One of the highlights of my graduate school experience during my time at Columbia University was taking one of the first college courses seriously dedicated to exploring the literary value of comics. It was a great class, taught by two wonderful professors: Jeremy Dauber and Paul Levitz. In a way, the class was an experiment, but it ended up being a successful one. Certainly, parts of my professional life were altered in ways I could never have experienced had I not taken “AMST 3630 – The American Graphic Novel.”*

Even more so, one of the memories I look back on during that time were my interactions with Karen Green, Columbia’s Curator for Comics and Cartoons as well as their Librarian for Ancient & Medieval History. I used to sit a row behind Karen and we’d have nice little chats. A lot of those memories came back as I read Nick Sousanis’ wonderful “A Life in Comics: How a Butler Librarian Became Columbia’s First Curator for Comics and Cartoons” which is included in the Summer 2017 Columbia alumni magazine (I’m finally glad I subscribe!). Besides being a thoroughly entertaining comic about Karen’s life and journey, the artwork by Sousanis is phenomenal. It brought me back to my days in the class, where Professor Dauber or Paul would talk about the influences of Winsor McCay one week, or Art Spiegelman the next, followed by reading Black Hole by Charles Burns. Nick incorporates all these styles into this nifty six-page mini-epic.

Luckily, you don’t have to subscribe to the alumni mag to read it. The whole thing can be read HERE.


I got an “A” too, by the way!


  1. Thanks for the pointer to to comic. I have Sousanis’s Harvard UP book on my coffee table to read next.

    Sometimes my interlibrary loans of comics/graphic novels come from Columbia’s Butler Library, and they’re often labeled as “Gift of Paul Levitz.” Interesting to see this other connection to Columbia.

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