The 264th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  January 28, 2020 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, room UL 105 (lower level). Free and open to the public.

Jenny Romaine on Ornamentation Is Resistance: Spectacular Strategies for Resistance and Resilience

This talk will feature a selection of images and stories from 30 years of projects and processes by puppeteer Jenny Romaine/Great Small Works and her partner radical traditionalists exploring visual storytelling, adornment, festival and flamboyant aesthetics as a method for building power.  What do the Eggplant Fearies mean by the “three lavender shields of fun, friendly and unexpected?” Come on down and find out.

JENNY ROMAINE is a director, designer, puppeteer and co-founder of the visual theater collective Great Small Works. She is music director of Jennifer Miller’s CIRCUS AMOK and artist in residence at Milk Not Jails.  She has directed community based spectacles for numerous projects in New York City and around the world. Romaine was a sound archivist at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research for 13 years and for several decades has drawn on Yiddish/Pan Jewish primary source materials to create art that has contemporary meaning.  Her projects include the Sukkos Mob (featured in the film Punk Jews), community Purim Shpiln with the Aftselakhis Spectacle Committee, The Revival of the Uzda Gravediggers, and Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls with Great Small Works.  Romaine has worked extensively as an educator in public schools, prisons, universities and museums. She currently is a Visiting Professor at the Pratt Institute department of Performance Studies. She was the first recipient of the Adrienne Cooper Award for Dreaming in Yiddish (2014), received a Marshall Meyer Risk-Taker Award from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (2015). and is featured in Dazzle Camouflage: Spectacular Theatrical Strategies for Resistance and Resilience a monograph by Ezra Berkley Nepon.

 Great Small Works (GSW) was founded in 1995 by a collective of six artists John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Stephen Kaplin, Jenny Romaine, Roberto Rossi and Mark Sussman, all veterans of Bread and Puppet Theater – to create theater of high artistic quality, and to keep theater at the heart of social life.  The company draws on folk, avant-garde and popular theater and puppetry traditions to address contemporary issues. GSW performs in theaters, schools, parks, libraries, museums, prisons, street corners, and other public spaces, producing work on many scales, from gigantic outdoor spectacles with scores of volunteers, to miniature shows in living rooms. Its six members create and tour original theatrical productions, and host festivals, exhibitions and cabaret evenings that serve the field by keeping a multi- generational and diverse community of artists connected ( i.e. Toy Theater Festival, HONK! festival of radical street bands, Purim & Spaghetti Dinners.) GSW mentors younger artists and supports them financially and professionally. Several collective members are renowned puppet scholars and historians who teach at the university level, publish, and lecture internationally.   GSW has created hundreds of community events, spectacles and performances that engage the public in art. In the past year GSW has performed at festivals in Quebec, Chicago, northern Germany, Finland, Mexico, France, and at the Baltimore Theatre Project.  On any scale, GSW productions seek to renew, cultivate and strengthen the spirits of their audiences, promoting theater as a model for participating in democracy.

GSW has received a Village Voice Obie Award (1997) and two UNIMA/USA Citations for Excellence (1997 and 2008); a New York Foundation for the Arts Community Assets Grant (1998), and the Puppeteers of America’s Jim Henson Award for innovation in puppetry (2005).

jro 3 at force majeure 1914

The 263rd meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  January 21, 2020 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, room UL 105 (lower level). Free and open to the public.

Augenblick Studios: 20 Years of Animation.

Brooklyn-based Augenblick Studios is celebrating their 20th anniversary in animation with a screening at the The Comics and Picture-story Symposium at Parsons. This screening will showcase their very best animation from the past two decades, including Ugly Americans, The Jellies, Wonder Showzen, and Superjail. Plus never-before-seen rarities! The screening will be followed by a Q&A with founder Aaron Augenblick and creative directors Katie Wendt, Jeremy Jusay, and Devin Clark. 

About Augenblick Studios: 

Augenblick Studios is an independent animation studio located in Brooklyn, NY.  Notable productions include The Jellies (Adult Swim), Losers (Netflix), Ugly Americans (Comedy Central), Superjail! (Adult Swim), Golden Age (Comedy Central), and Wonder Showzen (MTV).  Augenblick Studios is one of the leading animation companies in the world, well renowned for their unique brand of adult cartoon comedy.   

Aaron Augenblick is the founder of animation company Augenblick Studios. After graduating from SVA, he worked at MTV Animation on the shows Daria and Downtown. He left in 1999 to open his own independent studio in Brooklyn, NY. He has designed, animated, and directed on many of the studio’s productions, including Wonder Showzen, Superjail, and Ugly Americans. He wrote and and directed the independent short film Golden Age, which was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and winner of the Grand Prix at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Aaron’s graphic novel Tales of the Great Unspoken was a recipient of the prestigious Xeric Award and distributed by Top Shelf Productions.

Katie Wendt graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2010 and has been a regular at Augenblick Studios ever since. She’s served as Animation Director for The Jellies! (Adult Swim) as well as lead animator, storyboard artist, and almost every position between on productions including Ugly Americans (Comedy Central), Golan the Insatiable (FOX), The Snackdown (Cooking Channel), numerous TED-Ed animated shorts, and more. She also serves as a board member for the Lady Tech Guild and will feed your pets while you’re away for the weekend, if you need someone to stop by.

Jeremy Jusay got his arts education at NYC’s School of Visual Arts where he befriended his future employer Aaron Augenblick. He is currently the senior layout director at Augenblick Studios, which has been responsible for such shows as Wonder Showzen, Superjail, and Ugly Americans. He also self-publishes several comics, the latest of which is his annual tribute to EC comics, Jusay Pulp, and occasionally illustrates for zines like I Love Bad Movies and Strange Paradise, as well as designing posters for the Criterion Collection, Cain’s Tavern, and Matt Timm’s Takedowns.

Devin Clark is a New York based animation producer, director, designer, and illustrator. He was the creator, director, and executive producer of the cult hit “Ugly Americans” which ran for 3 seasons on Comedy Central. He produced the viral hit animated web series, Lifehacker Explains, for Gizmodo Media Group. He created the hit animated web series, Instant Life Lessons, for Official Comedy in 2014. His freelance clients include HBO, MTV, Comedy Central, TCM, Adult Swim, and Cartoon Network. His films have been featured in Stash Magazine, Animation Block Party, Rooftop Films, Ottawa Film Festival, Platform, Atom films, and BDA.

Showcase 72dpi



Spring 2020 Symposium poster

The 262nd meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  December 10, 2019 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, room UL 105 (lower level). Free and open to the public.

Lawrence Hubbard on his life and work in comics.

Real Deal Comix trades in what it calls the genre of Urban Chaos — a satiric depiction of the madness that occurs in the urban centers of America. Each story details the everyday struggles of the urban dwellers who go off on each other out of the rage and futility that their lives bring them. These people live on the edge of a precipice, where everyday tasks like going to the store or buying gas requires a stand-or-back-down attitude to survive. Every story ends in mayhem. Join G.C., Ace Brogan, and Slick Willie in their adventures in da’ hood, and remember, they live a real man’s life: no matter what, they never back down. Real Deal Magazine (“More Rage per Page, More Slaughter for your Dollar”) was a self-published independent comic book created in the 1990s by Lawrence Hubbard (a.k.a. “Raw Dog”) and H.P. McElwee (a.k.a. “R.D. Bone”) and inspired by magazines like Mad and traditional superhero comics but satirizing Blaxploitation movies with a cast of convicts, hustlers, drug addicts, crack whores, car thieves, and murderers. Real Deal has achieved cult status over the years, especially amongst underground artists and counterculture circles, and has even been featured in a line of t-shirts from Stüssy. . . “ [from the Frantagraphics edition of Real Deal Comix]

Lawrence “Raw Dog” Hubbard is an American comics artist living in South Los Angeles. In the 1980s, Hubbard worked with writer Harold “R.D. Bone” McElwee at the Los Angeles headquarters of California Federal Savings and decided to collaborate on a comic about the wild stories of their friends and associates. Their comic series, Real Deal, was rejected by mainstream publishers, so in 1989 Hubbard and McElwee formed Real Deal Productions and self-published Real Deal #1. They published six issues of Real Deal from 1989–2001.


The 261st meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  December 3, 2019 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, room UL 105 (lower level). Free and open to the public.

Mark Dery on Nursery Crimes: Edward Gorey’s Morbid Nonsense.

Critics never quite knew what to make of Edward Gorey (1925-2000), the author and illustrator whose darkly droll tales of murder, mayhem, and discreet depravity have influenced Neil Gaiman, Guillermo Del Toro, and Lemony Snicket, among others. His use of nonsense verse and the picture- book format, his mock-moralistic tone, and his densely crosshatched pen-and- ink style, reminiscent of 19th-century engravings, have led more than a few readers to mistake his books for Victorian children’s literature. Yet the camp- macabre wit and disquieting subject matter of titles like The Loathsome Couple (inspired by the true-crime exploits of a pair of child-killers) and The Gashlycrumb Tinies (an ABC book that reels off the deaths of 26 little dears in rhyming couplets) make it clear that Gorey’s books—for all their black comedy—are the stuff of nursery nightmares. In this illustrated lecture, cultural critic Mark Dery, author of Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey, reveals the surprisingly serious themes woven through his oeuvre: death, sexuality, the human condition, the meaning (or meaninglessness?) of life, the ghastliness of fruitcakes. As well, he explores the obscure influences—and Freudian shadows—haunting Gorey’s whimsically sinister body of work.

Mark Dery is a cultural critic best known for his essays on Afrofuturism (a term he coined) and culture jamming (a phenomenon he popularized). His byline has appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Elle, Wired, and Bookforum. He has been a professor of journalism at NYU and taught in the Yale School of Art. Dery’s books include Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century (translated into eight languages); The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium, a study of America on the brink; an essay collection, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts; and a biography, Born To Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey, named one of the Best books of 2018 by NPR, The Guardian, andMental Floss.



The 260th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Nov. 26, 2019 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, room UL 105 (lower level). Free and open to the public.

Catrin Morgan on Images as Time Machines.

In this presentation I will be picking up on the idea raised by Kirstin Texeira earlier in the semester that images can act as time machines. I will think about some of the different kinds of time that can be described visually and the effect that images can have on our understanding of time.

Catrin Morgan is an illustrator, artist and designer whose practice is concerned with mathematical, architectural and theoretical systems. Catrin has an MA in Communication Art and Design at The Royal College of Art and a PhD from RCA on work looking at the relationship between illustration and deception. Catrin’s first book Phantom Settlements, an illustrated exploration of the work of Ryan Gander, Jamie Shovlin and Tom McCarthy, produced in collaboration with Mireille Fauchon and design studio Julia was published by Ditto Press in 2011. Her second book, an illustrated edition of Ben Marcus’s landmark of experimental fiction, The Age of Wire and String, was published by Granta Books in 2013. In 2017 she was invited to produce a limited edition artist’s book, Studies for Studies at Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York and in 2018 Jerome’s Study a further collaboration with Max Porter was published by Test Centre Books in London. At the end of 2018 Catrin completed a three month residency as Practitioner in Residence at the Royal College of Art. Catrin is represented by dalla Rosa gallery in London. Her work has been discussed in The Paris Review, Modern Painters, Elephant, and Frieze Magazine. 


Rules of Exit.


The 259th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Nov. 19, 2019 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, room UL 105 (lower level). Free and open to the public.

Keren Katz on her recent work.

Katz‘s latest graphic novel The Backstage of a Dishwashing Webshow is a story of unrequited love set in a school for transmutation on top of Mount Scopus. It catalogs the disappearance and reappearance of four characters: Rivi the protagonist and eventual narrator of the book, Novak, Rivi’s roommate and popular yet elusive host of a live dishwashing show, Avner, Rivi’s father and Yakov, Rivi’s love interest. In her presentation, Katz will discuss the process of composing the image sequences in the book as a choreography, and the interactive performances in which they originated, as well as the use of auto-biographical writing as a catalyst for generating real life adventures. She will also introduce new experimental publishing projects from the Tel Aviv based “Gnat Micro-Press.”

Keren Katz is an Israeli-born cartoonist, writer, and the non-fictitious half of The Katz Sisters Duo. She is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts’s MFA Illustration Program. She is the author of the Academic Hour (Secret Acres), nominated for the SPX Ignatz Award for Outstanding Artist. Her work has been published in anthologies by Smoke Signal, Locust Moon, Rough House, Ink Brick, Retrofit Comics, The Brooklyn Rail, Carrier Pigeon, Seven Stories Press and NOW. Katz is the current Center for Cartoon Studies fellow, and recipient of the SVA Alumni Society 2013 Micro-Grant, the Sequential Artists Workshop’s 2014 Micro Grant, the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art’s 2015 Silver Medal and Award of Excellence, the 2018 Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies sixth annual Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Print Comic (The Academic Hour) and the Cartoon Crossroad Columbus Emerging Talent Prize. Visit Keren at to My Graphic Novels and