I meant to get this post up many days ago but it’s been that kinda week. Last Friday I went to SVA’s comics/zine fest Fresh Meat where seniors—and some undergrads—learn how to sit behind a table and smile while selling their print comics. It’s valuable training for would be cartoonists, and a sharp preview of what’s to come. There are always a few stars to be found but as I’ve been going to the event nearly every year, it sure has changed.


This year’s event was packed when I got there but mostly with youngsters, fellows art students or comics lovers, I’m not sure. The trend has been more and more towards women over the years but this time it was probably 75/25 female to male. The most accomplished students were probably Molly Ostertag (above) and Hazel Newlevant. Newlevant has gotten lots of attention here and elsewhere and Ostertag’s Strong Female Protagonist (Written by Brennan Lee Mulligan) already has a following.

Once long ago, an SVA class was mostly guys who wanted to draw Spider-Man or Batman but there were no superhero artists among the ones I saw. Then manga style ruled the day but there was no overt manga that I spotted, although a lot of manga-infused work. The work was really all over the place—personal, unfiltered and, yes, fresh. It’s the “modern” style that mixes American, European and Japanese influences all over the place. Jillian Tamaki, who teaches at SVA has a little portfolio of seniors here and you can see what I’m talking about firsthand. (I share her enthusiasm for Aatmaja Pandya.) I’m not sure what kind of career anyone has in mind but the publishers I heard mentioned most were First Second and Vertigo.

Most cartooning students everywhere are now women, according to my informal inquiries. I’m not sure what this says about the future of the medium or the cartooning profession…I don’t think anyone does. Is it just a trendy “thing”?

A few more images.

It’s a little hard to see, but her jacket has a panel from Normal Rockwell’s “Gossips” — she made it from a curtain but apparently YOU CAN BUY THIS CLOTH ONLINE. Holy shit. Mind. Blown.

The guys who were there either weren’t very prepared, or had a whole concept down, like these fellows.

Just some of the diverse participants. he woman on the left had a little comic about female murderers — I think that would so well in the Snapped environment.
And more of the crowd.


  1. This seems to be following trends throughout higher education. I run a Master’s Program in photography, and for several years now we have seen a large increase in the number of female applicants and students. This has larger implications for the arts and for arts institutions across the spectrum.

  2. I’m an SVA student and almost all my classmates are women. It’s great! They’re all so passionate and talented and really make me approach my work differently. The women in the animation department are unbelievably talented!

  3. Molly Ostertag has also done two issue of “Tales of the Night Watchman” which are OUTSTANDING.

  4. Great article! Wish I would have seen this sooner! The second to last picture was our table :) ( I’m the bald school girl! ) can’t wait for this years FreshMeat it should be just as good!! ❤️

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