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 largest public collection of comic books in the world which is housed in our Special Collections Library.
The 2018 MSU Comics Forum is generously sponsored by: 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 a comics artist and professor living in Holt, 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 (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 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 studio course in Michigan State University’s history, and subsequently spearheaded the Comic Art and Graphic Novel Minor. 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. For more information about Ryan Claytor and his work, visit his website www.ElephantEater.com
Zack Kruse, Panel Coordinator
Zack Kruse is a father of three, a husband of one, and currently a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University where he studies comic books and contemporary American literature. As an academic, he has publications on the work of Steve Ditko and has 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.
Jay Jacot, Artist Alley Coordinator
Jay, being an amalgamation of graphic designer, all around artist, and storyteller took up “comics” as a second language where long hours and late nights have been his copilots on his journey. He started out his comic career self-publishing the now defunct Comics Obscura anthology which showcased some incredible creators and taught him many important lessons along the way. Since then he’s been working on his own projects and helping others bring their comics projects to life. He lives in East Lansing, Michigan with his loving and supportive family. He can be found online at j2comics.blogspot.com or @jacotcomics on twitter, instagram, and facebook.
Jason Larsen, Promotions Coordinator
Jason’s love of comics began when he was 5 years old and in a hospital steam tent for pneumonia. He was given a comic book to occupy his time by one of his mother’s co-workers. Reading GI Joe #5 “Tanks for the Memories” until the cover fell off he became enamored with comics and that love is only grown over the years.
Graduating from MSU with a degree in marketing he was hoping to land a job in the comics industry. Instead he found his home in the Greater Lansing region where he works as a project manager. While never losing his passion for comics it wasn’t until he met Ryan Claytor that he was able to channel his passion into action by working with the MSU Comics Forum. He actively continues his comics journey and looks forward to all the different places that it will take him.
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.