Held every year on the beautiful campus of Michigan State University, home of the largest public collection of comic books, The Michigan State University Comics Forum is a 2 day event that brings together scholars, creators, and fans in order to explore celebrate the medium of comics, graphic storytelling, and sequential art.
The Michigan State University Comics Forum is genereously supported by Department of Art, Art History and Design, The Department of English, The Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, The College of Arts & Letters, 21st Century Comics & Games, and MATRIX: The Center for the Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online.
Ryan Claytor, Director
Ryan Claytor is a comics artist and professor living in Lansing, Michigan. In 2007, he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from San Diego State University with an emphasis in multimedia, researching autobiography in comics. Claytor’s achievements have included a Cartoonist in Residence position at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, California, visiting lecturerships at the Dallas Museum of Art and Michigan State University, an internship with Marvel Comics in New York City, and judging the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing Award in 2007. In early 2009 the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco featured an exhibition of his work and Claytor began teaching the first “Comics and Visual Narrative” class in Michigan State University’s history. As a creator, Claytor is most widely known for his self-published, autobiographical, comic book series And Then One Day. Although the series has undergone several format changes and incarnations since its inception in 2004, And Then One Day readers are consistently treated with Claytor’s thoughtful and entertaining personal anecdotes immaculately packaged with a designer’s eye for production detail. Most recently, in the summer of 2008, he released a republication of his Master’s Thesis on autobiography in comics entitled Concatenations. For more information about Ryan Claytor or any of his work, visit his website www.ElephantEater.com
After graduating from Michigan State University Ben left to pursue a career in comics, interning at Marvel Entertainment in the Digital Editorial department. After, he was hired by Marvel as a freelance writer and now regularly writes Marvel.com’s Unlimited Highlights and anything else the team throws his way. While living in the Big Apple he met author Kelly Roman and started work editing Roman’s debut graphic novel, The Art of War. Now that the book’s finished he is currently The Art of War’s PR manager putting out the good word on this amazing book, which is slated to hit store shelves in May 2012 from HarperCollins. Now situated back in the Mitten as a Masters student the DRPW program Ben juggles professional comics work with academic, attempting to fine tune his skill set and make it as an editor in the comics industry.
Jay Jacot, Artist Alley Coordinator
James “Jay” Jaycot is an amalgamation of Graphic Designer, all around Artist, and Entrepreneur working to create and provide a good story thrugh sequential art and visual imagery. Long hours and late nights have been his copilots on this journey. He looks forward to many more creations & endeavors in the future including a continued run of COMICS OBSCURA (http://www.comicsobscura.com/) & many more projects to come.
Ethan Watrall, Web Coordinator
Ethan is currently Assistant Professor at MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online; an Assistant Professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media; and a Principal Investigator in the Games for Entertainment & Learning (GEL) Lab at Michigan State University. Watrall is a co-founder of the undergraduate Game Design and Development Specialization and co-founder of the Serious Games MA program in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media at MSU. Watrall is currently co-chair of the Meaningful Play Conference (http://meaningfulplay.msu.edu). In addition, Watrall is a member of the National Academies Committee on Modeling, Simulation, and Game. Watrall specializes in cultural heritage informatics, with a particular focus on serious games for cultural heritage learning, outreach, and engagement. Among his many and (varried) classes, Ethan teaches HST110h – Panels & Pages: The History of the Modern Comic Book. Ethan’s website is located at www.captainpirmate.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/captain_primate