The Michigan State University Comics Forum is a multi-day, annual event for scholars, creators and fans of the comics medium. Events include keynote addresses from an award-winning creator and scholar in the field, an artist alley, academic panel discussions, exhibition of comic art, comic book discussion groups and more. MSU is also home of the Comic Art and Graphic Novel Minor, the MSU Comic Art and Graphic Novel Podcast, and the largest public collection of comic books in the world which is housed in our Special Collections Library.
Mission Statement: A staunchly comics-focused, international event where current, high-caliber work from noted practitioners and underrepresented groups is highlighted in an inclusive space where scholars, creators, and readers connect.
Sponsors: The MSU College of Arts and Letters, The Department of English, The Journal of Popular Culture, The Department of Art, Art History and Design, Gary Hoppenstand, MSU Muslim Studies, Capital Area District Libraries, The Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, The MSU Libraries Special Collections, The MSU Main Library, MATRIX: The Center for the Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online, and BRD Printing.
MSU Comics Forum – Core Committee
Ryan Claytor, Director
Ryan Claytor is the Coordinator of the Michigan State University Comics Art and Graphic Novel Minor, Assistant Professor in the Department of Art, Art History and Design, and an award-winning Comics Artist with his work earning multiple Small Press and Alternative Comic Expo awards, including their top pirze, Best Graphic Novel, for his work on Coin-Op Carnival. Claytor’s achievements have included a Cartoonist in Residence position at the Cartoon Art Museum (San Francisco, CA), visiting lecturerships at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, TX), Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA), Center for Cartoon Studies (White River Junction, VT), Portland Public Library (Portland, ME), an internship with Marvel Comics in New York City, and judging the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing Award. For more information about Ryan Claytor and his work, visit his website www.ElephantEater.com .
Julian C. Chambliss, Panel Coordinator
Julian C. Chambliss is Professor of English with a Joint Appointment in History at Michigan State University. In addition, he is a core participant in the MSU College of Arts & Letters’ Consortium for Critical Diversity in a Digital Age Research (CEDAR). His research interests focus on the race, identity, and power in real and imagined urban spaces. His recent academic writing has appeared in Frieze, Rhetoric Review, Boston Review, Florida Historical Quarterly, Journal of Urban History and Studies in American. An interdisciplinary scholar he has designed museum exhibitions, curated art shows, and created public digital history projects that trace community, identity, and power in the American South. In addition, he has published opinion and commentary in popular forums such as the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio (NPR), and Orlando Sentinel. He is a co-recipient of an Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) Mellon Foundation Faculty Renewal Grant for Project Mosaic: Zora Neale Hurston: A Multidisciplinary Exploration of African-American Culture, a project exploring African-American experience through the work and life of Zora Neale Hurston, ACS Faculty Advancement Grant for Urban Dreams and Urban Disruptions: Transforming Travel Study and Undergraduate Archival Research with Collaborative Interdisciplinary Digital Tools and ACS/R1 Grant for designing a Digital Literacy and Collaborative Learning workshop. He is co-editor and contributor for Ages of Heroes, Eras of Men: Superheroes and the American Experience, a book examining the relationship between superheroes and the American Experience (2013). His newest books, Assembling the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Essays on the Social, Cultural and Geopolitical Domain (2018) explore questions of culture, identity, and politics in the MCU and Cities Imagined: The African Diaspora in Media and History (2018) is a thematically and chronologically organized reader that documents the African-American imaginary through primary and secondary sources focus on media and culture.
Zack Kruse, Academic Advisory Board President
Zack Kruse is a father of three, a husband of one, and recently completed his Ph.D. studies at Michigan State University where he studied comic books and contemporary American literature. As an academic, he has publications on the work of Steve Ditko and recently served as the Managing Editor for The Journal of Popular Culture. In addition to his academic pursuits, he is a comic book convention organizer and an occasional comics writer—his comic strip, Mystery Solved!, appeared in Skeptical Inquirer Magazine. He can be found at zackkruse.com and on Twitter at @zackkruse.
Daniel J. Hogan, Artist Alley Coordinator
Daniel J. Hogan is a Lansing cartoonist who works with inks and watercolors, as well as making digital art. His focus is creating humorous illustrations that get a smile or a chuckle out of the viewer.
Daniel studied film and animation at Grand Valley State University, where one of his animated shorts, “Lunch Date,” won an award and was featured in several festivals. Daniel started making comics in 2012, and in 2015 won a First Place S.P.A.C.E. Prize in the Webcomic Category. In 2018, Daniel appeared at the East Lansing Art Festival as an Emerging Artist.
Daniel writes and draws the all-ages fantasy comic, Foxes & Boxes, found at clattertron.com. He self-published the first Foxes & Boxes collection, Volume One: No Refunds! in April of 2019, and is currently working on Volume Two.
Learn more about Daniel, read his blog, and visit his shop at danieljhogan.com. Make sure to follow Daniel on Instagram, where he posts drawings and more as @clattertron.
James Curtis, Promotions Coordinator
By day, James is a marketing, communications, and public relations professional based in Cadillac, Michigan. By night, James is passionate about creating, performing, and advocating for the arts—ranging from music, theatre, prose, comics, and more. Prior to relocating to Northern Michigan from Lansing with his wife and daughter, James was co-founder and chair of Capital City Comic Con. James earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from Michigan State University, and Master of Business Administration from Northwood University.
M. Sherief AbouElSeoud, Web Coordinator
Sherief is a Lansing based artist, writer, and co-founder of the Two for One Comics community. IT Professional by day, he spends his evenings toiling over bristol board with ink stained hands to make comics. He’s published a short story, drawn the comic series The Bait, and is currently writing and drawing an all-ages comic to be released soon.
Jonah Magar, Venue Liaison
Jonah Magar strives to be a connector in every possible way. He matches people with resources and each other, but also searches for connection through music, graphics, and service design. When he isn’t sorting details for events like the Comics Forum, he’ll often be found among MSU Libraries’ 18,000 video games, or in the Digital Scholarship Lab’s 360° or virtual reality spaces. At home in Lansing, he’ll occasionally stop playing Overwatch with his wife to bike or kayak to a local brewery or tabletop RPG session. He runs http://Twitch.tv/gsgmsu and the Game Studies Guild, and goes by OctopusJones wherever his real name won’t suffice.