The 151st meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  April 5, 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.

Paul Buhle on “Ten Years of Non-Fiction Comics.” My notion of where I began and what I have done, touching on work with the 1970s Bay Area oldtimers, WW3, new generations, etc. co-editor of Drawn to Change (Between the Lines Press).

Publisher of Radical America Komiks (1969), and editor of several journals with an interest in comics, Paul Buhle will explore the phase of nonfiction comics from his own re-entry in 2005 and a dozen volumes since. Harvey Pekar, Howard Zinn, Spain Rodriguez, Sharon Rudahl, Peter Kuper, Sabrina  Jones, Nick Thorkelson and even Ben Katchor among others are part of this story.
His books include: From the Lower East Side to Hollywood: Jew in American Popular Culture, The Beats: A Graphic History (with Harvey Pekar), Wobblies!: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World (with Nicole Schulman), The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics (with Denis Kitchen), Marxism in the United States: Remapping the History of the American Left, Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist (with Patrick McGilligan), Encyclopedia of the American Left (with Mari Jo Buhle and Dan Georgakis), Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman (with Sharon Rudahl and Alice Wexler), Lincoln for Beginners (with Sharon Rudahl and Eric Foner), History and the New Left: Madison Wisconsin, 1950-1970, The American Radical (with Mari Jo Buhl, Harvey J. Kaye and Eric Foner), Blacklisted: The Film Lover’s Guide to the Hollywood Blacklist (with Dave Wagner), Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History (with Harvey Pekar), Jews and American Comics: An Illustrated History of an American Art Form, A People’s History of American Empire (with Howard Zinn and Mike Konopacki), Radical Hollywood: The Untold Story Behind America’s Favorite Movies (with David Wagner), C.L.R. James: The Artist As Revolutionary, Taking Care of Business: Samuel Gompers, George Meany, Lane Kirkland, and the Tragedy of American Labor, FDR and the New Deal For Beginners (with Sabrina Jones and Harvey Pekar), Hide in Plain Sight: The Hollywood Balcklistees in Film and Television (with Dave Wagner), The Immigrant Left in the United States (with Dan Georgakas), A Very Dangerous Citizen: Abraham Lincoln Polonsky and the Hollywood Left (with Dave Wagner), Marxism in the USA: From 1870 to the Present, (editor), Jews and American Popular Culture (editor), Images of American Radicalism (with Edmund B. Sullivan), Robin Hood: People’s Outlaw and Forest Hero: A Graphic Guide (with Chris Hutchinson), Insurgent Images: The Agitprop Mural of Mike Alewitz (with Mike Alewitz and Martin Sheen), C.L. R. James’s Caribbean (with Paget Henry), Labor’s Joke Book, Tim Hector: A Caribbean Radical’s Story, Working for Democracy: American Workers from the Revolution to the Present (with Alan Dawley), and From the Knights of Labor to the New World Order: Essays on Labor and Culture.

Wobblies cover

The 150th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  March 29, 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. Please note: No meeting March 22 – Spring Break.

Ted Wiggin on Optical Hopscotch: Tricks of perception in experimental animation
Filmmaker and software developer Ted Wiggin will discuss tricks of perception used by 20th century experimental filmmakers, their evocative potential, and impact on contemporary independent animation.

Ted Wiggin is a filmmaker and software developer who strives to bend the computer towards traditional animation and analog techniques. His films attempt to show rational systems that transcend their own logic. After graduating from RISD in 2011, he moved to New York and now works at Hornet Inc. Ted also makes software for non objective filmmaking, which is user friendly, versatile and freely available online.

StellaNova_screenshotB small

The 149th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  March 15, 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.

Tom Palaima on Scribes, doodles, punning and cartooning in a Bronze Age bureaucracy.
Palaima will discuss the doodles and distractions of the human beings who wrote in the Linear B script on clay tablets in the late Greek Bronze Age (1400-1200 BCE) and the tradition of picture-writing out of which their writing system and their craft developed.

Tom Palaima, a MacArthur fellow (1985-90) for his work in Aegean prehistory and early Greek language and culture, is director of the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory and Robert M. Armstrong professor of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin. He has lectured, written and taught extensively on the subjects of ancient writing systems, the reconstruction of ancient culture, decipherment theory, Greek language, war and violence studies, ancient religion, ethnicity, feasting ritual and kingship ideology, song as an important means of communicating social criticism, and the music of Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Woody Guthrie.

linear B image

(above) Linear B tablet from the site of Mycenae and is known as Oe 106. It is dated in the 13th century BCE.

Warrior Vase Scene

(above) detail, Warrior Vase at Mycenae, early LH III C, 12th century BCE.

The 148th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on THURSDAY,  March 10, 2016 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, University Center, 63 Fifth Ave., room L104 (lower level). Free and open to the public. PLEASE NOTE: THIS EVENT IS HAPPENING ON A THURSDAY EVENING!


Seven Days of Creation: Will Eisner and The Spirit Daily Newspaper Strip
75 years ago, in 1941, although busy with the Sunday supplement Spirit section (launched the year before) and other work, Will Eisner was offered the holy grail for cartoonists of his generation: the opportunity to do The Spirit as a daily strip. Eisner leapt at the offer, and The Spirit syndicated comic strip launched on October 13, 1941.

Syndicated cartoonists were the rock stars of that era, and Eisner was eager to become one, and not just for the financial prospects it offered. As he said that year in a famous Philadelphia Record interview about the project, “The comic strip…is no longer a comic strip but, in reality, an illustrated novel. It is new and raw in form just now, but material for limitless intelligent development.” Perhaps the only comics artist of his generation to speak in such terms, Eisner was eager to explore what could be done with the venerable comic strip medium.

The Spirit daily strip lasted more than three years, and Eisner found it to be a very different type of sequential art challenge than the comic book story that, even at age 24, he was already a master of. Tonight, a panel of Eisner experts, including AL JAFFEE (Mad magazine legend and Eisner studio veteran), DENNIS O’NEIL (longtime editor and writer of Batman), BRENDAN BURFORD (General Manager, Syndication at King Features Syndicate) and moderator DANNY FINGEROTH (author of Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics and the Creation of the Superhero and Chair of Will Eisner Week), will show samples of—and will discuss the historic significance of—The Spirit syndicated strip, as well as its place in Eisner’s artistic development.



The 147th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, March 8, 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.

Frederick “Rick” Schneider on Polish Posters: Reflecting the Soul of a Nation
The poster art of Poland has made a significant contribution to international visual culture. In particular, works created after World War 2 through the 1980s, in a genre known as the “Polish school,” are revered by museums of modern art, collectors, and design educators around the world for their illustrative power, daring, and innovation. Yet, these works and the artists who produced them are not well known to the general public.
In the aftermath of two world wars, occupation and international economic depression, with shifting borders and the slow reconstruction of bombed cities and under repressive Communist rule, the Polish people struggled to reinstitute cultural events and recreate venues for plays, films, opera, concerts and the circus. To promote these performances, Polish artists painted, collaged and hand-lettered poster art, devising imaginative, personal interpretations of content and narrative—all while their country experienced deprivation, social upheaval, demonstrations and workers’ strikes.
In spite of hostile conditions, Polish posters found their way onto city walls and construction sites that became impromptu galleries of art for ordinary citizens. Using playful, surreal or thought provoking images and a language of visual metaphor, analogy, and culturally recognizable associations, Polish poster artists defied governmental restrictions and censorship to produce work which has come to be recognized as part of a unified and ultimately, national form of expression.
The artistic lineage of Polish posters can be traced to early 20th century influences, but most especially to the innovative and courageous poster artists of the pre- and post World War 2 era who took teaching positions in the newly reopened art schools of Poland. Passing down their theories and practice to succeeding generations, they taught painting, composition and conceptual thinking through the lens of poster design. This was a time of extraordinary works being created under extraordinary circumstances, and Polish posters remain an inspiration to visual communicators everywhere.

Frederick (“Rick”) Schneider has taught the history of illustration at the Art Institute of Boston (now Lesley University College of Art and Design)  in Cambridge, Massachusetts and at Parsons/The New School in New York City. He is an award-winning graphic designer, art director and freelance illustrator, whose appreciation for and knowledge of the history of illustration has influenced and inspired students for more than 30 years.
In 2015, with the patronage and collaboration of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rick has initiated and directed the design of an important new global resource for the study and enjoyment of illustration history – The site is home to essays, video presentations, timelines, book and exhibition catalogue excerpts, and biographies of historically important masters and contemporary practitioners. It is designed to encourage research and provide resources to all those interested in illustration’s vital place in art history.
Image: Wiktor Sadowski. A theatrical poster for musical My Fair Lady done in 1986.

The 146th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, March 1, 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.

Theodore Barrow will present and discuss his paper, “From the Easter Wedding to the Frantick Lover”  — an exploration of the relationship between text and image in the long eighteenth century.

Theodore Barrow is a PhD candidate at the Graduate Center, CUNY. His area of focus is intertextuality in the art of John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer.

Painted ladies Rambles

The 145th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on WEDNESDAY, February 24, 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. PLEASE NOTE: THIS EVENT IS HAPPENING ON A WEDNESDAY EVENING!

Sara Lipton on her recent book, Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography.

In this talk I will present an overview of my recent book, Dark Mirror, the first comprehensive study of changing depictions of Jews in medieval art.  I start with the birth of the iconographically identifiable Jew in the eleventh century, and then trace the elaboration of a host of new signs and visual stereotypes over the next four hundred years.  I close by offering a detailed analysis of a remarkable set of manuscripts known as the Moralized Bibles.  Made for the royal French court around 1225, these are essentially religious comic books, digesting the narratives and lessons of the Bible into lavish — and often virulently anti-Jewish — imagery.  My ultimate goal is not only to help clarify the evolution of medieval anti-Judaism, but also to illuminate the powerful role played by art in the shaping of social attitudes.

Sara Lipton is Professor of History at the State University of New York, Stony Brook.  She is the author of Images of Intolerance: The Representation of Jews and Judaism in the Bible moralisée (University of California Press, 1999), which won the Medieval Academy of America’s John Nicholas Brown Prize; Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography (Henry Holt/Metropolitan Books, 2014), which was recently awarded the Jordan Schnitzer Award by the Association for Jewish Studies, as well as numerous articles on medieval religion and culture. The recipient of fellowships from Oxford University, the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers of the New York Public Library, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Jewish Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, and The Huffington Post.

Fig. 5 Hooded student

Bible moralisée, Paris, ca. 1225.  (ÖNB, cod. 2554, fol. 50vd).


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