The 161st meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Sept. 27, 2016 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Martha Rust on
Circles, Lines, and Coils: Picturing Life Stories in Medieval Manuscripts and Rolls.

The set of all points in a plane that are equidistant from a given point, a circle is also an image of totality and completeness. Any two points in the circumference of a circle define a line, making a line the figure of connection and also of boundaries. A version of a circle, a coil suggests cycles as well as wholeness. By way of a separate etymology, “coil” also denotes the busy tumult of life, the “mortal coil” made famous by Shakespeare. All three of these design elements feature in medieval images and diagrams depicting typical life stories and exemplary life practices that were meant to aid a viewer in successfully negotiating that busy tumult. Among these works, images of the Wheel of Fortune are primarily pictorial while Wheel of Sevens diagrams based on the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer are primarily textual. In between are diagrams that feature a smaller circular element, the roundel. A look at the use roundels in a range of contexts–in stained glass, in Books of Hours, in genealogies–demonstrates that unlike the all-encompassing circle, the roundel isolates specific items of information and lends them visual emphasis.The use of roundels in a diagram displaying the ten stages of human life renders each a subject of contemplation, even as the lines connecting all ten roundels to a central hub pictures an individual life as part of a larger cycle. By contrast, the use of roundels of the “Pater Noster Table” in the Vernon Manuscript creates a visual hierarchy of information, in which the content of the roundels not only have priority over the lines of text that connect them but also become subject to a viewer’s mental manipulation.

Martha Rust is an associate professor of English at New York University, specializing in late-medieval English literature and manuscript culture. Her first book, Imaginary Worlds in Medieval Books: Exploring the Manuscript Matrix (Palgrave, 2007) envisioned the confines of a medieval manuscript as the potential territory of a virtual world; her current book project, Item: Lists and the Poetics of Reckoning in Late-Medieval England theorizes the list as a device that enables thinking in a variety of modes. She has also written about comics and picture stories in an essay entitled “It’s a Magical World: The Page in Comics and Medieval Manuscripts.”
Psalter of Robert de Lisle - caption: 'Wheel of the ten ages of

Wheel of the ten ages of man – Psalter of Robert de Lisle (c.1310), f.126v – BL Arundel MS 83

The 160th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Sept. 20, 2016 at 7pm at Parsons The New School for Design, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Seymour Chwast on GOD WAR SEX
Many of my illustrations and work that I do for myself fall under these categories. The subjects are graphically important to me.

Seymour Chwast is co-founder of Push Pin Studios and has been director of the Pushpin Group where he reintroduced graphic styles and transformed them into a contemporary vocabulary.  His designs and illustrations have been used in advertising, animated films, and editorial, corporate, and environmental graphics.  He has created over 100 posters and has designed and illustrated more than thirty children’s books.  His work has been the subject of three books including, Seymour Chwast: The Left Handed Designer (Abrams, 1985).  Many museums, such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the Library of Congress (Washington D.C.) have collected his posters.  He has lectured and exhibited worldwide and is in the Art Directors Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of the 1985 Medal from the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

god in mexico

(above) God in Mexico.

AtWarwithWar

 

The 159th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Sept. 13, 2016 at 7pm at Parsons The New School for Design, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Tommy José Stathes on his work as an early animation archivist and researcher.
Animation historian and archivist presents an overview of the 1913-1927 animated films produced by the pioneering Bray Studios of New York City. Stathes shares rare Bray film clips, images, and information from his archives while also discussing his work in finding rare early ‘orphaned’ films and reintroducing them to modern audiences.

Tommy José Stathes is an archivist, historian, exhibitor, distributor, and educator in the realm of early animated films. Stathes is best known in film history circles for creating the Bray Animation Project research initiative; the Cartoons On Film early animation release label and Cartoon Roots Blu-ray home video releases; supplying early animated films to and co-hosting them on Turner Classic Movies; as well as for the 16mm Cartoon Carnival film series in New York City. He is also Consulting Producer on Cartoon Carnival: The Documentary, an educational film about silent- era animation as well as Stathes’ related work in archiving and exhibiting this subgenre, which is currently in production.

How Animated Cartoons Are Made still small

 

The 158th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Sept. 6, 2016 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

CJ Suzuki on Pushing the Boundary of Manga: Gekiga and Japanese Counterculture

In present Japan, gekiga loosely refers to a body of Japanese comics (manga) with a long narrative (story manga) that is oriented toward teen and older male readers, typically with little or no humor. In manga criticism, gekigahas been defined in contrast to mainstream manga in terms of visual style and content. Whereas postwar mainstream manga was formed around Osamu Tezuka’s (quasi-Disneyesque) cartoony style, gekigais frequently associated with more “realistic” drawing style with serious or darker themes. Though fully integrated into present Japanese manga culture, gekiga, from its nascent state, assumed a distinct characteristic of being (arguably) alternative to the mainstream manga.
This talk explores the socio-historical and cultural context of the development of gekiga by examining the shifting media ecology of Japanese comics industry, important comics artists and their works, and the impact of gekiga on other artistic and cultural practices. The focus will be on two major “alternative” magazines: Garo (1964 – 2002) and COM (1967-1972), both of which offered an outlet for innovative, unorthodox, and transgressive artists. Both comics magazines not only expanded comics expressions but also pushed the conceptual horizon of manga, attempting to legitimize the artistic value of comics while maintaining a sense of unruly proclivity by being “alternative.” Gekiga rose in tandem with the counterculture of Japan in the 1960s when Japan witnessed the rise of student revolt, civic and intellectual participation in politics, and artistic experimentalism–all of which synchronically shared the global cultural and political climate of the time. This talk traces the emergence and development of gekiga in the context of postwar Japanese visual culture, mainly from mid-1950s to early 1970s, illustrating how both these comics magazines played a role in shaping the visual culture of Japanese counterculture.

Shige (CJ) Suzuki is Assistant Professor of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature at Baruch College, The City University of New York (CUNY) where he teaches courses in Japan Studies such as Japanese literature, film, and popular culture. Professor Suzuki received his Ph.D. in Literature from University of California at Santa Cruz in 2008. His current research interests are comparative literature, cultural studies, critical theory, and comics/manga studies. He has published articles in both English and Japanese. Recent published articles include “Tatsumi Yoshihiro’s Gekiga and the Global Sixties: Aspiring for an Alternative” in Manga’s Cultural Crossroads, edited by Jaqueline Berndt and Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer (2013), “Traversing Art and Manga: Ishiko Junzō’s Writings on Manga/Gekiga” on Comics Forum (2014), “Autism and Manga: Comics for Women, Disability, and Tobe Keiko’s With the Light” in International Perspectives on Shojo and Shojo Manga: The Influence of Girl Culture, edited by Masami Toku (2015).

Garo+Com copy small

images: Garo (top) and COM (bottom)

The 157th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

A conversation with Benjamin Marra and Josh Bayer.
Join Ben and Josh for a lively discussion about process, influences and what it means to be cartoonists who are much indebted to comics history as they are committed to making their permanent mark on comics’ future.

Benjamin Marra is the notorious and influential creator of the successful underground comic books Night Business, Gangsta Rap Possee,  The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd, Lincoln Washington: Free Man!, Ripper and Friends, Blades & Lazers and Terror Assaulter: O.M.W.O.T. (One Man War On Terror). Marra’s comic book work has drawn comparison to mainstream masters Paul Gulacy and Jim Steranko along with underground comix legends, like Robert Crumb and Spain Rodriguez. Marra’s illustration work has been recognized by The Society of Illustrators, The Society of Publication Designers, 3×3,American Illustration and in 2006 he was named one of the Art Directors Club’s Young Guns.

Josh Bayer‘s style is characterized by a genre fusion, tying together different historical cartooning styles with a devout punk rock anti-narrative. His comics work has been reprinted in the Best American Comics series and Theth was listed by The Comics Journal as one of the best small press comics of 2014. Josh is the editor of the All Time Comics series from  Fantagraphics, and the editor of the anthology Suspect Device as well as the author of Mr Incompleto, Rom; Prison Riot,  and Raw Power 1 and 2.
Bayer also has an extensive career producing conceptual art for a variety of TV and film productions for clients including MTV, HBO and Amnesty International. Josh earned an MFA in Illustration and Cartooning in 2009, and has been teaching professionally since 2007 at schools all over New York.

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bayer parsons talk

images: Benjamin Marra (top) and Josh Bayer (bottom)

The New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium will start again on August 30th.

The 156th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  May 10, 2016 at 7pm at Parsons The New School for Design, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Roland Kelts on The Hybrid Roots of Manga:
How the influx of American and other Western cultural artifacts after World War II evolved into a form of expression whose visual and narrative characteristics are today considered distinctively Japanese.

Roland Kelts is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Japanamerica. His articles, essays and fiction are published in The New Yorker, Time, the Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, Newsweek Japan, Vogue, Cosmopolitan and The Japan Times, among others. He is also a frequent contributor to CNN, the BBC, NPR and NHK. He is a visiting scholar at Keio University and contributing editor of Monkey Business, Japan’s premier literary magazine. His forthcoming novel is called Access.
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