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The 137th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 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.

Lauren Redniss‘s work combines reporting, historical research, artwork and design.  She will speak about her new book, Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future.

Lauren Redniss is the author of Century Girl: 100 years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis, Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies and Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout, a finalist for the National Book Award. She has been a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars & Writers at the New York Public Library, the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and Artist-in-Residence at the American Museum of Natural History.  Her new book, Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future, was published by Random House in 2015.

Thunder & LIghtning redness image

The 136th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015 at 7pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Nicolas Grivel on Chinese Comics: From lianhuanhua to the new talents of the Chinese comics scene or the Tribulations of a Frenchman in China
The Chinese comics scene is still not very well-known around the world. This lecture will try to describe  the landscape of the comics publishing industry in China, from its  roots in lianhuanhua  (palm-sized serial picture-books) by such artists as He Youzhi to a new generation of cartoonists such as Zou Jian, Nie Jun and Golo Zhao who are influenced by manga,  as well as European and North American comics. What will their future be outside of China?
A seeming commercial Eldorado, I will examine the potential and limits of the market within Mainland China for foreign publishers and cartoonists. The lecture will also focus on Chinese universities with art departments, the deep link between comics and the animation industry, state censorship, the rules of the Chinese market and also the amazing energy of the new comics scene in China.
Born and raised in North Eastern France, Nicolas Grivel is a literary agent (Nicolas Grivel Agency). He began his publishing career in 2003 as a senior editor for Pika (publisher of manga – Hachette France). He now owns an agency specialized in the sale of rights (paper, digital and media) of bande dessinée, comics, graphic novels in creation and in translation around the world. He has sold in English graphic novels as Ariol by Emmanuel Guibet and Marc Boutavant, Today is the last day of the rest of you life by Ulli Lust, Sam Zabel & The Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks, The Realist by Asaf Hanuka, Jim Curious by Matthias Picard, Ghetto Brother by Julian Voloj & Claudia Ahelering, Climate Changed by Philippe Squarzoni, A Game for Swallows by Zeina Abirached, An Iranian Metamorphosis by Mana Neyestani, First Man by Simon Schwartz, Peplum by Blutch, Incidents in the night by David B, etc.
The goal of Nicolas Grivel Agency is to represent and to push demanding works which make the readers think. Nicolas is casting a wide net for all kinds of graphic stories. He’s also scouting comics and artists for the American studio Laika as well and he’s teaching classes in two French Universities and doing lectures in various universities or events as Beijing Film Academy, Hanghzou Festival, Ligatura (Poznan), Budapest BookFair, Warsaw BookFair, etc.
He lives in Paris and likes to travel.

Zou Jian

drawing by Zou Jian

The 135th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 at 7pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Bill Griffith on his new book, Invisible Ink.
Invisible Ink is about my mother’s secret 16 year affair with a famous cartoonist and how it affected me and my family.
There will be a slide talk on the book’s evolution and why it took me so long to do my first graphic novel.
Digressions into Zippy and Ernie Bushmillerland may occur.

“Are we having fun yet?” This non sequitur utterance by the clown-suited
 philosopher/media star Zippy the Pinhead has become so oft-quoted that 
it is now in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. Zippy has in fact become an 
international icon, even appearing on the (former) Berlin Wall. Zippy’s
 creator, Bill Griffith, began his comics career in New York City in 1969.
His first strips were published in the East Village Other and Screw
 Magazine and featured an angry amphibian named Mr. The Toad.
He ventured to San Francisco in 1970 to join the burgeoning underground
 comics movement and made his home there until 1998. His first major 
comic book titles included Tales of Toad and Young Lust, a best-selling 
series parodying romance comics of the time. He was co-editor of Arcade, 
The Comics Revue for its seven issue run in the mid-70s and worked with 
the important underground publishers throughout the seventies and up to 
the present: Print Mint, Last Gasp, Rip Off Press, Kitchen Sink and 
Fantagraphics Books. The first Zippy strip appeared in Real Pulp #1 
(Print Mint) in 1970. The strip went weekly in 1976, first in the Berkeley Barb 
and then syndicated nationally through Rip Off Press.
In 1980 weekly syndication was taken over by Zipsynd (later Pinhead Productions), owned and operated by the artist. Zippy also appeared in the pages of the National Lampoon and High Times from 1977 to 1984. In 1985 the San Francisco Examiner
 asked Griffith to do six days a week, and in 1986 he was approached by 
King Features Syndicate to take the daily strip to a national audience. Sunday 
color strips began running in 1990. Today Zippy appears in over 200 newspapers
 worldwide. There have been over a dozen paperback collections of Griffith’s work
 and numerous comic book and magazine appearances, both here and abroad.
He became an irregular contributor to The New Yorker in 1994. Griffith’s inspiration
 for Zippy came from several sources, among them the sideshow “pinheads” in
 Tod Browning’s 1932 film Freaks. The name “Zippy” springs from “Zip the What-Is-It?”
a “freak” exhibited by P.T. Barnum from 1864 to 1926. Zip’s real name was
 William Henry Jackson (below), born in 1842. Coincidentally, Griffith (as he discovered in
1975, five years after creating Zippy) bears the same name. He was born
 William Henry Jackson Griffith (in 1944), named after his great-grandfather,
 well-known photographer of the Old West William H. Jackson (1842-1941).
Griffith presently lives and works in East Haddam, Connecticut with his wife, cartoonist Diane Noomin.


The 134th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015 at 7pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Paul Tumey on Forgotten Funnies: 
Images of America in the Comics of Percy Winterbottom, Dwig, and Ving Fuller.
Forgotten today, the comics of these three cartoonists were widely published and enjoyed a respectable readership in their successive eras. Presenting rare art and original research, comics scholar and writer Paul Tumey paints a four-color triptych of lost comics masters.
Percy Winterbottom (1866-1901) was a sly comic persona for George A. Beckenbaugh, a humorist-cartoonist who had a brief career in comics in the late 1890s until he died in 1901 at age 36. He conceived of one of the first meta-parodies in comics: a comic strip that was a lampoon of comics, pre-dating Mad magazine by more than half a century. His strip employs deliberately primitive art and language, and displays a parade of larger than life American archetypes while at the same time skewering them.
Clare Victor “Dwig” Dwiggins (1874-1958) came of age in idyllic rural America in the late 1800s and worked in comics from 1900 to the 1950s. He enjoyed a boyhood much like that of Mark Twain’s characters Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Working at first in whimsical illustrations, Gibson Girl art and virtuoso screwball comics. Dwig abruptly changed his work in 1913, becoming looser in style and obsessed with recapturing his childhood adventures in syndicated comics like School Days, and Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. He drew boyhood comics for the next thirty years, as if he had become frozen in time. Paul Tumey thinks he may have found the reason for this change. Dwig’s later boyhood comics reflect the rise of nostalgia in industrial America, as people began to yearn for a time when life was was simpler and perhaps less stressful.
Ving Fuller (1903 – 1965) worked in syndicated newspaper comic strips from the 1920s to the late 1950s. His work shows how a gifted cartoonist had much less creative freedom in mid-century America than earlier generations. Forced to hew to rigid stylistic formulas and gag formats, Fuller’s work nonetheless offers quirky and interesting moments. He was the barely successful cartoonist brother of famed Hollywood maverick filmmaker Sam Fuller, with whom his work shares a exploitative tabloid newspaper quality. Creator of the first psychiatrist in comics, Doc Syke, Fuller’s screwball strip dealt with a host of post-war American neuroses, including gags about the atomic bomb that first appeared mere weeks after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tumey will make the case that Fuller’s work quietly foreshadowed the Underground comics of the 1960s, with buried undercurrents of sexuality, social breakdowns, and charged political topics.
When juxtaposed together, the lives and work of these three obscure cartoonists tell a larger story that helps shed light on American comics and culture in the first half of the twentieth century.

Paul Tumey was a co-editor and essayist for The Art of Rube Goldberg (Abrams ComicArts 2013). He was also a contributing editor and essayist for Society is Nix (Sunday Press, 2013). His essay on Harry Tuthill appears as the introduction to The Bungle Family 1930 (IDW Library of American Comics, 2014). His work can be read regularly in his column, Framed! at the online Comics Journal (

Forgotten Funnies

A special meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 at 7pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Comics on the Northern Edge of Europe
Ben Katchor in conversation with Tom Oldham, Patrick Crotty, Tommi Musturi and David Schilter discussing the alternative small press comics in the UK, Sweden, Finland and Latvia.

Tom Oldham is a co-founder of Breakdown Press, a comics publisher based in London, UK. Breakdown Press is dedicated to publishing the very best in comics art, whether the cutting edge work of new cartoonists or undiscovered classics of the past.
Patrick Crotty is an artist and the official boss of the Swedish PEOW! studio. PEOW! is a publisher, shop and risograph studio based in Stockholm, publishing intergalactic comics from Sweden and abroad.
Tommi Musturi is an artist and co-founder of KUTIKUTI, a non-profit contemporary comics association and artist collective formed in Finland. KUTIKUTI are ca. forty members who make, teach and publish comics. They operate internationally with an aim to maintain and develop comics as an art form.
David Schilter is a co-editor of kuš!, a small press publisher from Riga. kuš! promotes alternative comics in Latvia and abroad. Next to publishing international anthologies and mini comics, they organize exhibitions workshops and other comic-related events.

Patrick Crotty small
Illustration by Patrick Crotty

Event initiated by Ben Katchor and David Schilter

The 133rd meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 at 7pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Join Marvin Sackner for a celebration of the publication of his new book, The Art of Typewriting (Thames and Hudson), co-authored with his late wife, Ruth.  Marvin Sackner will describe the genesis of the project, the process of assembling the book and his wonderful discoveries within the realm of typewriter art.
The book presents over  600 examples of work produced by the world’s finest typewriter artists — from late 19th century ornamental works produced by secretaries to recent works of typewriter art — the book highlights the unique position of the typewritten document in the digital age.

Marvin Sackner is a Word Art collector based in Miami, Florida. Today the Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry, created over four decades with his wife Ruth Sackner, is the world’s largest collection of its kind, housing tens of thousands of pieces from hundreds of artists and writers from around the world.

Englsh cover

The 132nd meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015 at 7pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Matthew Sontheimer on Flat Conversation

Matthew Sontheimer will discuss his drawings: The role text and images play in his works, and his continued exploration of  “conversational drawings.”

Matthew Sontheimer received a BFA from Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches, Texas, and an MFA from Montana State University, in Bozeman, Montana. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing in The Department of Art and Art History at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. His work is represented by the Talley Dunn Gallery, in Dallas, Texas, and the Devin Borden Gallery, in Houston Texas, and can be found in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Label Conscience 2014

(above) Label Conscience, 2014, Mixed Media on paper, 18 x 27 1/2 inches


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