The NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will resume on Sept. 1st, 2020.

1550 haggada illustration Ruffinelli


The 277th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  May 5, 2020 at 7pm. ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email to register for this event. Free and open to the public.

A recording of this event can be seen online here:

Writer and comics historian Paul C. Tumey on his new book, Screwball! The Cartoonists Who Made the Funnies Funny (October 2019, IDW The Library of American Comics). 

Tumey’s book explores the lives and careers of America’s zaniest humor cartoonists from 1880-1950, including Frederick Opper (Happy Hooligan), Eugene “Zim” ZImmerman (Lena Undt Loui), Clare Victor ‘Dwig” Dwiggins (Home Wanted By a Baby), Walter R. Bradford (Jingling Johnson), Gus Mager (Sherlocko the Monk), George Herriman (Stumble Inn), Ruben Goldberg (Boob McNutt), Walter Hoban (Jerry on the Job), E. C. Segar (Thimble Theatre), Milt Gross (Count Screwloose of Tooloose), Gene Ahern (The Squirrel Cage), George “Swan” Swanson ($alesman $am), Bill Holman (Smokey Stover), Ving Fuller (Doc Syke), and Gordon “Boody” Rogers (Sparky Watts)

Before “screwball” became a movie genre, it was a staple throughout American culture. Screwball newspaper comics offered readers healthy doses of laughter and perspective amidst a rapidly-changing society. These “funnies” — filled with disruptive, manic, and surreal comedy — kept a nation in stitches, creating humor that transcends generations and still amuses today.

Tumey will discuss his new findings regarding these famous and forgotten cartoonists and strips uncovered by years of research and present rare examples of Screwballism found in the early newspaper comics pages.

Paul C. Tumey is an Eisner-nominated comic scholar, writer, and designer. He co-edited and wrote for The Art of Rube Goldberg A) Inventive B) Cartoon C) Genius (Abrams, 2014). He was a contributing editor and essayist for the Library of American Comics’ King of the Comics: 100 Years of King Features, and wrote the introduction to LOAC’s The Bungle Family 1930. He co-edited and introduced Foolish Questions and Other Odd Observations by Rube Goldberg (Sunday Press, 2017) for which he was nominated for an Eisner Award. Most recently, Tumey wrote the intoductory biographical essay for Thimble Theatre: The Pre-Popeye Comics of E.C, Segar (Sunday Press, 2018). He writes a column for The Comics Journal and lives in Seattle, Washington.

Screwball cover art-1

The 275th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  April 21, 2020 at 7pm ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email to register for this event. Free and open to the public.

E.A. Bethea : A Little Ramble with E.A. Bethea

Through the jumping off point of a short piece by Swiss writer Robert Walser titled “A Little Ramble” (1914),  this presentation will explore the comics of E. A. Bethea via her various inspirations drawn from visual art, film, literature, place, and more. 

E. A. Bethea is a New Yorker originally from New Orleans. A creator of comic zines for a bunch of years her work has been published by Bomb, No Tokens, Diner Journal, Randy, and Smoke Signal, among others. Her comics have been translated into German for the Swiss magazine Strapazin.  Bethea’s comic “Bit Rot” was a selection in Best American Comics 2019. She is the author of Book of Daze (Domino Books, 2017), All Killer No Filler (self-published, 2018), and Forlorn Toreador (self-published 2019). Her work often focuses on the minute and obscure, meditating on impermanence and beauty in desolation, obscured histories, love and lust, memory, and the intersection of the deeply personal and universal.


The 273rd meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium has been rescheduled for  Thursday,  April 16, 2020 at 7pm (EDT) as an online event via Zoom. Please email symposium(at) with your name, email address and phone # to register for this event.  Free and open to the public.

Pre-Passover Special Event!


DANNY FINGEROTH, author of the definitive biography, A MARVELOUS LIFE: THE AMAZING STORY OF STAN LEE (2019 St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan), gives a slideshow-enhanced talk about Lee’s life, accomplishments, and the controversies surrounding him. Topics covered will include answers to these four questions:

  • Stan Lee created SPIDER-MAN, THE HULK, IRON MAN and THE AVENGERS, just like Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse, right?
  • Stan Lee was an overnight sensation whose career started when Marvel’s superheroes became breakout hits in the 1960s, right?
  • Stan Lee was all about his CAMEOS in Marvel movies and TV shows and was pretty much retired for several decades, right?
  • Everybody loved Stan Lee, right? I mean, how could you not?

Plus: See how Passover figured importantly into the lives and work of Lee and his main collaborator, JACK KIRBY!

Q & A with the author will follow the presentation.

DANNY FINGEROTH is an author whose latest book is A MARVELOUS LIFE: THE AMAZING STORY OF STAN LEE (St. Martin’s Press, 2019). Legendary cartoonist/screenwriter/author Jules Feiffer has said of the book:

“I couldn’t stop reading it. Danny Fingeroth gives us, page after page, rapid and cogent insights into the Marvel world, the comics universe, and Stan Lee as innovator, ring master, high-stakes gambler, con man, and an indefatigable charmer. And visionary, as well.” 

Fingeroth was the longtime editorial director of Marvel’s Spider-Man comics line and writer of comics featuring Spider-Man, Iron Man and other iconic characters. He’s also the author of books including “Superman on the Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us About Ourselves and Our Society” and “Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews Comics and the Creation of the Superhero.” Danny is a consultant to Will Eisner Studios and to the traveling “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes” exhibition that has set attendance records in Seattle and Philadelphia. He has spoken and taught on comics-related topics at Columbia University, the Smithsonian Institution, and many other venues. For more info:

A Marvelous Life cover v2 copy 2


The 272nd meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  March 31, 2020 as an online event via Zoom. Here’s the link to join the online event: Free and open to the public.

Ian Gordon on Rose O’Neill: Comic Strip Artist

In December 1909 the Ladies’ Home Journal published “The Kewpies Christmas Follies,” a full page illustrated verse for children by Rose O’Neill. The Kewpies, cherub like figures with a distinct tuff of hair, were an instant success and episodes followed in January and February 1910.  O’Neill then moved the feature to the competing Woman’s Home Companion after a dispute with the Journal­­­­ editor Edward Bok. Eleven months before the Kewpies appeared in their pages the Journal editorialized against the “comic” supplement in Sunday newspapers labelling them “a crime against American children.” Comics in the Journal’s view were an “extraordinary stupidity, and an influence for repulsive and often depraving vulgarity.” Parents needed to give their children the work of “competent illustrators” who demonstrated refined rather than vulgar humor.[1] O’Neill’s Kewpies then originated in a search for an antidote to the offending comic strips. While the Journal wished to suggest that O’Neill and its other illustrators created something more refined than the crudities of comic strips it is hard to see these early Kewpies episodes as anything else but comic strips.  In this talk I will show how O’Neill’s background as a staff cartoonist for Puck gave her a full command of the visual humor tropes of the day and that her Kewpies, although presented in verse, were in keeping with the formal properties of comic strips. Moreover, Bok deployed the Kewpies in just the same way as Hearst deployed the Katzenjammer Kids: they were features designed to boost circulation and attract advertising dollars for their respective publishers. O’Neill had no compunctions about the commercial nature of her work and lent her characters to advertising for various products including Jell-O.

 [1] “A Crime Against American Children,” Ladies Home Journal, 26 (January 1909), p. 5.

 Ian Gordon teaches American Studies and History at the National University of Singapore. His publications include: “Bildungsromane and Graphic Narratives,” in A History of the Bildungsroman, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), Superman: The Persistence of an American Icon (Rutgers University Press, 2017), Kid Comic Strips (Palgrave, 2016) and the edited volumes The Superhero Symbol: Identity, Culture, and Politics. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2019 in press), Ben Katchor: Conversations (University Press of Mississippi, 2018), and The Comics of Charles Schulz: The Good Grief of Modern Life (University Press of Mississippi, 2017).

The Ladies' home journal.

The 271st meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 7pm as an online event via Zoom. Here’s the link to join the online event:

Amy Lockhart on her work.

Amy Lockhart will speak about her art practice which involves animation, comics, and more, including her recently published graphic novel Ditch Life, published by Fantagraphics Underground Press.

Amy Lockhart is a filmmaker, animator and artist. Her animations have screened internationally, including the Whitney, NY, British Film Institute, N.Y. Anthology Film Archives, GLAS Animation Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, The Ottawa International Animation Festival, Carnegie Mellon, and Hiroshima International Animation Festival. Lockhart has received fellowship at the National Film Board of Canada and support from the Canada Council for the Arts. She has completed residencies at Calgary’s Quickdraw Animation Society, Struts Gallery, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her drawings, comics and paintings have been published by Fantagraphics (Ditch Life, 2019), Drawn & Quarterly (Dirty Dishes, 2009), and by Colour Code (Looking Inward, 2016).

lockhart cover

The 270th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  March 10, 2020 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, room UL 105 (lower level). Free and open to the public.

Brian Rea: Learning to draw, learning to see, learning to choose.

A career (and a life) through illustration, art direction and the authorship of ideas.

A discussion on what we draw and what we draw inspiration from, what we see and the process of transferring that into our work and what we choose to draw more of in our life and in our life’s work as an artist. 

Los Angeles based artist Brian Rea is the former art director of the Op-Ed page of the New York Times and his award winning emotionally charged drawings can be seen each week alongside the paper’s column “Modern Love.” He has produced books, posters, murals, film and fashion projects for clients around the world. Some of these collaborations include Apple, Marni, Google, The New Yorker, Airbnb, Penguin Books, Herman Miller, Malcolm Gladwell and Vanity Fair. Rea’s intricate drawings and list-based paintings have been exhibited in Paris, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Mexico City, São Paulo, Seoul, New York and Barcelona at the Joan Miró Foundation as part of the group show Murals.

Rea is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Art Center College of Design and a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale.

Rea’s first book, Death Wins a Goldfish, (Chronicle Books) was published in 2019.

He lives in California with his wife, his son and his plants.


IG: freebrianrea