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The 212th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  March 27, 2018 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, Kellen Auditorium (Room N101, off the lobby), Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. 66 Fifth Avenue. Free and open to the public.

Bill Plympton discusses his career and how to survive as an independent filmmaker.

Plympton will screen Tiffany the Whale, Footprints, Cop Dog, Slide (preview (2 min.), Revengeance clips and Simpsons Couch gag The Artiste.

Bill Plympton is considered the King of Indie Animation, and is the first person to hand draw an entire animated feature film. Bill moved to New York City in 1968 and began his career creating cartoons for publications such as New York Times, National Lampoon, Playboy and Screw.
In 1987, he was nominated for an Oscar® for his animated short Your Face. In 2005, Bill received another Oscar® nomination, this time for his short Guard Dog. Push Comes to Shove won the prestigious Cannes 1991 Palme d’Or; and in 2001, another short film, Eat,  won the Grand Prize for Short Films in Cannes Critics’ Week.
After producing many shorts that appeared on MTV and Spike and Mike’s, he turned his talent to feature films. Since 1991, he’s made twelve feature films. Eight of them, The Tune. Mondo Plympton, I Married A Strange Person, Mutant Aliens, Hair High, Idiots and Angels, Cheatin’ and Revengeance are all animated features.
Bill Plympton has also collaborated with Madonna, Kanye West and Weird Al Yankovic in a number of music videos and book projects. In 2006, he received the Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement Award from The Annie Awards.

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still from Revengeance.


The 211th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  March 13, 2018 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, Kellen Auditorium (Room N101, off the lobby), Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. 66 Fifth Avenue. Free and open to the public.

Tim Soter on Photography and Comic Books, A Discussion on Commonalities in Sequential Storytelling.
In a lecture celebrating different forms of sequential story telling, Tim Soter will discuss the connection between comic books, graphic novels and still photography. Fumetti, fotonovellas and fine art photographers who have incorporate writing with photography – these are all part of a thread that leads back to the hero comic books which influenced him the most as a child. Marvel comics, National Lampoon, Help! and others who have used photo comics in the past are part of the discussion. Soter will be presenting books he has made which literally combine photography and comic books, as well as his photo biographies, one of which is on Duane Michals who pioneered the sequenced photo story.
Tim Soter is a NYC based photographer/artist who is currently working on photo biographies and books which match pictures and text, often with a dry sense of humor. The Ship Escaped is an imprint he maintains which offers his self-published photography books found in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, International Center of Photography as well as notable private collections. Also his parents have copies.

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The 210th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  March 6, 2018 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, Kellen Auditorium (Room N101, off the lobby), Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. 66 Fifth Avenue. Free and open to the public.

Eleanor Davis – Why Art? 

It’s widely accepted that art serves an important function in society. But the concept falls under such an absurdly large umbrella and can manifest in so many different ways. Art can be self indulgent, goofy, serious, altruistic, evil, or expressive, or any number of other things. But how can it truly make lasting, positive change? In Why Art?, acclaimed graphic novelist Eleanor Davis (How To Be Happy) unpacks some of these concepts in ways both critical and positive, in an attempt to illuminate the highest possible potential an artwork might hope to achieve. A work of art unto itself, Davis leavens her exploration with a sense of humor and a thirst for challenging preconceptions of art worthy of Magritte, drawing the reader in as a willing accomplice in her quest.

Cartoonist and illustrator Eleanor Davis lives in Athens, GA, with fellow cartoonist Drew Weing. Her previous books include How To Be Happy and You and a Bike and a Road. In 2009 she received the Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award and was a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal Winner in 2013. You can check out her work at, and buy her mini-comics at

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The 209th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Feb. 27, 2018 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, Kellen Auditorium (Room N101, off the lobby), Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. 66 Fifth Avenue. Free and open to the public.

Special Will Eisner Week event.

Will Eisner: Breaking Fourth Walls since 1940 (if not earlier)
Originating in theater, the concept of the “fourth wall” refers to the plane through which a viewer experiences a traditional staged production. When an actor shatters the illusion of reality by acknowledging the audience’s presence—often by directly addressing the viewers—that is known as “breaking the fourth wall.” The term has come to be used for similar behavior by characters in movies, TV shows and, of course, comics.

From at least as early as Richard Outcault and The Yellow Kid, through Stan Lee addressing his readers in the captions of classic Marvel Comics stories, to Robert Crumb and Harvey Pekar literally speaking to their readers, comics shares—and celebrates—the potential of narrative arts to create and destroy (sometimes simultaneously) the illusion of reality that its stories work so hard to create.

Raised by a theater set-painter father, comics innovator Will Eisner was part of this long tradition of fourth wall breaking.  Eisner’s stories were filled with bigger-than-life characters who periodically interrupted the action—breaking the fourth wall—to address the reader or to boldly call attention to the fact that they were, indeed, characters in a comic book.

Like the mask-wielding characters in Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude (and the Mad Magazine spoof thereof), George Burns commenting on the other actors in his sitcom as he watches them on closed circuit spycams, or Woody Allen bringing the “real” Marshall McLuhan into a scene to interact with characters in Annie Hall, Eisner was always glad to speak directly to readers of The Spirit, his classic noir-comics feature—or to have the Spirit (or another character) do it for him.

Join comics writer and historian Danny Fingeroth (chair of Will Eisner Week) and a panel of fourth-wall-breaking experts including Dean Haspiel (The Red Hook), R. Sikoryak (The Unquotable Trump) and Miriam Katin (Letting It Go) as they explore Eisner’s innovative illusion-shattering in comics, and place it in an enlightening context of creative risk-taking in other comics and in other media.

WILL EISNER (1917-2005) innovated and pioneered comics in two different eras. Eisner helped invent the comics industry in the 1930s and created The Spirit in the 1940s as a heroic crime-fighting figure who appeared in a Sunday newspaper comics insert. The Spirit walked through a world of noir-inflected, urban drama, one suffused with humor and insight into the human condition, a world not afraid to essay the occasional Yiddish in-joke or Bronx social drama vignette. Then, after producing comics for training and education, Eisner, in 1978, re-invented himself—and the comics medium—with his first graphic novel, A Contract With God, followed, until his 2005 passing, with many acclaimed graphic novels and textbooks.


Emmy & Ringo award winner DEAN HASPIEL created Billy Dogma, The Red Hook, War Cry, illustrated for HBO’s Bored To Death, is a Yaddo fellow, a playwright, and helped pioneer personal webcomics. Dino has worked for Marvel, DC/Vertigo, Archie, Dark Horse, IDW, Heavy Metal, etc., including The Fox, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Deadpool, X-men, Batman, The Fantastic Four, Godzilla, Mars Attacks, and collaborated with Harvey Pekar, Jonathan Ames, Jonathan Lethem, Mark Waid, Stan Lee, & Stoya.

MIRIAM KATIN was born in 1942 in Budapest, emigrated to Israel in 1957 where she apprenticed in Commercial Art — drawing all the time with great passion – and served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a Graphic Artist. She moved to New York in 1963. Worked in animation  for Ein Gedi Animation, Jumbo Pictures- Nickelodeon, MTV and Disney. Her first comic was published in 2001. Her first graphic novel, We Are On Our Own (2006) was followed by the recent  Letting It Go, both published by Drawn & Quarterly.

R. SIKORYAK is the author of Masterpiece Comics (Drawn & Quarterly), “Where Classics and Cartoons Collide.” He continues to adapt the classics for various anthologies, including The Graphic Canon, Fable Comics, Hotwire, and Black Eye. His comics and illustrations have appeared in theNew Yorker, The Onion, GQ, MAD, SpongeBob Comics, and Nickelodeon Magazine, as well as on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He’s done storyboards and character designs for Augenblick Studios on various animated projects. Sikoryak is in the speakers program of the New York Council of the Humanities, and he teaches in the illustration department at Parsons School of Design and at The Center for Cartoon Studies. Since 1997, he’s presented his live cartoon slide show series, Carousel, around the United States and Canada. He lives in New York City with his wife, Kriota Willberg.

DANNY FINGEROTH (chair of Will Eisner Week) was Group Editor of Marvel’s Spider-Man line and has written many comics, including Spider-Man and Iron Man. He is the author of 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. Fingeroth has spoken and taught about comics at The Smithsonian Institution, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Columbia University and the MiMaster Art Institute in Milan. He’s currently writing a biography of Marvel’s Stan Lee for St. Martin’s Press. Find out more at:

To find out more about WILL EISNER WEEK (and how to plan an event in your community), go to:

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The 208th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Feb. 20, 2018 at 7pm atParsons School of Design, Kellen Auditorium (Room N101), Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. 66 Fifth Avenue (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Martin Lund on Re-Constructing the Man of Steel: Early Superman and his Jewish American Context.
It is often claimed that Superman is Jewish, but the arguments in favor of this claim do not always stand up to critical scrutiny. This talk will discuss some of the most common ways in which Superman has been figured as Jewish and deconstruct some of the most common parallels drawn, in order to then re-construct the Man of Steel in a different way. By the end of the talk, Superman will stand as a figure rooted not in European Jewish culture and folklore, nor in the Torah, but in the Jewish American context in which he was born.

Martin Lund is an assistant professor of religious studies at Södertörn University in Stockholm, Sweden. He has a PhD in Jewish studies from Lund University (no relation). He has published widely on comics in books and journals, academic and popular. Recent publications include Re-Constructing the Man of Steel: Superman 1938–1941, Jewish American History, and the Invention of the Jewish–Comics Connection (Palgrave 2016) and Muslim Superheroes: Comics, Islam, and Representation (co-edited with A. David Lewis, ILEX Foundation/Harvard University Press, 2017).

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Images from the first page of the first Superman story in Action Comics #1


The 207th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Feb. 13, 2018 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, Kellen Auditorium (Room N101), Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. 66 Fifth Avenue (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Julia Gfrorer on “A Void Does Not Exist.”

Gfrorer discusses the effect of leaving negative space in a work and how useful a tool it can be for controlling the emotional tenor of a story. People have an instinctive dread of emptiness (“horror vacui,” “nequaquam vacuum,” “nature abhors a vacuum”) which means as creators we tend to avoid it, but for a reader it can also be soothing, hypnotic, sensuous, and magnetic. A void isn’t necessarily a “nothingness”: something happens because of it. She will give examples from her own work as well as work that’s influenced her.

Julia Gfrörer is a writer and cartoonist. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA, and now lives on Long Island. She has published several handmade comics under her own imprint, as well as two longer graphic novels, Laid Waste and Black Is the Color, with Fantagraphics, a leading independent comics publisher. Her work has also appeared in numerous anthologies and publications, including Cicada Magazine, Arthur Magazine, Kramers Ergot 9, and two volumes of Best American Comics. She recently translated and illustrated excerpts from a medieval French heraldic text for 2dCloud’s MIRROR MIRROR II anthology, which she co-edited with her partner, writer Sean T. Collins.

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Image:  Robert Fludd, Detail of the black page from Utriusque cosmi maioris scilicet et minoris metaphysica, physica atque technica historia, published by Oppenheim (1617)

The 206th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Feb. 6, 2018 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Joe McCulloch on Total Language: Steve Ditko at 90

Ask a person today who created Spider-Man, and they’ll probably tell you Marvel Comics, that inescapable entertainment brand. Some of them might say Stan Lee, the man whose profile is highest in mass media. Others, perhaps fewer, will know about Steve Ditko (b. 1927), a cartoonist of an unusual trajectory: his vision and craft gave concrete form to commercial characters still adored across the globe, half a century later, but his passion would soon pour into deeply personal, experimental, and furiously divisive works, comics emboldened by the freedoms of artist ownership, yet antagonistic toward the compromised values of society. Few agreed with the ideology espoused by these comics, but Ditko kept working, undeterred – through the rise and fall of the underground era, through the transition from newsstand racks to comic book stores, through the graphic novel boom and the advent of crowdfunding. He is still working now, here in New York City.  Since 2007, Steve Ditko has published more than 800 pages of new comic book art, and they are among his most fascinating: comics where text and image work in a simultaneity of intent, a total language that invests the tautness of line and the hatching of shadow with thematic roles in the story, where the function of the black and white page is a statement of the artist’s worldview, by which there is only good and evil, and where the individual must ascertain the objective nature of the world, lest they reject their own lives. Come and see for yourself.

Joe McCulloch has been writing and speaking about comics for 14 years, sometimes to audiences other than his bathroom mirror.

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