2021 MSU Comics Forum Moves Online

In light of the global pandemic and resulting health and financial strain on many of our scholars, artists, and attendees, the 2021 MSU Comics Forum will be conducted online.  We are still accepting submissions from artists and scholars for our 2021 online event.  Scholarly panel discussions will be held via invited Zoom rooms, Artist Alley will take place in a virtual setting on our website, and our special guests will deliver their keynote addresses at their regularly scheduled times.  More information forthcoming as the event draws closer.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our staff via the contact page.

Stay safe,
Ryan Claytor
MSU Comics Forum – Director

2021 Event Announcements

We’re proud to announce our 2021 MSU Comics Forum event dates, location, keynote speakers, availability of our artist and scholar submission forms, and our event artwork:

Kevin Huizenga’s graphic novels include CursesThe Wild Kingdom, Gloriana, and the recently released The River at Night.  His work has been translated into six languages, garnered five Ignatz awards, as well as nominations for Harvey and Eisner awards.  In 2020, The Guardian named The River at Night one of the best comics of the past decade.  Huizenga lives in Minneapolis where he taught in the Comic Art program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design from 2015-2019.

Deborah Elizabeth Whaley is an artist, curator, writer, Senior Scholar for Digital Arts and Humanities for DSPS, director of the Digital Humanities graduate certificate, and Professor of American Studies and African American Studies at the University of Iowa. In her recent book, Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime, Whaley explores graphic novel production and comic book fandom, looking in particular at African, African American, and multiethnic women as deployed in television, film, animation, gaming, and print representations of comic book and graphic novel characters. Whaley was a Resident Visiting Scholar at the Center for Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and was a recipient of a grant from the Monroe Trotter Institute for Black Culture for her research on responses to 9/11 in Black expressive art and in the public sphere.

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We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Sincerely,
The MSU Comics Forum Committee

2020 MSU Comics Forum Keynote Address LiveStreams Archived

The 2020 MSU Comics Forum Keynote Addresses with Emil Ferris and Nick Sousanis are now available on our YouTube channel:

Emil Ferris – 2020 MSU Comics Forum Creator Keynote Speaker:

YouTube Direct Link: https://youtu.be/r4dgEsNy0WE

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Nick Sousanis – 2020 MSU Comics Forum Scholar Keynote Speaker:

YouTube Direct Link: https://youtu.be/asVT6Qd4UI4

2020 MSU Comics Forum Wrap-Up

The events of the 2020 MSU Comics Forum started with an exhibition of comics from our Michigan State University Special Collections Library called “Comics and the City” which began in January 2020 and ran through the ending days of the Forum. The exhibiton was currated by Co-Panel Coordinators, Zack Kruse and Julian Chambliss.

On Tuesday, Feb 18th of the 2020 MSU Comics Forum, MSU Muslim Studies co-sponsored a lecture and comic book discussion on the comic, Yes, I’m Hot in This: The Hilarious Truth about Life in a Hijab, by Huda Fahmy.

On Friday, Feb 21, the academic panel discussions began to spill over into a second day this year (traditionally only held on Saturday of the event). The round table discussions started just after lunch and covered a number of topics such as, Comics in Translation, Comics and the Digital Humanities, and Comics and the Archive.

Later that evening, our 2020 MSU Comics Forum Creator Keynote Speaker, Emil Ferris, took the stage to deliver her lecture to a packed house.

The keynote address concluded with a question and answer period, but not before a standing ovation from the audience:

The following morning, Saturday, Feb. 22, the event began with two limited engagement tours of the Special Collections Library, home of the largest public collection of comic books in the world, led by Randy Scott, the MSU Special Collections Comic Bibliographer who built the collection.

Throughout the day on Saturday, there was a whirlwind of activity in Artist Alley:

Concurrent to the Artist Alley, several sessions of academic panel discussions were taking place throughout the day.

At 1pm, all academic panel discussions stopped, save for the 2020 MSU Comics Forum Scholar Keynote Address from Nick Sousanis.

Nick spoke about his work in comics, using drawing as a mode of thinking, showed his process for creating innovative page layouts, as well as his pedagogical approach when teaching his comics courses at San Francisco State University.

After Nick Sousanis spoke to a packed room, the panel discussions and artist alley continued until the close of the day at 5:30pm.

Keynote speakers, Emil Ferris and Nick Sousanis, also signed their work in Artist Alley between various engagements.

The final day of the 2020 MSU Comics Forum concluded with an announcement of the 2021 MSU Comics Forum dates, keynote speakers, venue, event artwork, and availability of the 2021 artist alley and academic panel discussion submission forms.

In closing, the MSU Comics Forum Committee and I would like to thank the 2020 MSU Comics Forum sponsors for allowing all the events associated with the MSU Comics Forum to remain free and open to the public, the many comics artists and scholars who have helped create our most ambitious programming roster to date, the attendees who continue to tell their friends about the event and arrive open-minded and ready to experience new ideas, and our 2020 keynote speakers, Emil Ferris and Nick Sousanis, for being such thoughtful, intelligent, and gracious guests.

Finally, I would personally like to thank my dream team of committee members who not only help to make this show possible, but also help make it better every year; Zack Kruse, Julian Chamblis, James Curtis, Anthony Robinson, Jonah Magar, and Sherief AbouElSeoud, I couldn’t do this without you.

Sincerely,
Ryan Claytor
MSU Comics Forum – Director

2020 MSU Comics Forum Keynote Addresses to be LiveStreamed

For those unable to attend the 2020 MSU Comics Forum this weekend, both keynote addresses will be liveStreamed. Here’s where you can tune in:

Emil Ferris – Creator Keynote Address
Friday, Feb 21st, 2020 at 7pm EST
LiveStream URL: https://youtu.be/r4dgEsNy0WE 

Nick Sousanis – Scholar Keynote Address
Saturday, Feb 22nd, 2020 at 1pm EST
LiveStream URL: https://youtu.be/asVT6Qd4UI4

2020 Comics Forum Poster and Events Update

The 2020 Comics Forum poster is now available in both digital (click above image for full size) and 18″x24″ printed versions.  Our Creator Keynote Speaker, Emil Ferris, illustrated the image you see above.  If you are a business or academic institution who is interested in helping us promote the MSU Comics Forum by hanging these in a public location, please contact MSU Comics Forum Director, Ryan Claytor, via the CONTACT page of this website and we will send several free of charge.

The Artist Alley and Panel Discussions pages have also been updated for our 2020 event.

2020 Event Announcements

We’re proud to announce our 2020 MSU Comics Forum event dates, location, keynote speakers, availability of our artist and scholar submission forms, and our event artwork:

Emil Ferris is an American writer, cartoonist, and designer. Ferris debuted in publishing with her 2017 graphic novel My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, a coming-of-age story of Karen Reyes, a girl growing up in 1960s Chicago.  The book is written and drawn in the form of the character’s notebook. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters was heralded as a “masterpiece” by Forbes and The AV Club, among others and has garnered numerous awards, including:

  • 2017 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel for My Favorite Thing Is Monsters
  • 2017 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Artist
  • 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Graphic Novel for My Favorite Thing Is Monsters
  • 2018 Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist
  • 2018 Gran Guinigi Award for Best Graphic Novel
  • 2019 Grand prix de la critique ACBD
  • 2019 Fauve d’or at Angoulême International Comics Festival

 

Nick Sousanis is an Eisner-winning comics author and an assistant professor of Humanities & Liberal Studies at San Francisco State University, where he is starting a Comics Studies program. He received his doctorate in education at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Titled Unflattening, it argues for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning, and was published by Harvard University Press in 2015. Unflattening received the 2016 American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in Humanities, the Lynd Ward Prize for best Graphic Novel of 2015, and was nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Scholarly/Academic work. To date, Unflattening has been translated into FrenchKoreanPortugueseSerbianPolishItalian, and Chinese.

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We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Sincerely,
The MSU Comics Forum Committee

Saturday of the 2019 MSU Comics Forum

Saturday of the Comics Forum began with an limited engagement tour of the Michigan State University Special Collections Library, the largest public collection of comic books in the world.

Randy Scott showcased a Rodolphe Töpffer comic book published in the 1800’s.

At 10:30, the artist alley began…

…as did the academic panel discussions.

At noon our 2019 Scholar Keynote Speaker, Qiana Whitted, took the stage in front of a full room:

Standing room only.

2019 Creator Keynote Speaker, Seth, watches on.

After Qiana’s keynote address, both keynote speakers signed their books in Artist Alley.

Qiana debuted her new book, EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest, today.

The MSU Comics Forum wrapped at 5:35pm, at which point our 2020 event was announced, complete with dates, venue, keynote speakers, event artwork, and availability of artist and scholar submission forms.

On the following day (Sunday), each of our keynote speakers were interviewed in our recording studio.   The discussion will be aired on a future episode of the MSU Comic Art and Graphic Novel Podcast.  Pictured below from left to right are Zack Kruse (MSU Comics Forum Panel Coordinator), Qiana Whitted (2019 MSU Comics Forum Scholar Keynote Speaker), and Julian Chambliss (MSU Comics Forum Incoming Panel Coordinator).

Friday of the 2019 MSU Comics Forum

Friday evening of the 2019 MSU Comics Forum saw the headlining event of the weekend, a keynote address by Canadian Cartoonist, Seth.

MSU Comics Forum Director, Ryan Claytor, introduced Seth after thanking the 2019 MSU Comics Forum sponsors and introducing the audience to the Comics Forum committee.

Thanks to @ranti for the above image.

Seth took the stage for his keynote address.

A photo-op at the end of the evening.  From left to right, Ryan Claytor (MSU Comics Forum – Director), Qiana Whitted (2019 MSU Comics Forum – Scholar Keynote Speaker), Seth (2019 MSU Comics Forum – Creator Keynote Speaker), Julian Chambliss (MSU Comics Forum – Incoming Panel Coordinator).

Thanks to the attendees