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).

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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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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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The 155th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  May 3, 2016 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Kirsten McKinney on The Waking Life of Winsor McCay
An in-depth look at lesser-known comics by legendary artist Winsor McCay
Kirsten McKinney will discuss the importance that Winsor McCay’s work for adults, specifically A Pilgrim’s Progress by Mister Bunion, plays in the oeuvre of this celebrated artist. Revered as an innovator in both comics and animation, McCay’s New York Evening Telegram comics are often overlooked but were filled with social commentary and telling personal references, shedding light on the man behind the legend.

Kirsten A. McKinney is a graphic designer in Richmond, VA who has researched Winsor McCay’s work for adult audiences including Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, A Pilgrim’s Progress by Mister Bunion, and Poor Jake. She has compiled a complete catalog of A Pilgrim’s Progress by Mister Bunion, including scans from The New York Evening Telegram and full transcriptions.
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The 154th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  April 26, 2016 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Kirk Demarais on Novelty Advertising in Comic Books.
Author Kirk Demarais will explore novelty advertising in comic books, examining the artwork and revealing the products behind the sensationalized ads. The presentation will include a focused look at the pioneering prank and magic manufacturer, S.S. Adams.

Kirk Demarais is the author of Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff from Old Comic Book Ads, and Life of the Party, a visual history book of the S.S. Adams prank and magic company, whom he also designed for. He is a freelance designer, illustrator, and writer who has created content for clients such as Hallmark, Warner Bros., The LA Times, The Weinstein Company, The Onion AV Club, Comic Art Magazine, BoingBoing.net, and Archie McPhee. Kirk’s pop surrealist art is regularly featured at Gallery 1988 of Los Angeles. He’s also an adjunct professor at John Brown University where he teaches the history of art, advertising, and design.

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The 153rd meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  April 19, 2016 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Gulag Casual with Austin English
English will talk about the different stories collected in the book, Gulag Casual, which is an overview of 5 years worth of cartooning.

Austin English is a cartoonist and painter living in New York. He has published many books, including Christina and Charles and The Disgusting Room. His most recent effort, Gulag Casual published by 2d Cloud, debuts in April 2016.

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