion on falling visitor numbers in Hawaii, while in the UK, the question is whether falling international arrivals may be offset by an increase in domestic tourism as holidaymakers look to take cheaper vacations at home. Funding targeting revival in English seaside resorts is also featured in the UK.

Tourism destinations featured recently include the Maldives, East Africa, India and Cambodia. Golf tourism development in the Philippines is reported, and we feature a report from the USA on how foreign tourists could help the US economy. Tourism issues featured include the effectiveness of loyalty schemes, attempts to set global criteria for Sustainable Tourism, and whether tourism can ever safely coexist with wildlife conservation. Other articles include hospitality management in China, and how to combine profitability and sustainability in the hotel industry.

Upcoming Conferences:

2008, November 21 - 22
Conference: 2nd Asia-Euro Tourism, Hospitality & Gastronomy Conference 2008
Venue: Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

2009, September 16 - 18
Conference: World Medical Health Tourism Conference
Venue: Phuket, Thailand

Dankai & W34 Research Summary

The latest research by VisitBritain highlights the perceptions of Britain as a destination for Japanese tourists. It has shown that life in Japan over the past ten years has changed and this has influenced the way people take holidays. It appears that people are looking for a more meaningful holiday, as opposed to cramming in as much as possible. There is also great admiration in Britain’s ability to preserve its historical, cultural and natural sites which makes it a place that most Japanese people want to visit at least once in their life time more..

ITB Berlin

The ITB Berlin 2008 - Exhibitors' Survey has now been published. This provides statistics on this year's exhibition - areas of focus include the origin of trade visitors, their line of business and their perceived business success following the exhibition. Also includes a Private Visitors' Survey.

ITB Berlin is an annual tourism trade fair with approximately 11,000 exhibitors in 2008 representing every sector of the tourism industry. The exhibition lasts 5 days of which 3 days are for trade visitors. ITB Asia takes place from 22-24 October for those lucky enough to be in Singapore this week. ITB Germany 2009 will take place next March. See their website for further details or click here to register.

A note on ebooks...

As more and more popular titles come online, we try to encourage students to make use of these as much as possible for a number of reasons - they are available around the clock, whether you are studying onsite or at home; it is possible to search within the book itself; there is a facility to make notes - which can then be downloaded. You may wish to download a book to your desktop for a number of days for easy access by bypassing Blackboard. Or you may wish to view the book quickly online without downloading. But best of all, you don't have to worry about the book being late and clocking up fines!

Two popular tourism titles by Buhalis are now available online Tourism Business Frontiers (Dawson Books) and Tourism Management Dynamics (Ebook Library). For a full list of ebooks available, take a look in the Ebooks Catalogue, available from the Library Catalogue page.

Remember - each of the ebook databases have their various quirks:

Netlibrary - click on 'Athens Users Log-in here' to access the search page. Ebooks are not downloadable but instead, can be viewed as long as is needed. HOWEVER, if there is inactivity longer than 15 minutes, you will be logged out of the ebook.

Dawson Books - to view online, click the appropriate link on the search results page; to download, click on the title of the book and scroll down for this option.

Ebook Library - the options to view online or download are both available when you access a title.

Tourism Insights

The Insights journal by VisitBritain was published between 1989 and 2004 and has since been missed. However, it's now back - online and with a new name Tourism Insights. This provides articles, case studies, market intelligence, industry opinion and future predictions. As well as an article archive, the website also contains the Destination Manager's Toolkit, which will be available soon.

Access off-site is via Blackboard (Non-Athens Resources link). The previously printed journals are available in the Quick Ref section.

Int. J. of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

A special edition of this journal will be published which will examine what effect scandal and corruption has on sponsorship of sporting events. Papers submitted on any aspect of the relationship between scandal, corruption and sponsorship will be considered for publication with a deadline for final submission of 31st January 2009 more...


ATLAS - key dates

VisitBritain - key dates

International Conference on Festivals & Events Research: Florida, 18-21 Jan 09

Texts and Tours: Developing the Potential of Literary Tourism: Leeds, 5 Dec 08

4-Hour Guides

Here's a great idea - Business Traveler (US version) have put together a number of online travel guides for a range of popular business destinations worldwide. These provide an overview of the area, with specific places to visit and directions to get there. Especially geared toward the business traveller or anyone with a little time to spare and a new place to explore outside their hotel door...

Or if you prefer the UK edition, Business Traveller also have a section offering slightly more detailed city guides with helpful maps included.

ABTA Magazine

The August issue of ABTA magazine is jam-packed as always with news from the travel industry. Adventure travel is the cover story in this one with examples given of various activities and links to tour operators. Destinations in focus are the Red Sea Riviera, Argentina, India and Chicago. News stories include air travel, technology, business travel and hotels. A profile of Sunvil Holidays is given. Just some of the other topics discussed are homeworkers, business travel and high-speed rail travel across Europe with samples of destinations.

Conferences and call for papers

CFP Heritage in Asia - converging forces and conflicting values: Singapore, 8-10 Jan 09

Globalization, Development and Tourism: Mega Events and City Tourism: Shanghai, 6-9 Nov 08

IIPT First European Conference on Tourism and Peace: Netherlands, 21-24 Oct 08

International Conference on Tourism Development and Management: Kos Greece, 20-23 June 09

National Sports Development Seminar: Sheffield, 3-4 Sept 08

RSA Tourism 08: Developing tourist destinations: Denmark, 26-28 Nov 08 publish a journal which focuses on events, marketing and media within the sports industry. Within these sections articles cover a range of sport-related matters, including:
  • education
  • event management
  • finance
  • hospitality
  • law
  • gaming
  • sponsorship
  • sports tourism
  • technology
  • ticketing
  • TV rights
The website provides a list of various sporting activities which link to related news articles, or there is the option of searching articles by country. News stories have also been archived.

For email alerts on contents of the latest issues, subscribe by entering your email address at the top of the page on the website. The print journal can be found in print at Summer Row library.

Joint Ventures: Blues & Villa

Birmingham has taken an historic step by becoming the first city to sponsor two of its local football clubs - Aston Villa and Birmingham City. Marketing Birmingham have signed a 3 year contract with the teams in a project which will promote the brand, in order to boost tourism in the city. The Chief Executive of Marketing Birmingham Neil Rami commented, "Football has a global audience of 3.13bn and is a major influence on tourism, helping to shape people's perceptions of a city, particularly with international's the first time that a city has supported its football clubs in this way and we're very excited about the project." more...

Key facts:

  • 31.9m visitors to Birmingham in 2007, 1.5m more than 2006
  • The campaign is to launch in September
  • Visit Birmingham - the name of Marketing Birmingham's new leisure campaign
  • Birmingham City Council is to fund Marketing Birmingham over 3 years

Always leave 'em laughing

Way back at the end of June, I had an opportunity to satisfy my somewhat obsessive-compulsive nature and end this blog on a Significant Number (144 posts, to be precise). I chose to linger rather than leave, feeling I had more left to say. Perhaps I should have seized that moment when I could, because now, a little more than month and only two posts later, The Recreation Annex is indeed drawing its curtains closed.

I have started a new blog on WordPress called WalakaNet that combines a few of my outlets into one source; comics will no longer be the sole focus of the site, but will have its own section. You might say I am moving the dial a little bit away from the Fortress of Fortitude end and toward the Estoreal end. (As long as I don't move into Capespotting territory; where the heck are ya, Cap?)

I want to thank everyone who has come by or offered support. Realizing that over the past two and half years people have paid something like 40,000 visits here to see what I was up to makes me feel like I was a small but real part of the comicsweblogosphere. I hope some of you come by the new place for my occasional observations.

And now, two short videos, both (coincidentally) with political themes, that made me laugh.

An example of hard-hitting investigative reporting from San Diego, with surprising results:

I don't know how to categorize this, but that doesn't mean it's not cool:

Well, so long, and as Stan The Man used to say, Excelsior!

Before, during and after: London 2012

This paper by DCMS forms a legacy plan which sets out in detail what they hope will be achieved by holding the Olympics in London, including regeneration and its aims
to engage all sections of the community. There is a chapter which explains how the legacy will be delivered across Great Britain with tips for employers, local government and the public on participation and taking advantage of opportunities created by the upcoming event. An illustrated time-line is included to show the activity programme upto 2012. Results to research carried out on the awareness of and attitudes towards the Olympic Legacy and its aims, are also shown.

With the Beijing Olympics also now underway, the official website is a one-stop info point. Here you can find out the latest news, schedules, live results, details on athletes, sports and venues. Also includes videos, photo gallery and an educational section.

Journals Roundup

International Journal of Sport Marketing and Sponsorship (Olympics special edition via Infotrac):
  • Coca-Cola China’s Virtual Olympic Torch Relay Programme at the Beijing Olympic Games
  • Olympic sponsorship: evolution, challenges and impact on the Olympic Movement
  • Selection of leveraging strategies by national Olympic sponsors: a proposed model
  • Winning the Olympic marketing game: recall of logos on clothing, equipment and venues at the 2006 Turin Olympics
  • The Olympic Equestrian Games: brand collaboration and associations occurring within a destination and a sports event
  • Olympic Games host and bid city marketing: exploring issue management in the relationships among event stakeholder group

Hidden Europe:

CTCC Newsletter - latest edition

On the Road magazine - latest edition

Comics, comics, everywhere...

with esteem and respect to Bruce Eric Kaplan

I have cited this cartoon before, because I think it sums up the mainstreaming of comics that we seem to have been experiencing over the past few years. We can parse out the details, but there's no denying that folks are talking about comics out in the open, without apology, with more frequency than ever before. This situation was driven home to me over the past few days.

First off, I got a phone message from a pal telling me that a local AM talkradio host was going to be interviewing Neal Adams. I tuned in and for a solid hour Adams talked about the reinvention of Batman in the sixties after the television show and other topics that wouldn't have been out of place on any comics blog. Check it out: July 15, 2:00pm.

I grant that that interview might have been sold because of the Dark Knight movie, and that the situation in general has been helped by so many comic book adaptations or comics-inspired films being released this summer, but c'mon: who would have imagined that a regular essayist on NPR would contribute a piece examining in detail the DC fan/Marvel fan divide, under any circumstances? Yet this is what I heard the very next day on Morning Edition, in a piece by John Ridley.

The next day, Steve Scher, the host of Weekday, a local program on the Seattle NPR affiliate, devoted a whole hour of his show to comic books, speaking with Mike Mignola and Douglas Wolk, among others. I guess this shouldn't have surprised me so much, since Scher spent a whole hour interviewing David Hajdu a few months ago, when Ten-Cent Plague came out, and constantly surprised the author with his depth of understanding of the subject.

Out of curiosity, I did a search on the NPR site tonight, and found that this afternoon I missed an All Things Considered report on international comics and that a few days ago Day to Day used the Batman movie opening as a springboard to do a fairly thorough examination of the evolution of The Joker over the years. That's all in addition to pieces on Dark Knight itself.

To top it off, I stopped by the library this week to talk to another pal, and she gave me a copy of the SPL annual report: they got Ellen Forney to produce it in "graphic novel" format, which is to say it uses some specific elements and the general aesthetic of comics to present the material. Here's the cover and a sample page:

So, while I don't think that we'll be seeing folks on the beach reading comics a regularly as paperbacks, or that graphic novels will replace newspapers as the commuter's reading material of choice, it seems pretty clear that the door to the general culture is opening wider and a little bit of light is being shed onto the shadowy world of comics geekdom.

To do list...

Call for papers: Journal of Tourism Consumption & Practice
Call for papers: New Journal - Recreation and Society in Africa, Asia, and South America
Call for papers: Association for Tourism in HE 2008 Conference - 3-5 Dec, Canterbury
Call for papers: State of Tourism in Africa - for Tourism Analysis Journal; email Kenneth Backman for further details
Final call for papers: RC50 (International Tourism) - 24-26 Nov, Jaipur, India
Call for chapters: The Experience of Tourism & Leisure: consumer & management perspectives (to be edited by Morgan, Lugosi & Ritchie)
Summer School: Territorial Development: culture, itineraries & creativity - 15-16 Sept, University of Bologna, Rimini

Tourism Report

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to oversee the expenditure, administration and policy of the DCMS, which is the government department responsible for UK sport and cultural projects in the UK. The DCMS provides VisitBritain with funding for marketing the UK abroad. The Committee has recently published a report which voices their concerns on the quality of support provided by DCMS to VisitBritain and in particular their decision to reduce future funding to VisitBritain. The proposal to introduce 'double British summer time' is also discussed as well as other issues regarding tourism in the UK including the Olympics 2012. For further clarification, here's another document which sets out the details of the funding agreement between DCMS and VisitBritain.

Latest articles...

Read some views on extreme tourism in this blog; this article tries to answer the question of who's participating in this activity and why. From extreme to dark tourism, Hitler lost his head soon after the heavily criticised waxwork was unveiled at Tussauds in Berlin. There have been a number of abstracts and articles on Chinese tourists and how destinations are marketing and catering for them in recently (non-Athens passwords apply). Also included are various reports on the Beijing Olympics as well as articles with a special focus on medical tourism, wildlife tourism and impact of tourism on World Heritage sites.

Zip! Bang! Zot! It's The Librarians!

One of the old TPBs in the Last Shortbox is Zot! Book One (Eclipse Books:1990), which collects the first half of the original ten-issue color run of Zot!, Scott McCloud's whimsical-yet-thoughtful take on the Flash Gordon style of adventure story. I have always liked this series, mostly for its mischievous tone, as it apparently alternates between parody and hommage of its source material. McCloud's talent is clearly in its developmental stage here: the illustrations are as masterfully expressive as any of his art, but he doesn't seem to display the same easy command of line and form as in his later work, and the plot can be pretty pedestrian. It's well worth a read, however, and not just for its historical value.

I recently acquired another Zot! collection:

The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991

Luxembourg 2007 - final report

As a European Capital of Culture in 2007, Luxembourg made sure that important facts were recorded, for example, numbers of visitors in 2007, whether the programme was well received and targets met. The result is a 140 page detailed report with contents including a look at audience profiles, cultural participation, marketing, communications, tourism and sustainability issues, social and economic factors.

Journals Roundup

On the Road magazine:
  • People, places, transport and travel industry & cruise updates
  • Feature: Faith based tourism
  • Hotel & restaurant news
  • European Eccentrics
  • Group options & attractions
Hidden Europe:
  • Lismore, Ireland
  • Immrama - Lismore Festival of Travel Writing

Marketing Birmingham: reports

Marketing Birmingham produce statistics following various surveys they carry out relating to tourism in Birmingham. The latest hotel occupancy report for the first quarter of 2008 is now available. The Birmingham Perceptions Survey has gathered people's views of Birmingham as a place to visit and to do business. And good news for retail - Birmingham is still second to only London's West End in terms of retail expenditure as illustrated in the the 2007 CACI Retail Ranking Results.

ATLAS Cultural Tourism Survey

A summary of a survey carried out by ATLAS for 2007 is now available online. It covers over 20 sites and events in 8 countries with results showing a continuing rise in cultural holidays. Tables and graphs containing statistics have been included to illustrate the results.

Another excursion into definition

Take a look at this little prose piece:

The proud Kuleeah was furious because Tarzan had made sport of her. Now she dashed toward him, determined to redeem her pride with his blood. She aimed a murderous blow at the head of unarmed ape-man. Again, Tarzan dodged, whirled, seized her, and lifted her high above his head. There he held her, kicking and squirming, while her comrades hurled gleeful taunts.

Though they laughed at Kuleeah's plight, they were impressed by the mighty Tarzan. “He can be my husband, though he conquer me and rule my hut,” cried one. This was heresy among the Amazons, who prided themselves on their dominance over men.

“I'll take him,” shouted another.

“No, he's mine,” insisted a third.

Soon, the tribe was in turmoil. As the warrior women fought amongst themselves, Tarzan set Kuleeah down. She ran away to get her bow and arrows. If she could not have him, no other would.

Then, suddenly, into this wild confusion burst a pack of hungry lions.

Although it does start in media res, this passage appears to be a pretty complete section of a narrative. Even from this excerpt, we can discern a lot about the characters and setting, and we can certainly follow the action. Is this a bit of a Burroughs book, or some fanfic, or what? Well, take a look at it in its original:

Click to embiggify

I ran across this Sunday strip at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive, which also has a wealth of comics and cartooning stuff.

I forget why I stumbled over it, but looking at this page immediately got me to thinking: there is no one, I think, who would exclude this page from a collection of comics, or comic strips, or sequential art, or graphic literature, or whatever phrase we want to use for all that funnybook stuff we like so much.

And yet, if we really look at the strip, there's no real fusion of word and image to make meaning or create communication. The text, as demonstrated above, can easily stand on its own and carry the entire narrative weight of the piece. The art, as exquisite as it is, really doesn't help to tell the story; it contains nothing new, no information that isn't already expressed by the text. The drawings certainly couldn't stand on their own and give us anywhere near the narrative detail that the text does. (For example, is there anything in panel four to indicate that the Amazons are "hurling gleeful taunts"?) To paraphrase Steve Lieber, the pictures may illustrate the story, but they aren't the story.

This seems to contradict what we expect from comics, that magical conjunction of words and pictures that creates something new, something that is neither merely prose nor art, but, well, comics.

We mist be missing something, but damned if I know what it is.

Maybe definition isn't that important after all.

This makes a dozen dozen posts on this blog: 144 entries in 915 days, about one a week. I know, that's pretty gross. I was looking for a significant milestone to quit on, and I thought this might be the one. But I don't think so now; there may be a few more things I want to say before that.

Re-cycling a great idea...

It started in Amsterdam, rapidly spread to Copenhagen and Oslo, hit Paris last year and has now pedalled its way to the UK - Bristol is the latest to introduce a cycle hire scheme. With the help of a government grant of £100m and £11.4m from Bristol, it has become the UK's first 'cycle-friendly city'. The money will create a cycling infrastructure within Bristol and 11 other towns, which will include public bike rental networks, free bikes in deprived communities, shower and locker facilities in the city centre, cycle paths to link the suburbs and the centre and training for schoolchildren.

To find out more about cycling in the UK, try the Cycling England website. The National Cycle Network which now covers 10,000 miles in the UK was developed by Sustrans, a sustainable transport charity. Click here for a map of the network.

Top bicycle friendly cities
Telly Savalas shares his views on Birmingham in the 70's, in this short film; apparently it was rockin'...

(Thanks for this David!)
Want to get the very best out of Google? Karen Blakeman provides training and consultancy on the use of the Internet and runs advanced search workshops. She offers her 10 top tips for searching Google more effectively.

Mail Call

Well, in an interesting development, this little internet web-log has received some comments on some old posts!

Someone liked the art from Lady Cop that I included in one of my earliest substantive posts, The Saga of Liza Warner, from January 4, 2006, and wanted to know the artists. This post came before I settled on the style of enlarging and bolding the titles and creator names of comics I review; I guess that was a good idea, because the information is included in the original post, but even I had a hard time finding it. (It's in small italics beneath the cover image.) For the record, the penciler was John Rosenberger and the inker was Vince Colletta.

Two people responded to my September 2, 2007 post ENO TAERG BPT! about the Silver Age JLA: Zatanna trade collection. That post included illustrations of the leggy magician by Murphy Anderson, Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino, and Mike Sekowsky; my correspondents are requesting, nay, demanding, a version by none other than -- Vince Colletta!

Well, I aim to please, so I did some research, but I have yet to find a Zatanna story penciled by Colletta, although he did ink a few, including the Romeo Tanghal preview in the same Zatanna trade. (Apparently, Colletta penciled a lot early in his career, but from the sixties on he almost exclusively focused on inking.)

I did find this great image of Zatanna pencilled by Don Heck and inked by Vince Colletta:

If you check the source post here on Gorilla Daze, you can read about Colletta's specific contribution to the illustration.

Tourism Calendar...

There is an invitation to join a new Nordic/Baltic research network in historical leisure studies, which also looks at second homes - please contact Henrik Halkier in the first instance.

The Escola Universitaria d'Hoteleria i Turisme will be the setting for the Barcelona Tourism Summer Course running from 30 June to 11 July 08 more

Traditions & Transformations: Tourism, Heritage & Cultural Change in the Middle East & North Africa region on 4-7 April 2009 in Jordan - conference and call for papers

International Society of Tourism & Travel Educators on 30 Sept-2 Oct 2008 in Dublin

Enter 2009: International Federation for IT, Travel & Tourism on 28-30 Jan 2009 in Amsterdam - call for papers

Tourist Experiences: meanings, motivations, behaviours on 1-4 April 2009 at University of Central Lancashire - extended call for papers

New Title - The Experience of Tourism and Leisure: consumer and management perspectives - To be edited by Brent Ritchie, Morgan and Lugosi; call for chapters, proposals by 31 July. Email Mike Morgan for further details.

Hidden Europe pride themselves on highlighting less well-known regions in Europe. Recent issues have covered a journey from England to Berlin via a number of trains, Baltic seaside resorts with a focus on Kaliningrad, Iceland's central highlands and the North Sea ferry crisis. Although this is a subscription-based journal, you may wish to sign up to the e-newsletter to receive summaries of new articles but the March issue is available in fulltext and here's the content list:

  • A Polish work of art: Zamosc
  • A London ghost: Crystal Palace
  • Calypso's isle: Gozo
  • Beyond the bug: rural Ukraine

Would you like to see this magazine in print? Please email me and let me know!

I read a comic book

Giant-Size Incredible Hulk #1
Marvel: July, 2008
Roger Stern, Writer;
Zach Howard & Cory Hamscher, Artists

I was killing a little time in the LCS the other day when I saw this book on the rack; the cover was compelling. I hadn't read any Hulk books in at least a decade, but here he was, on the front of a comic, beautifully drawn (by cover artist Gary Frank), and in classic form. I had seen covers and illustrations of Hulk over the past few years in a t-shirt, a tuxedo, a gladiator outfit, and who knows what-all. To see him in the traditional ripped purple pants, thooming his way through what could easily be Monument Valley, brought back fond memories, and the book didn't seem to be part of any bigger saga (it even said "one-shot" on the cover). I flipped through it: the art didn't suck and there was a reprint in the back. I bought it, even at $3.99

It was totally cool.

I don't know if this is some kind of under-the-radar tie-in to the new movie or what, but the story is an episodic overview of Greenskin's career and would completely fill a new reader in on the character; for me, it was more of a refresher course and a current-continuity-check. I don't know how much they're left out, but it sure reads like 1978 wasn't thirty years ago.

Stern, who was a Hulk writer back in the day, gives us a framing sequence courtesy of Fred Sloan, an ex-hippie writer who was apparently a temporary part-time Hulk sidekick at some point when I wasn't reading the series. While researching his second book on the Hulk, Sloan encounters minor characters from Hulk's past adventures, each one providing a different perspective on both the myth and reality of the Green-skinned Goliath. Meanwhile, Bruce Banner is having his own current adventure, hulking out during a restaurant robbery and encountering plenty more action afterwards. Stern ties the two threads together very satisfactorily and gives us a final scene that captures the essence of what the Hulk TV series did best: portray the haunted journey of Bruce Banner. The narration from the three final panels is as touching and apt a description of that Jekyll-Hyde relationship as any I have ever read.

But as textured as the writing is, Stern doesn't leave out that all important Hulk Smash! action. In the present day, we get to see Hulk make quick work of armed robbers, scare a bear, smack a Winnebago, destroy a logging operation, punch a van, and leapfrog from the mountains to the California coast; in flashbacks, he smashes a statue, smashes a jeep, fights a bunch of soldiers, saves a school bus, and beats up some rednecks.

Through it all, Hulk displays the personality I remember best: not too bright, generally good-willed, but proud, easily annoyed, and quick to anger.

The art by Howard and Hamscher can be a little dicey at times, with some odd proportions and perspectives, but they have a great design sense: the flashback scenes are not only colored differently (kudos to Lovern Kindzierski) but also rendered differently, with thicker outlines and some Kirbyesque touches that evoke the Silver Age source material perfectly.

All that would have been enough to make me happy for my four bucks, but I also got to read a Stern & Byrne Champions-era Hulk story, guest-starring two members of that team, Iceman and Angel. However competent a story this is (and it is), it was really nothing but a nostalgia-wallow for me, getting to see Warren Worthington with his gold chain and suave moves, Bobby Drake feeling and acting awkward, Doc Samson with Hulk on the couch, Hulk pounding Samson into the ground like a tent peg, Jim Wilson calming Hulk down, and all the heroes taking on a Sentinel (after the ol' get-Hulk-involved-by-pissing-him-off ploy).

As much as the back-up was a trip down memory lane for me, I really do think I enjoyed the main story on its own merits and not just for its evocation of the "the way things were when I liked them," although I am willing to admit to a strong bias in that direction. Nonetheless, I can state categorically that this is one of the few mainstream comics that I have looked at lately that I wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen reading: there's no gratuitously graphic violence, no objectification or T&A, no hard-ass grittiness to prove how "adult" the material is. And most of the people in the stories are regular folks - this isn't a cape-fest. It was just good funnybook material.

Incredible, indeed.

Dawson Books

Latest ebook titles:
  • Backpacker Tourism
  • Managing Coastal Tourism Resorts
  • Tourism, Culture & Development
  • Royal Tourism
  • Volunteering as Leisure
  • Special Event Production - The Resources
  • Special Event Production - The Process
  • Contemporary Tourism
  • The Competitive Destination
Recent issues of the Destination World e-newsletter include a range of news, features and forecasts, including a link to the Lonely Planet Bluelist - The Best in Travel 2008, featuring up and coming destinations, trends and experiences worldwide. It also draws attention to the ODI's YouTube video which explains the opportunities that tourism presents for developing countries; news of VisitBritain's Green Start strategy for promoting sustainable businesses and encouraging responsible visitors has a mention. There is also a feature on developing employee loyalty, conference highlights from Confronting Climate Change held in Bangkok and also details of a free ebook - Developing your Mobile Strategy, (mobile marketing travel companies) which can be downloaded (registration required).

The Climate Change Festival in Birmingham is now underway and over the course of this week will be offering a variety of events, alongside exhibitions, stalls and performers. Catch a tour of secret green roofs, send your own message to the world via the Green diary room at Central Library or attend a masterclass on climate change. There will also be a futuristic multimedia exhibition at Baskerville House later this week and don't miss the pylon near the Council House.

Comics blog comics

I was eagerly anticipating Fred van Lente's and Ryan Dunlavey's Comic Book Comics from Evil Twin. I thoroughly enjoyed Action Philosophers, and even used it in a composition class that I taught. I missed the new book when it first came out, and had to wait for my LCS to get their re-order before I could read it.

Man, was I disappointed.

I read Men of Tomorrow not too long ago, and just used Comic Book Nation in a class, and am in the middle of Hajdu's The Ten-cent Plague right now, so comics historiography is on my mind. Van Lente and Dunlavey do a pretty good job of chronicling the rise of comic books, but unlike AP, which seemed to clarify and popularize, this history seems too often to over-simplify and generalize. The authors have a strong analytical position - their treatment of animation as a necessary element to understanding comics is a fresh perspective, for example - but it seems that they were not terribly critical in assessing some of their sources. They seem to take the stories of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson's exploits prior to his publishing career at face value, for example, rather than including any additional information.

But scholarship quibbles aside, the major disappointment with book was just that it wasn't very good as comics. I couldn't see how presenting this in comics format added anything to to the telling: the creators don't really seem to be exploiting the form. On the contrary, most of the panels are merely non-sequential illustrations that "act out" the text without adding anything new to the communication. Take this page, which also includes the good major:

With the exception of the first panel, with its symbolic representation of Nicholson as a leader and where the word balloon dialog "Who's with me" is answered in the subsequent caption box, none of the illustrations adds anything to the text in any integral or creative way. Does the inclusion of a deliberately bad drawing in panel two really add to the description of the crude art found in early comics? Does a sketch of three swashbuckler types in panel three (two with Siegel and Shuster's faces) help us understand the description of strips like Henri Duval better? It would appear not.

There just seemed to be too much of this throughout the book. If I was just a little more OCD, I would type out all the caption boxes as straight text to see just how little editing it would take to turn the comic into prose. I'm betting very little.

So, as much as I enjoy reading about the history of comics, I'm not sure I'll be scooping up the floppies on this one. The trade may have to be part of my library just for the sake of completeness, but I'm afraid my enthusiasm for the project has dimmed.

And now, a little comicsy mystery:

As I wander around the net, I often save images of people reading comic books and newsstands selling comic books, just for fun and personal use, like for computer wallpaper. Here's one that I found somewhere:

It seems to show a newsstand in early 1938, as you can see several copies of Action Comics #1 on the lower rack in the front right. Pretty cool piece of comics history, eh?

Well, it took a student of mine, who was looking on the net for a copy of this image after I showed it to the class as part of an exercise, to point me to this from the Museum of the City of New York:

Notice that the comics are gone, and with good reason: the photo was taken by Berenice Abbot in late 1935 - over two and a half years before Action was published.

Why would someone photoshop this picture?

Unfortunately, I haven't found a source for the doctored image yet. I'll let you know if and when I do, unless someone tells me first.

Until then, remember: document your sources!

British Library : Industry Guides

For those interested in researching an industry for business purposes, the British Library have made available a set of subject guides to include print and online resources, covering a range of industries. There are guides to the Travel & Tourism Industry, the Sports Industry and the Health & Fitness Industry, giving statistical sources, directories and websites.

An appropriate occassion for a return

I have been away for this blog for too long because [insert usual description of RL interference with blogging responsibilities here], but some synchronicity compels a few remarks.

It had been a while since I have even bought a comic; I finally caught up with Comic Book Comics from Evil Twin and was very disappointed, but more on that later. But the other day I was in one of my LCS, and this cover caught my eye:

Arrowsmith: So Smart in their Fine Uniforms

Wildstorm: 2004
by Kurt Busiek, Carlos Pacheco, Jesus Merino, and Alex Sinclair

What caught my eye first was the sort of art nouveau design sensibility; as I leafed through the book, I could see that it was some sort of alternate history WW1 story, and something about it just hooked me. I took it home and read it over the next few days.

It turned out to be a well-done (if fairly typical) story of an idealistic young man who goes off to war for noble reasons and discovers that it is difficult to keep his moral stance in the middle of the horror of battle. The difference is that alongside traditional armaments, both sides use magic - sometimes nasty magic.

The book is beautifully drawn, the alternate world fully realized, and the characters engaging; the plot, however, could have been lifted from any of a number of war movies, and without much alteration would work just fine without any of the magical or other alternate history elements. Yet I feel the book is a worthwhile addition to the genre and well worth a read, for two reasons.

The first is that is is extremely well-done. Although the plot mechanics may be a little trite, Busiek's actualization of the trope is sophisticated and compelling. He makes us care about the characters and lets us feel their pain, their growth, their joys, and their losses. Within the fantasy realm, he paints as strong a picture of the realities of war as I think anyone could, and Pacheco's art more than meets the challenge of carrying the weight of the story. It is truly a tour de force for both creators.

Perhaps more importantly, the book called me to read it and to be open to its message. As jaded as I can be at times, I might not have read just another anti-war war book; I mean, there was All Quiet on the Western Front and Paths of Glory and Johnny Got His Gun and yeah, I've been there. But the alt-history pulled me in, and then the book slapped me in the face with a heaping dose of reality and made me think clearly again about about something incredibly significant, and made me feel again how I feel about it. And that is a good thing to have happen, and a nice achievement for any Art, whether fine, pop, or junk.

That this book made this statement to me on this particular weekend just made it all the more meaningful.

I guess Arrowsmith may be old news to some, but it was a new discovery to me; I suggest you check it out if you ever have the chance.

Conferences Update

International Society of Travel & Tourism Educators - Dublin, 30th Sept-2nd Oct
E-Marketing for Tourism Destinations (ETC-UNWTO) - Budapest, 16th-17th June
1st International Cruise Conference - Germany, 26th-27th Sept
Educaton & Industry (National Tourism Org. of Serbia) - Serbia, 26th-27th Sept
Forecasting the Future of Leisure 2008 - Nr Warwick, 3rd-4th June
Heritage & Cultural Tourism Business - London, 8th July
Tourism Landscapes and Luxury Consumption - Lancaster University, 11th-12th Sept
The SportBusiness Group supplies information, media and B2B marketing services to the sports industry; they also publish a magazine of the same name, with an archive available online. Topics covered include London 2012 news, event management, sports tourism, stadia and facilities, hospitality, gaming and law or find sports news from abroad. The site also includes a conferences page and events calendar.

Sign up to the BritSport Weekly bulletin or the Sport Business daily news bulletin.


OAG is well-known for providing a complete service for travel planners including airports, airlines and online booking websites. The online travel magazine has an archive back to 2003 which gives travel industry news covering airports, destinations, hotels, airlines and travel deals.

View the current newsletter and sign up to future issues.

Journals Roundup

Journal of Culture, Tourism & Hospitality (Emerald):
  • The watch as cultural icon
  • Going where the Joneses go: influence of others on travel decision-making
  • Facilitators & constraints in leisure travel participation: southeast Portugal
  • Examining the dimensions of a lifestyle tourism destination
  • Classifying wine festival customers
  • Aesthetic labor, rocky horrors and the 007 Dynamic
Tourism Review (Emerald)
  • 4L tourism (landscape, leisure, learning and limit): motivations and expectations to improve competitiveness of Alpine destinations sustainably
  • Facing the elements: analysing trends in Antarctic tourism
  • Impact of management changes to recreational fishing: Ningaloo Marine Park
  • Trends in winter sport tourism
London Journal of Tourism, Sport & Creative Industries (requires free registration to view):
  • Visualising London: images
  • London's hospitality workforce: cultural diversity - a choice or necessity?
  • Implications and issues of London 2012 for the site's residents
  • How can social marketing be used to promote sport?

Call for Papers

A new online publication 'Journal of Tourism Consumption & Practice', is due to be launched later this year and they are currently asking for submissions for the first issue. The journal will mainly focus on the interplay between the production and consumption of tourism as forms of interaction between people and place. Find out more...

Dawson Books

We now have Dawson eBooks on board within Athens. To view our selection (a 'small' one at the moment but we will be ordering more!), click on the 'eBook Catalogue' tab from the homepage; this will show all the titles available, which include:

  • The Global Nomad
  • Special Events
  • Tourism & Intercultural Exchange
Or you may want to search the whole catalogue using the search facility. Ebooks may be read online and this will allow 5% to be copied or printed. The other option is to download the ebook -from the results page, choose how many days you would like the ebook and save to CD or stick.

There is a help facility in case you need further support, or just contact me.