Archive for ‘Academia’

Planting the Flag in Gainesville

Check out this fundraiser for The Sequential Artists Workshop; a great new school to be built in Gainesville, Florida, under the direction of Tom Hart. Definitely a worthy cause.

I wish I could have had Tom as a teacher when I was starting out. With your support, others will finally get the chance to be taught by Tom and other great teachers in the coming years.

Note: The campaign at Indiegogo is similar to Kickstarter, but with the important difference that all your contributions are tax-deductible.

Notes from Far Away Lands

Hats off to the tireless Jessica Abel who has a great report on last month’s teaching comics seminar in Helsinki. She’s much better than me at recording what’s going on around her and I’m grateful for the record.

Also online are some of the excellent Webstock talks from February’s trip to Wellington, New Zealand. As usual, I had to decline to have my talk filmed (see Monday’s comments), but there’s lots of other great stuff up.

Spring is always a busy time for travel. Check out some of my recently-posted upcoming engagements in the travel sidebar at right.

Hello, Helsinki!

I’m off to the Finnish Comics Society’s International Comics Seminar in Helsinki this week, flying bright and early on Tuesday, so I’ll be taking this week off from blogging (probably, unless something huge comes up).

Enjoy some Chopin and Liszt in the meantime.

See you again Monday, March 28th. Have a great week/weekend!

Friday Odds and Ends

Congratulations to Jim Woodring for actually building and using that big-ass pen I told you about a while back! Some pictures via Bart Beaty here and a video here (links via twelve zillion people, but I think I read about it on Comics Reporter and the Beat first).

Another notable new webcomic to check out: Doug Tennapel’s Ratfist (thanks to Corey Mcdaniel for the heads-up). Also realized that Kris Dresen’s She Said is gathering steam. Hop on board before its done.

And via Snail Mail, two books about comics:

The comics-format To Teach: The Journey in Comics by Bill Ayers (yes, that Bill Ayers apparently) and Ryan Alexander-Tanner, which looks intriguing, and The Rise of the American Comics Artist: Creators and Contexts, which I have an interview in, but looks plenty interesting anyway.

Finally, congratulations to Sarah Oleksyk on the publication of the collected Ivy. I’ve read them all, but I’m happy for the excuse to read them again.

Have a great weekend!

Wanna be a Guinea Pig?

Neil Cohn is looking for volunteers to, well… look at comics. You guys can do that, right?

He’s even offering a drawing for a prize, so go for it.

And while you’re at it, check out Neil’s other studies and essays at his Visual Linguist blog.

[link via Journalista]

Learning How to Learn

Yesterday’s trip to the post office box brought a welcome surprise: a great collection of paintings by Kathy Calderwood, one of my art teachers at Syracuse University thirty years ago.

Kathy was one of the cool teachers at S.U., who enjoyed cartoon iconography and didn’t discriminate against “low” arts like comics. Others included Larry Bakke who drew from nearly every discipline in his aethetics lectures, and Murray Tinkelman, who had a Krazy Kat original and was tennis partners with Will Eisner.

I was always grateful, in retrospect, that the faculty at Syracuse were as open to comics as they were. Positive attitudes about comics weren’t nearly as common then as they are now.

For all the encouragement I got for my comics, though, I always figured I was at Syracuse to learn everything else. There were things I learned during classes in poetry, music appreciation, theater, and animation that I still use today. Making comics requires so many skills and areas of knowledge, hardly anything I learned was ever really wasted.

In junior year something clicked. I started auditing classes and going to the library more and visiting local museums. I realized that no one was going to be grading me past the age of 22 and no one could ever be as invested in my progress as I was. I was learning how to learn.

Thanks to all my teachers from kindergarten onward, who helped me get to that point.

Research Request

Just got this request from a graduate student and figured I’d pass it along:

Dear Mr. McCloud:

My name is Megan Milliken and I am a University of Chicago graduate student conducting research on comic book readership. I’m interested in demographic trends of comic book readers as well as the medium’s effect on readers’ consumption of other cultural goods and participation in civic activities. I’m motivated to do this research first and foremost because I am an avid comic book fan who has derived a great deal of pleasure and inspiration from both the content itself and the community. I’m interested in how comic books have impacted readers and hope to see what it is about a comic book that keeps a reader coming back month after month. That said I have two surveys (the first is for under 18 respondents, and the other is for respondents that are 18 and over) that I have assembled. Would you be interested in posting these surveys to your blog and encouraging readers to participate? It is intended for comic book readers as well as non comic book readers as I would like to compare responses between these two groups. Please let me know if you could do this and if you have questions regarding the study.

Thank you and take care,

Megan Milliken

So feel free to click on the above links, if any of you would like to help Megan with her research.