Some great panelists and topics…someone better be recording some of these!
R. Sikoryak’s Masterpiece Comics
For twenty years, stylistic chameleon R. Sikoryak has been producing literary adaptations in comics form that marry the plots of Western literary classics with the stylistic tics and tropes of classic comics. Originally appearing in RAW and numerous other anthologies, Sikoyrak’s parodistic adaptations have been collected in a book titled Masterpiece Comics, published by Drawn and Quarterly. He will discuss his work and working methods in a special slideshow presentation.
Paul Karasik and the Fletcher Hanks Experience
Cartoonist, editor and educator Paul Karasik has spent the last several years tracking down the idiosyncratic, visionary work of comic book artist Fletcher Hanks, now collected in its entirety in two volumes published by Fantagraphics. Karasik will speak about discovering the work of Fletcher Hanks, and will present “The Fletcher Hanks Experience,” an illustrated tour over the brutally surreal Hanks mindscape narrated by the late Fletcher Hanks, Jr.
Jerry Moriarty: Jack Survives
Jerry Moriarty is a painter, illustrator and cartoonist who has been teaching at the School of Visual Arts since 1963. Several episodes of his “Jack Survives” series of comics pages appeared in issues of RAW Magazine. This year, Buenaventura Press has published a definitive hardcover collection of Jack Survives, including never before published work. Publisher Alvin Buenaventura will discuss Jerry’s life and work with him in a rare spotlight session.
Spotlight on Peter Kuper
Peter Kuper is the co-founder of World War 3 Illustrated, the artist behind Mad Magazine’s Spy Vs. Spy, and the author of comics collections and graphic novels including The System, Speechless, and an adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. In this presentation introduced and moderated by comics scholar Marc Singer, Peter will discuss his career to date and his new book Diario de Oaxaca, a visual journal of two years in Mexico that coincided with a violently repressed teachers’ protest.
John Porcellino Q & A
John Porcellino has been self-publishing his ongoing mini-comics series King-Cat Comics since 1989. His spare but elegant style, insightful self-reflection, and DIY ethic have been an inspiration to countless cartoonists. His comics have been collected in several books, and in 2008 Hyperion published Thoreau at Walden, a graphic novel for young readers. This year, Drawn and Quarterly has published Map of My Heart, a new collection of work from his King-Cat series. John will discuss his work with friend, cartoonist and publisher Zak Sally.
Gahan Wilson in the Spotlight
The unmistakably macabre and hilarious Gahan Wilson was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1930. His work first appeared in Amazing Stories in 1954. Since then, his cartoons, illustrations and comic strips have appeared in Collier’s, Punch, National Lampoon, and, principally, Playboy and The New Yorker. This year, Fantagraphics publishes Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons, a three-volume slipcased set collecting his contributions to that magazine. He will be joined onstage by publisher and editor Gary Groth to discuss his life and work.
Josh Neufeld After the Deluge
Josh Neufeld has published several non-fiction comic books and series, including his 2004 Xeric Award–winning graphic novel A Few Perfect Hours. In 2005 he volunteered with the American Red Cross in Biloxi, Missouri following the Hurricane Katrina disaster. From 2007 to 2008 he serialized via the web A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, a non-fiction story relating the experiences of Katrina survivors. This year Pantheon Books has published A.D. in a print edition. In this presentation moderated by Gina Gagliano, Josh will discuss his work and the process of producing this comics document of recent events.
Carol Tyler Q & A
Born in 1951, Carol Tyler trained as a painter, earning an MFA from Syracuse University. In 1987 she published her first comics story in Weirdo. Since then her work has appeared in anthologies including Twisted Sisters, Drawn and Quarterly, Zero Zero, and Kramers Ergot. Her work has previously been collected in the books The Job Thing and Late Bloomer. This year Fantagraphics published her book You’ll Never Know: A Good and Decent Man, the first in a series of books recounting her father’s World War II experiences and their resonant effect on his – and her – life today. Carol will discuss her work with comics critic Douglas Wolk.
Jeffrey Brown Q & A
Jeffrey Brown entered the School of the Art Institute’s Masters program to study painting; by the time he earned his MFA, he had begun drawing sensitive autobiographical comics about life and lost love. Since then he has published several autobiographical books Clumsy, Unlikely, AEIOU, Little Things, and Funny Misshappen Body. His range of work also includes short fiction, humorously observant cat comics, superhero parody, and fantasy. He was recently the subject of an award-winning short documentary film. Heidi MacDonald will join Jeffrey onstage to discuss his diverse and evolving body of work.
Center for Cartoon Studies Comics Workshop
Faculty member Robyn Chapman and other students join us from the Center for Cartoon Studies, a two-year educational institution for budding cartoonists in White River Junction, Vermont. Robyn will talk about this unique school and will lead a hands-on cartooning workshop focusing on the basics of putting together a comics page, from thumbnail to final draft. No matter how little experience you have, you will leave this panel having drawn a comics page!
Now Make It Funny
Now that comics are finally being taken seriously, a new generation of cartoonists are bringing back the funny. Tucker Stone will talk to Emily Flake (Lulu Eightball), Matt Furie (Boys Club), Sam Gaskin (Fatal Faux-Pas) and Lisa Hanawalt (I Want You) about comics’ historical and ongoing aptitude for humorous effect, the deeper meanings of humor, and the struggles of producing comedy on a deadline.
Comic Strips: Online and In Print
The history of comics parallels and participates in the greater history of mass communication. As traditional print media struggles, the online medium has proved to be a hospitable site for the durable, traditionally formatted comic strip. But online cartoonists have increasingly found both material and creative rewards in republishing their work in print editions. Kate Beaton, Erika Moen, R. Stevens, and Julia Wertz will talk about the challenges and opportunities of working both online and in print with moderator Marc Singer.
Comics critic Rob Clough will lead a discussion with cartoonists who are debuting new books at SPX this year. These artists will talk about their new releases, what they represent to them, and how they fit into their work so far. Join us for a revealing conversation with Ken Dahl (Monsters), Eleanor Davis (The Secret Science Alliance), Hans Rickheit (The Squirrel Machine), and Zak Sally (Like A Dog).
A murderers’ row of comics critics will address general issues facing comics criticism today and will candidly discuss several new and recent works in a lively, no-holds-barred, roundtable conversation. Rob Clough, Sean Collins, Gary Groth, Chris Mautner, Joe McCulloch, Tucker Stone and Douglas Wolk will share their acute critical insights with moderator Bill Kartalopoulos.
The New Action
For decades, independent cartoonists have labored to distinguish their work from the corporately-controlled material popularly associated with the form. In the process, artist-driven comics have frequently avoided genres such as adventure, fantasy, and science fiction. Recent years, however, have seen a wave of cartoonists who embrace genre and have explored new ways to activate comics’ ability to depict movement, action, and spectacle. Sean Collins will discuss these topics and more with Shawn Cheng, Benjamin Marra, Brian Ralph, Frank Santoro and Kazimir Strzepek.
Since Scott McCloud formulated the 24-hour comic in 1990, countless cartoonists have tried their hands at this form of endurance-based cartooning. As this practice has grown into an annual worldwide event, other cartoonists have experimented with other forms of time-constrained cartooning, from the hourly to the minute-by-minute. Cartoonist and educator Marek Bennett will discuss the various permutations and productive pleasures of time-constrained comics with John Campbell, James McShane, Chris Piers, Maxime de Radigues and Robert Ullman.
The Future of the Comic Book
The economics and distribution of the comics specialty market have made the traditional comic book format an endangered species, even as book stores and libraries have become increasingly hospitable to long-form work. Moderator Bill Kartalopoulos will discuss the future of the comic book format with publisher Alvin Buenaventura, cartoonists Kevin Huizenga and Matthew Thurber, who have recently self-published their own serial comic book series, and Hellen Jo and Noah Van Sciver, two emerging artist who have recently launched titles in the embattled format.
Comics and Community
Dylan Williams (Sparkplug Books) leads an open and audience-inclusive discussion about the role independent comic creators, publishers, and distributors play in the comics community and how they can work together using principles of community organizing and resistance. Sally Bloodbath, Robyn Chapman, Benn Ray and Frank Santoro will talk about the internet, drawing nights, DIY networks, stores, distributors, publishers, friends, fans, clients, media outlets, tours, pooled resources, conventions and convention. Audience members are encouraged to bring their ideas.
The Aesthetics of Mini-Comics
Modestly-produced and hand-made comics have been the major point of entry for young cartoonists since the advent of cheap xerography. As comics have gravitated more towards bookstore-ready formats, some artists continue to find in hand-made comics a valuable, and even preferred, method of production. Moderator Bill Kartalopoulos will discuss the unique qualities of hand-produced formats with Dina Kelbermann, Jason Miles, John Porcellino and Dan Zettwoch.
Works that draw on external sources – whether historical, literary, or otherwise – present artists with the twin burdens of faithfulness and creativity. Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant), Paul Karasik (City of Glass), Ed Piskor (Wizzywig), and R. Sikoryak (Masterpiece Comics) will discuss what it means to make creative works of adaptation, parody, and historical fiction in this wide-ranging panel discussion with moderator Bill Kartalopoulos.