The 121st meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, April 14, 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.

Ilan Manouach will present a slideshow of his published works and give a talk explaining the idea and providing the background for each book project. He will also present Shapereader, a tactile comic book specifically designed for a visually impaired readership.

Ilan Manouach was born in Athens in 1980. In 2001, he obtained a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the Saint-Lucas Institute of Brussels and started working on open-ended and experimental comics. He is a multidisciplinary artist, with a focused interest in the printed medium, and in tandem, works professionally as a musician and a publisher. He has published more than a dozen solo projects in French language and curated 4 different anthologies bringing together contributions from artists, publishers and writers. His books have received generous support on different occasions both from the National Book Center of France (CNL) the French Community of Belgium and he is a Koneen Saation Fellow in Finland. He is also member of the Errands Group, a very active research group, teaming artists, architects and social scientists studying urban space. He often travels for exhibitions, workshops talks and concerts (Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Russia, Finland, Austria, Turkey, Brazil, USA, Mexico, Canada).


The 120th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 7pm at The New School University Center, 63 5th Ave., room L104 (lower level). Free and open to the public. Please note new location.

Drew Friedman on 40 Iconic Paperback Book Covers.
Artist Drew Friedman shares and discusses 40 of his favorite paperback book covers. Paperback books are the cheaply printed (held together by glue rather than stitches) books released by publishers in a low-cost format.  Friedman has amassed a large collection of vintage paperbacks over the years. The book covers were all scanned from his personal collection and range from pulp-fiction and non-fiction, horror, humor reprints, (MAD, etc), comic book reprints, (Tales From The Crypt, etc), cartoon collections, joke books and show business biographies, predominantly from the nineteen fifties and sixties. Featuring artwork by among others, drawing legends such as Harvey Kurtzman, Virgil Partch, Frank Frazetta, Sanford Kossin and George Wachsteter,  Friedman will dissect each cover and explain why they had a profound influence on him and his work over the years as a cartoonist, illustrator and fan of pop culture.

Award winning artist Drew Friedman‘s comics and illustrations have appeared in Art Spiegelman’s Raw, R. Crumb’s Weirdo, American Splendor, Heavy Metal, National Lampoon, SPY, MAD, The New Yorker, BLAB!, Time, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The New York Observer, Entertainment Weekly, among many others, as well as numerous book covers and art created for Topps and SHOUT Factory. His work has been collected in five anthologies, the most recent, TOO SOON?. Drew Friedman’s Sideshow Freaks was published in 2011. Steven Heller in the The New York Times wrote of his three volumes of portraiture of Old Jewish Comedians: “A festival of drawing virtuosity and fabulous craggy faces. Friedman might very well be the Vermeer of the Borscht Belt”. His latest book of portraits, Heroes of the Comic Books, was published by Fantagraphics with a foreword by Al Jaffee. Friedman’s 8-page comic strip “R. Crumb & Me”, detailing his friendship and association with the artist R. Crumb, appears in Masterful Marks, edited by Monte Beauchamp and published by Simon & Schuster. Friedman lives in rural PA with his wife and frequent collaborator K. Bidus.

friedman two covers

verdant greenfrom The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green, an Oxford Freshman, by Cuthbert Bede, B.A.,  The Illustrated London News, Jan. 17, 1852

The 119th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, March 31, 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.

Two presentations:

1. Rick DesRochers on The Family Act Goes to School – The Marx Brothers, Vaudeville, and Americanization.
The link between the Marx Brothers in their vaudeville days and the popular comic strips of the early twentieth century can be seen with the Marx Brothers’ beginnings in the third-tier vaudeville circuit where they formed the core comedic trio of Chico, Harpo, and Groucho – their apocryphal names created in 1910 during a poker game after the comic strip character “Knocko the Monk.” The comic strip Knocko the Monk spawned a fad of nicknames ending in O, prompting vaudevillian Art Fisher to nickname Harpo for his harp playing skills; Groucho for his personality and his “grouch” bag that hung from his neck for safety; Chico for his penchant for “chasing the chickens” –  the girls. By bookending the vaudeville performances of the Marx Brothers and their school act beginning in 1910 with Fun in Hi Skule to their highly successful 1932 film, Horse Feathers, this lecture will examine how the Marx Brothers commented on and satirized progressive education reforms through their multiple versions of the school act, and the immigrant experience of being Americanized through public school education reforms.
Rick DesRochers, Ph.d., is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Long Island University Post.  He has served as the Literary Director of New Play and Musical Development for the Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival and The Goodman Theatre of Chicago, as well as the Artistic Director of the New Theatre in Boston. He holds an M.F.A. in stage direction and dramaturgy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Ph.D. in theatre from the City University of New York, Graduate Center. He is the author of The New Humor in the Progressive Era – Americanization and the Vaudeville Comedian for Palgrave Macmillan, and The Comic Offense from Vaudeville to Contemporary Comedy – Larry David, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Dave Chappelle for Bloomsbury.

Marx Brothers Mr Green's Reception 1914

2. Ian Lewis Gordon on The Boy Comic Strip: Towards an International History of Comics
Trying to write international histories of comics presents numerous problems including most obviously command of a range of languages.  But beyond that what sort of organizing principles would best capture the interplay across countries and cultures. Should people try to write histories that trace artists and influences across national boundaries with attention to whom influenced whom and the extent of that influence and similar sorts of questions? Or perhaps focusing on genres of comics, like various incarnations of the mischievous boy in comics, might show more about similarities and differences across different comics traditions.
In this discussion I will examine a range of “mischievous boy” comics to talk about some of the possibilities of using genres to create international histories of comics. How can we use this cavalcade of kid strips to talk about the history of comics? I think these strips show the similarities and differences across cultures. For instance the mischievous boy is not something that is particular to a given culture. But what these strips tells us is that this plays out in different ways. Some of this is cultural difference writ large and some of it is cultural difference writ small. I will look at comics from America, Australia, the UK and France to suggest a direction for research.
Ian Gordon is an Associate Professor in History at the National University of Singapore. For the academic year 2014-2015 he is a visiting scholar at NYU’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. He is the author of Comic Strips and Consumer Culture, and editor of two collections Comics & Ideology, and Film and Comic Books.

Perry and Bicot

The 118th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, March 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.

William H. Foster III on The image of African Americans in early American Comic Books: 1940-50.

William H. Foster III has been a writer since the age of 8 and published since age 11. Poet, essayist, playwright, and editorialist, he has written 15 books and 10 plays. He is presently a Professor of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Connecticut. Professor Foster holds a BA from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, and a Masters degree from Wesleyan University.
A long-time comic book collector and researcher, Professor Foster has been an expert commentator for both CNN News and National Public Radio. He was a consultant on the historical image of Blacks in both comic strips and comic books for the Words and Pictures Museum of Fine Sequential Art in Northampton, MA, and also a consultant to the 2004 exhibit, “Heroes, Heartthrobs, and Horrors: Celebrating Connecticut’s Invention of the American Comic Book” presented by the Connecticut Historical Society.
His exhibit on the “Changing Image of Blacks in Comics” has been displayed at a number of venues across the country, including Temple University’s Paley Library, the 1998 Comic-Con International Comic Arts Conference, the 2000 Festival of Arts and Ideas and in 2012 for the Texas Visual Arts Association in Dallas.
He presented his research at the 2001 conference of The International Association for Media and History in Leipzig, Germany and at the 2002 Conference on Analyzing Series & Serial Narrative at John Moores University in Liverpool, England.
In 2007 Professor Foster’s exhibit was displayed at both the Geppi Entertainment Museum in Maryland and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York. He was an invited speaker to the 2007 International Symposium on Langston Hughes at Central China Normal University in Wuhan, China.
In 2008 he was appointed to the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Comic Art. In 2010 his research was sited in the Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture. In 2011 he appeared as an expert on the PBS series, History Detectives. In that same year he spoke at the International Popular Culture Association conference in San Jose, Costa Rica. In 2012 he was an invited speaker at the Atl.Com Festival in Malmo, Sweden, and the Comics Forum in Leeds, England. In 2013 he lectured at the Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA., the New School in New York, and at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. He also appeared as an expert commentator in the PBS documentary, Superheroes: A Never ending Battle. He was also tapped to be a judge for the 2014 International Comic Con Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.
He is the author of two collections of essay on Blacks in Comics:  Looking for a Face like Mine (2005) and Dreaming of a Face like Ours (2010). He is currently at work on the third book in the series. Website:

All Negro Comics 1947

The 117th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, March 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.

Kent Worcester on Ten Great Cartoonists You’ve Never Heard Of
In recent years there has been a flurry of scholarly interest in comics and cartooning, much of which has focused on a relatively small number of cartoonists. This illustrated talk will make the case for looking beyond the usual suspects and will highlight the “lost art” of ten highly talented creators who are not yet on the comics studies radar. Perhaps one or two of their names will be familiar to devoted fans of political cartooning, but very little has been written about any one of the following: M. Verne Breitmayer, Jesse Cohen, Pele deLappe, Phil Evans, Jimmy Friell, John Olday, Charles Peattie, Donald Rooum, Laura Slobe, and Ben Yomen. This presentation will also feature a “hidden bonus track” – cartoons by a famous nineteenth century writer who was also a capable illustrator.

Kent Worcester teaches political theory at Marymount Manhattan College. He is the author, editor, or coeditor of eight books, including A Comics Studies Reader (coedited with Jeet Heer, 2009) and The Superhero Reader (coedited with Charles Hatfield and Jeet Heer, 2013). His latest book is Peter Bagge: Conversations (2015). He regularly gives public talks on New York City and Comics on behalf of the New York Council for the Humanities’ Speakers in the Humanities series.

rooum 72 dip

Cartoon by Rooum.

A special meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Monday, March 2, 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.

To celebrate Will Eisner Week, a series of international events timed around the March 6th birthday of comics innovator Will Eisner, we offer two presentations:

Will Eisner was the most successful businessman of comics’ first generation of great cartoonists. Paul Levitz discusses how Eisner’s journey between commerce and art contributed to his importance to the evolution of the field and the graphic novel, based on Levitz’s upcoming Abrams ComicArts’ book: Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel.
PAUL LEVITZ is a comic fan (The Comic Reader), editor (Batman, among many titles), writer (Legion of Super-Heroes, Worlds’ Finest, and many others including four NY Times Graphic Books Best Sellers), executive (30 years at DC, ending as President &Publisher), historian (75 Years of DC Comics: The Art Of Modern Myth-Making (Taschen, 2010)) and educator (including teaching The American Graphic Novel at Columbia). He won two consecutive annual Comic Art Fan Awards for Best Fanzine, received Comic-Con International’s Inkpot Award, the prestigious Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, and the Comics Industry Appreciation Award from ComicsPro. His Taschen book won the Eisner Award, the Eagle Award and Munich’s Peng Pris, and is being released in revised form as five volumes. Levitz also serves on the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

A presentation by Danny Fingeroth and Arie Kaplan.
Born two years apart, Orson Welles (1915-1985) and Will Eisner (1917-2005) were each giants in their fields, Welles in film, Eisner in comics. With 2015 marking Welles’ centenary as well as the 75 th anniversary of the launch of Eisner’s groundbreaking series, The Spirit, we look at the similarities and differences of the two men’s bodies of work.
From the turmoil of the years leading up to World War II, Welles—already legendary as the radio voice of The Shadow, his War of the Worlds broadcast and The Cradle Will Rock Broadway landmark—blasted into the world of movies with Citizen Kane in 1941. Eisner, having helped put comics on the map with Sheena, Hawks of The Sea, and numerous other features, in 1940 launched The Spirit, which took comics to a new level of sophistication.
Like many of his generation of comics creators, Eisner was quick to credit Welles’ influence on his work—even lampooned him as “Awsome Bells” in a Spirit story—and often visually homaged Welles distinctive filmmaking style. Welles was known as a fan of comics, although his awareness of The Spirit is unknown. Still, both came out of the same crucible of high and low culture—from German Expressionist cinema to the avant-garde work of Man Ray and Salvador Dali to the stories of Guy DeMaupassant and O. Henry—as well as the turmoil of the Great Depression and a world headed inexorably toward war. And both were acknowledged as creators whose work regularly rose above craft to the level of art, who created characters and told tales that endure beyond their lifetimes. Their innovations reverberate through our popular culture to this day.
Tonight Danny Fingeroth and Arie Kaplan will compare the work of Welles and Eisner who, in different media, but with a shared obsession with telling their stories their way—innovating instead of imitating—changed everything in their given fields.
DANNY FINGEROTH was Group Editor of Marvel’s Spider-Man comics line and has written many comics, including Spider-Man, Darkhawk, and Iron Man. He is the author of the books Superman on the Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us About Ourselves and Our Society; Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero; and The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels. With Roy Thomas, Fingeroth edited The Stan Lee Universe, featuring rarities from the comics legend’s career, and with Mike Manley edited How to Create Comics from Script to Print. Fingeroth has spoken about comics at The Smithsonian Institution, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Columbia University, and has written about them for publications including The Los Angeles Times and The Baltimore Sun. He was Sr. VP of Education at The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA), and has taught comics writing and history there and at The New School, NYU, and the MiMaster Art Institute in Milan. Fingeroth is a programming consultant to Wizard World comics conventions, inventing, organizing and moderating a diverse array of panels at their nationwide shows. Find out more at
ARIE KAPLAN has written comic book stories and graphic novels for DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, MAD Magazine, IDW, Bongo Comics, Penguin Young Readers Group, Capstone, and other publishers.
He is the author of the award-winning nonfiction book From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books (Jewish Publication Society, 2008). His latest nonfiction book is Saturday Night Live: Shaping TV Comedy and American Culture (Lerner Publishing Group, 2014).
Arie’s also a screenwriter for television, videogames, and transmedia. His television writing credits include TruTV Presents: World’s Dumbest…, the PBS Kids hit Cyberchase, and MTV’s TRL.
Find out more on his website,



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