200612081157We can’t resist linking to this nice article from the Harvard Crimson on Cliff Chiang, a wonderful artist and pal. It tells of his fateful journey from promising Harvard scholar to comic book artist, with stops for Disney Adventures and Vertigo along the way. We remember interviewing Cliff for a part time, freelance job and asking him “Are you sure you want to ruin your life?” But he seems to have ruined it very well.

One in particular, taught by visiting lecturer Douglas Blau, ended up providing a foundation for what would become his career in the comic book world.

“It opened my eyes to ways of making pictures read in a certain way that you could take an image and parse it out into a sentence, and how it functions and how the reader takes it in,â€? Chiang says.

Three years of studio classes didn’t appeal to Chiang either, so he decided to take the bits he liked from both VES and English and strike out on his own.

The result, under the guidance of Bernbaum Professor of Literature Leo Damrosch, was a creative thesis titled “’If Answerable Style I Can Obtain…’: An Analysis and Account of Illustrating Paradise Lostâ€? — a film noir-style graphic rethinking of John Milton’s classic poem, which won Chiang a summa cum laude reading and a Hoopes Prize.

Damrosch remembers Chiang as one of his all-time favorite students because of his “no bullshitâ€? attitude and self-confidence, he says.