Van Jensen named first ever Comic Book Ambassador of the United States

Here is a thing Donald Trump could not stop: the US has an actual Comic Book Ambassador, and that person is writer Van Jensen, who writes of his duties:

A thing that is both unbelievable and true: I am the first-ever Comic Book Ambassador of the United States. I was asked by the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, to come over along with artist David Mack and spend time visiting some cultural institutions and work with a group of locals in the creation of a new comic book. I’ll also be attending the nation’s literary festival and spending some time with refugee children at a displaced persons camp. After I’m back, I’ll be launching a book donation drive to send comics to the refugees. Stay tuned for more information on that! 

While this may sound outlandish at first blush, comics are being increasingly used for educational purposes around the world, and as a popular medium make a great way to empower young creators and promote beneficial ideals. Van is a smart and principled guy, and along with David Mack, I’m sure they will represent US comic in fine fashion.

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Jensen is also the author of Cryptocracy, which comes out in June from Dark Horse, and  his new duties should certainly provide much more writing fodder for the series:

Hey there, friends! June sees the launch of Cryptocracy, a new ongoing comic book series I created with the super-talented artist Pete Woods. The book imagines a world in which a secret, shadowy, all-powerful organization does exist. But we see the story from their side—who they are, why they do the things they do. And, for the first time, someone is hunting them. It’s a big pastiche of conspiracies and science fiction, covering everything from Roswell to the Mothmen.

According to the State Dept.:

Renowned U.S. Comic Book Creators to Visit Georgia in May and June

In a new program launched by the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, renowned U.S. comic book creators will travel to Georgia to teach youth how to creatively share stories through the unique and engaging art form of comic books.

This summer, America’s first ever “comic book ambassadors” to Georgia – the illustrator David Mack (Daredevil, Alias, Kabuki) and the writer Van Jensen (The Flash, Green Lantern Corps, Cryptocracy) – will work with a talented team of Georgian college and high school students to create their own comic book.

Van Jensen will visit in May, holding workshops to teach the ins and outs of storytelling and scripting. He will also meet with Georgian publishers, talk to students at a Peace Corps summer camp, take part in Georgia’s International Literature Festival, and visit internally displaced persons at the Tserovani settlement camp.

David Mack will visit in June. In an effort to inspire new artists, he will hold an exhibit showcasing his unique style of visual storytelling. He will work with Georgian students to finalize their character designs, page layouts, pencils and inks for their comic book. He will also hold a master class with deaf and hearing-impaired students at a Tbilisi boarding school.

Empower Women, a student group at the Tbilisi campus of San Diego State University, will create the Georgian comic book. The students will ensure the comic book promotes teamwork, inclusion, gender equality, and non-violence. Empower Women has already selected student writers and illustrators to write and draw the book, and the U.S. Embassy will support the printing and distribution of its first issue, which will be given out free of charge to students in rural areas of Georgai. The project has already begun with a series of public workshops by the renowned Georgian writer Nikoloz Khomasuridze, creator of the first-ever Georgian comic book Amirani.

Georgia has a long, rich tradition of art, but comic books are relatively new to the country. With comic books fueling the boom in superhero films and TV programs, Georgian artists are eager to write their own stories but need technical skills to get started. During their visit to Georgia, America’s “comic book ambassadors” will share their extensive experience in the field. They will also highlight the importance of comic books as a form of expression, entertainment, and economic income, encouraging youth to view visual storytelling and comic books as an avenue to be heroic in their own, unique ways.

 

Comments

  1. Aaron Browne says

    Wow, how long until sequential about how to be involved in town hall meetings, city council meetings, meeting city counicl and congressmen, and meeting nonviolent paceful protestors, and jounalists, and business ‘leaders’ -and how to make sure every new generation graduating from high school can claim to be involved in these things???? Can it be done???

    This program sound GREAT, but we have people graduating from art institutes, and universities, and all they perpetuate is branding, and advertisments disguised as entertainment, and merchandising, and telling ourselves to Think Positive and Pray w/no real work towards cooperation, training/learning from others different, nothing to improve awareness on how to improve livability or enhance participation in governement and community… We just gotta walk along asphalt and traffic, and strip malls and parking losts, and sit in traffic, and get our jobs outsourced and make an effort to alienate and hate on anyone different. -THIS IS STILL A GREAT PROGRAM THAT HOPE WILL MAKE WAVES, but unless it truely is geared towards creating awareness on cooperation, and nonviolent protesting, and participation in government, then it is useless -what good is any of this while all we do is live as consumers that pretend to be ‘American’??? For all their hard work, regardless of salary, education, and experience the majority of our ‘adult’ ‘American’ ‘lives’ are traffic, asphalt, no long term savings, no job security, only branding, commercials, ads disguised as entertainment, bigotry, dept/fees/hidden fees, making efforts to alienate anyone that does not fit one’s comfort zone, flicking fingers at screens making an effort to act dry and mean just cuz we feel like being a ‘hater’, everything is made to break down and take money, more grueling traffic, and getting cancer, and our jobs oursourced -all invetitable, all enabled and perpetuated, and we got our cute ambassadore’s doing something that will end up bing ‘nothing’ -GOD I HOPE NOT, but how??? How can anyone make a difference while all we do is live as consumers that pretend the USA still exists?

  2. Zach says

    Jesus, Obama will do anything to embiggen the already bloated federal bureaucracy. EARTH TO OBAMA – REAL AMERICANS ARE TIRED OF PAYING FOR YOUR SOCIALSISM!!!!

  3. says

    This is awesome news, and they couldn’t have recruited two finer talents for a project like this.

    Though the phrase “first ever Comic Book Ambassador of the United States” isn’t wholly accurate. I’ve been working for the State Department as a Comic Ambassador since 2013 – visiting Chile, Germany, Belarus and Japan in the course of my duties. And I don’t believe I was the first, either. Here’s a link to my German visit from 2014: http://www.berlinglobal.org/index.php?us-embassy-presents-comics-ambassador-josh-elder

    Not trying to take the spotlight away from anyone, just wanted to correct a minor detail and to welcome Van and David to the club!

  4. Charlie Ryan says

    I swear, if Obama declared ‘National Ice Cream Day’ somebody would find a problem with it. You know, because sharing arts and literature and our best ideals with foreign countries is such a horrible, “socialist” thing.

    I’d like to see more programs like this. And I’m glad some of my tax dollars are being spent on it.

    Good luck and much success to Van Jensen and David Mack!

  5. Zach says

    Ambassadoring and diplomatics are best left to private industry…remember who fight all the wars…government

  6. Aaron Browne says

    Wouldnt it be awesome if we could only provide comments in the form of sequential??? I mean if we can all complain and rant about sequential, -then walk the walk… Hey Jensen, and Mack, can you guys have your students setup something like that, a sequential news site that can have actual ‘journalism’, and then comments can only be left via sequential, not just typing comments? ;-)

    LIke, you know, I could make a set of panels that shows an ‘American’ trying to masquerade as a ‘refugee’, since it is not possible to afford any real type of ‘training’ here in the USA, and no one is willing to train anyone that does not fit their comfort zone, so the ‘American’ masquerades as a ‘refugee’ to be part of your training program, but it is all totally obvious, as the ‘American’ only uses clothes from WallMart (they are all tacky, and do not fit right), and he has a huge gut (a sign of ‘manhood’ in hick bigot anti-culture), but the refugees are all weirded out, and they soon can tell he is not a refugee, since it is obvious he is an ‘Ameican’ as he has no clue how to share, and cooperate with anyone that does not now how to have a conversation about things like guns, trucks, sports, the military, and bible thumping, and he is al praising how grateful he will be to ‘live as an Ameican’, and be surrounded by asphalt, and traffic -how is that not ‘American’, now??? So, what do you all think -sequential only comments from now on, right!???! PLEASE :-D

  7. DJM says

    The death of supporting and promoting all the positive and varied aspects of American culture here and abroad is a leading cause of our own demise. So what do you want Obama to do? Fund infrastructure repairs? More teachers at schools? Pay cops to enforce anti-gay laws? Nah, that’s SOCIALSISM.

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