Schedule of events

Friday, Feb 24, 2017:
Keynote Address with James Sturm – 7:00-8:30pm

Location: Residential College in the Arts & Humanities Theatre, Snyder/Phillips Hall Basement, Michigan State University

James Sturm will be our Guest of Honor and Creator Keynote Speaker. Sturm, has garnered many awards for his work including a Xeric grant, an Eisner Award, and Time Magazine’s Graphic Novel of the year. He’s also a founder and teacher at the Center for Cartoon Studies and has worked for a number of comics publishers including Marvel Comics, Fantagraphics, First Second Books, and Drawn and Quarterly to name but a few.

Saturday, Feb 25, 2017:
Private Tour of the MSU Special Collections Library – 10:00am.

Home of the world’s largest public comic book collection. Reservation required, walk-ups not admitted.  Email with subject heading: MSU COMICS COLLECTIONS TOUR

Saturday, Feb 25, 2017:
Artist Alley and Panel Discussions – 11:00am-5:00pm

Location: Residential College in the Arts & Humanities LookOut! Gallery and Classrooms, Snyder/Phillips Hall 2nd floor, Michigan State University

The Forum will feature an Artists Alley with over three dozen creators exhibiting their work in comics. For more information on individual artists featured, please reference our Artist Alley page

Throughout the day there will also be several panel discussions with academics studying comic books and professionals working in the comic book industry.  Please see descriptions below.

Feb 20 –Mar 3, 2017:
Gallery Exhibition – Underground Comix

Location: Residential College in the Arts & Humanities LookOut! Gallery, Snyder/Phillips Hall 2nd floor, Michigan State University

The exhibit is curated by graduate students from MSU Museum Studies and will feature underground comix from The Comic Art Collection housed in Michigan State University’s Special Collections. The Comic Art Collection holds over 250,000 items and is the primary library resource for the study of U.S. comic book publications.

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2017:
Ms. Marvel Public Lecture and Book Discussion with Morgan Shipley – 7:00 pm

Location: Main Library, Michigan State University

Session will begin with a short lecture from Morgan Shipley, followed by smaller group book discussions, and ending with questions and answers. The smaller group discussions will be facilitated by MSU graduate students.  Participants are encouraged to read the book ahead of time.  Light refreshments will be served.

Co-sponsored by MSU Muslim Studies Program


Panel presentations and discussions

Saturday, Feb 25, 2017: – 11:00am-4:00pm

Roundtable: Don’t Lecture—Show Me a Story! The Power of Graphic Novels in Teaching Other Cultures
Time: February 25th, 11:00am – Noon
Snyder/Phillips 2nd Floor classrooms

Description: This roundtable will introduce audience members to the rich and growing field of German comics and graphic narratives through the lens of intercultural storytelling, with a particular eye toward classroom potentials. A striking number of recent German graphic novels thematize life stories bridging cultural gaps between German and other cultural contexts. Some of these do so via the genre of biography, some present generational family narratives of immigration and exile; yet others problematize the division and unification of East and West Germany as a culturally complex phenomenon. For teachers at all levels, these stories present an innovative conduit for appreciation of cultural differences.

Katie McEwen, Michigan State University
Christian Klein, Bergische-Universität Wuppertal, Germany
Elizabeth Mittman, Michigan State University
Elizabeth Nijdam, University of Michigan


Panel: Keynote Speaker: Charles Hatfield
Time: February 25th, 12:15pm – 1:15pm
Location: Snyder/Phillips 2nd Floor classrooms

Description: A longtime contributor to The Comics Journal and The Jack Kirby Collector, Charles Hatfield, is the author of Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature (2005) and the Eisner Award-winning Hand of Fire: The Comic Art of Jack Kirby (2011). He is co-editor of The Superhero Reader (2013) and Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby (2015), and curated the US’s largest-ever Kirby exhibition at CSU Northridge in 2015. Hatfield has served on the boards of the International Comic Arts Forum, the MLA Forum on Comics and Graphic Narratives, and is the founding President of the Comics Studies Society.


Panel: Transformative Narratives in Comics and Comics Adaptation
Time: February 25th, 1:30pm – 2:30pm
Location: Snyder/Phillips 2nd Floor classrooms

Description: As a narrative medium, comics frequently experiment with new narrative tactics as a means of both engaging the reader and challenging existing artistic norms. In both the comics underground and its mainstream, such challenges are frequent. The most successful of these challenges reshape the comics are produced as well as the impact they have on their readers and the culture at-large. Finally, this panel will consider how historically impactful comics and their visual innovations serve as the visual matrix for adaptations of comics narratives.

Haniyeh Barahouie: “The Theatrical Adventures of Tintin”
Wade Simpson: “Reporting for Duty: Character Diversity in Marvel’s G.I. Joe Comics”


Panel: Comic Book Cosmpolitics
Time: February 25th, 2:45pm – 3:45pm
Location: Snyder/Phillips 2nd Floor classrooms

Description: From the inception of the medium, comic books have been at the front lines of numerous political battlegrounds, and in the era following World War II, the medium increasingly took on issues that contemporary scholars would refer to as cosmopolitanism. Exploring issues of race, gender, as well as fluid, non-binary existences, this panel considers comics as a means of offering readers a democratic political message that allowed readers insight into contemporary sociopolitical issues.

Blake Scott Ball: “Every Girl Her Own Wonder Woman: The Struggle to Reach and Empower Girls through Comics in the 1980s”

Ellen Moll: “Drawing Boundaries: Refugees, Embodiment, and Media”
Sean Guynes: “‘Am I Doing the Right Thing?’: Milestone Comics, Black Nationalism, and the Cosmopolitics of Static”


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The Michigan State University Comics Forum is sponsored by The MSU Department of Art, Art History and Design, The Journal of Popular Culture, Clem's Comics and Games, The MSU Department of English, The MSU Special Collections Library, Hollow Mountain Comics, Games & Collectibles, the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, MATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, MSU Muslim Studies Program, and BRD Printing.

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