Please note:  Two meetings of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held this week!

The 116th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 7 pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Frank Santoro on “Comics as Music: borrowing compositional strategies from music and applying them to comics.” Frank Santoro will present works from various cartoonists to illustrate how comic book layouts can be thought of in musical terms.
Frank Santoro (b.1972) is the author of Storeyville, Pompeii, and numerous other comic books (all published by PictureBox) and is also a columnist for The Comics Journal. He co-founded the comics criticism magazine ComicsComics with Dan Nadel and Timothy Hodler. He has also created a correspondence course for comic book makers and has taught drawing at Parsons School of Design. Santoro maintains and edits the Comics Workbook tumblr blog as a showcase for his students as well as new and under-appreciated comics work. His comics have been published in Kramers Ergot, Mome, and The Ganzfeld. He has exhibited at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, The Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, and at The Fumetto Festival in Switzerland. He lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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The 115th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 7 pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Presentations by Archie Rand and Alexander Rothman on Poetry Comics

1. Archie Rand on his Psalm 68 project and other poetry-image works.
Artist Archie Rand was born in Brooklyn and studied in New York City. He received a B.A. in cinegraphics from the Pratt Institute in 1970, later studying at the Art Students League of New York under Larry Poons. In 1966, he had his first solo show at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York, launching a career of over 80 solo exhibitions and 200 group exhibitions thus far in the U.S. and abroad.
A frequent collaborator with artists and poets, Rand has worked as draughtsman with Robert Creeley and John Yau exploring such subjects as jazz, the Bible, and Jewish history. In 1974, he completed murals for the 13,000 square foot interior of B’nai Yosef Synagogue in Brooklyn, a monumental three-year project. Rand has administered and taught at numerous graduate art programs and appeared in major art journals and newspapers for over three decades. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, Rand is Presidential Professor of Art at Brooklyn College.

psalm 68-20Archie Rand from Psalm 68 project

2. Alexander Rothman on Close Reading Comics Poetry.
If a cartoonist sets out to make “comics poetry,” what tools are available to her? How is her work likely to relate to other kinds of comics, or to poetry for that matter? Through close readings, this talk will explore how creators have answered these questions over the last fifty years, with an emphasis on the present day. Specifically, we’ll look at work by Joe Brainard and the New York School Poets, Warren Craghead, John Hankiewicz, and Marion Fayolle.
Alexander Rothman is a cartoonist and poet whose work has appeared in venues including The Indiana Review, Drunken Boat, The Brooklyn Rail, and š! He is publisher and co-editor-in-chief of Ink Brick, a micro-press dedicated to comics poetry, and he cohosts Comics for Grownups, a review podcast available on iTunes. See more of his work at


The image is by Marion Fayolle

The 114th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 7 pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Aidan Koch will discuss the prevalence and participation of comics and comics format in contemporary art.

Aidan Koch is an artist working in New York City. She has released several graphic novels including Xeric Award winner The Blonde Woman, and Impressions. Her sculpture and installation work has been exhibited in Antwerp, Paris, Austin, and Brooklyn.


The 113th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 7 pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public. Please note 7 pm starting time.

Jonah Kinigstein will discuss his recent book called The Emperor’s New Clothes.
Jonah Kinigstein was born in Coney Island in 1923. Growing up in Coney Island was, well, like growing up in an amusement park. “As a kid, I was glued to everything that took place ―what they call ‘on the bowery.’ It was an area that had all these old amusement park things ― carousels, horses. Ghost houses where you go up with your girlfriend, twists and turns, and then you come out at the other end. And they had all kinds of combinations like that, and then the games that you play. That always remained… you couldn’t get rid of it in your head as a kid. I mean, it was stuck in there.”
His parents were Russian-Polish immigrants (“One day it was Polish, and the next day it was Russia. They kept fighting over it). His father, Jacob, was a house painter during the winter and made women’s hats in the summer; his mother, Yeta, was a housewife. He had two brothers, Lewis and Isadora, five and ten years older than him respectively.
His family moved to Bronx when he was 11 or 12, which is when he started drawing. Like Harvey Kurtzman, like Will Elder, he started drawing on the street in chalk to entertain his friends and enhance his social relationships. By the time he was attending James Monroe High School, he knew he wanted to be an artist and make a living at it. He credits an art teacher in high school, Max Wilkes, as an inspiration. “He was an academic teacher and he could teach us anatomy, and that was important at the time, very important. He taught us how to set up a whole figure. He corrected the work. We used to have a club after school, like there were clubs for writing, music… ours was art. We used to bring in our drawings to Max Wilkes, who looked at them, corrected them, and showed me where it was all wrong.” He discovered contemporary artists, such as Norman Rockwell, who he especially admired because his painting was narrative. He visited the Metropolitan Museum ― “when I really saw the old masters, it blew my mind, of course.”
Upon graduating high school, he went to Cooper Union ―which he could afford because it is New York City’s free college that requires only that the aspiring student pass a test, which Kinigstein did― for a year where he studied architecture, sculpture, and painting, until he was drafted into the Army in 1942. After basic training Fort Dix, he was stationed in Louisiana where he was assigned to a phototopography unit, which enhanced aerial photos of enemy territory. He continued the same work in Saipan and Tinian ― and where he would also occasionally paint landscapes for himself and listen to bombs exploding not far from his base.
He was discharged in 1945, moved back home with his parents, spent another year at Cooper Union, and then started pounding the payment and knocking on doors looking for freelance illustration jobs.  Although he managed to do some LP covers and book covers, he wasn’t particularly successful. “I wasn’t good enough . . . there were guys who were better than me. There were guys who had experience. I had none.”
In 1948, an old Army buddy write him from Paris and encouraged him to move there; he told Kinigstein that the Boulevard Saint-Germain would be his 5th Avenue. “So I decided that’s where I’m gonna go. And I tell you, it wasn’t easy to get myself over there on a boat. I had to get it all together. I went to work fro a place that was selling fish. And for a whole month I was there shucking clams until I got enough money.”
He arrived in ’48 and started attending an art school, the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere where he studied with Ossip Zadkine. He lived a Spartan existence on his monthly $75.00 stipend courtesy of the G.I. Bill, and found the art instruction generally less valuable than the social context ― conversing with other aspiring artists, exchanging ideas, exhibiting his work, seeing established artists, and generally soaking up a fertile creative environment. “Brancusi was living next door [to me]. He gave a party and came out, but he was half-crazy already, walking around with a candle on at night and cussing.”
He was part of exhibitions at the Salon D’Automn, Salon De Mai, and the Salon De Moin De Trente Ans, and had one man shows in the Galerie Breteau and Les Impression D’Art.
But, the money ran out, and he couldn’t make a living in Paris, so he returned to New York in 1954. A year later, he went to Rome on a Fulbright Scholarship, which gave him $75 a month to live on, and studied at the Schola Di Belles Artes for a year.
He again returned to the U.S. and exhibited his paintings at the Downtown Gallery in Manhattan for a year or so, and continued to exhibit his work at the Alan Gallery, an adjunct to the Downtown Gallery.
Like so many painters, he was unable to make a living solely from painting, so he worked in the commercial art world and did freelance illustration and design. One of his most significant clients was the Austen Display Company, where he designed and constructed paper and wood window display backgrounds for wellknp0wjn department stores such as Bloomingdales and Bonwit Teller. He created the first designer shopping bag for Bloomingdales, which depicted various Tarot cards.
He then found himself the head of the Research and Development division of Design 375, a point-of-purchase advertising firm exclusively devoted to the Seagrams Whiskey Company. Government regulations ended his position there when it became illegal to advertise whiskey in store windows or on counters.
He next port of call was a position as a Chromist with a printing company, which made lithographs for various artists. The company prided itself on making lithographs in the traditional manner by hand on zinc and aluminum plates. Waterciolor or oil paintings had to be deconstructed and broken down for individual color printing. At times as many as 10 different plates needed to be produced for the completion of a lithographic print of a single painting.
Throughout this time, Kinigstein’s commitment to his own art never wavered, and he continued to paint and occasionally exhibit. In an uncharacteristic understatement, he wrote, “Not happy in the direction the “Art” world was going and who was goading it on I started to make caricatures of the guilty parties and am continuing to make them to this very day.”
Jonah Kinigstein lives in Brooklyn with his wife Eileen.  Kinigstein will be having a show at The Society of Illustrators from January 6th through February 7th, 2015.
[text by Gary Groth]

kinigstein image small

The 112th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 7 pm Wednesday, February 25, 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. Please note: Wednesday date and  7 pm starting time.

Nick Thorkelson on Herbert Marcuse and Pedagogical Comics
Nick Thorkelson will talk about his projected book-length nonfiction comic on Marcuse, the German philosopher who was a mentor to the 1960s radical movements. The talk will also survey the field of pedagogical comics, from Rius and Rifas to Gonick and Sacco, and Nick’s contributions to that field which include The Underhanded History of the USA, The Comic Strip of Neoliberalism, Economic Meltdown Funnies, and short comics about Mr. Block, Kenneth Patchen, Yiddish poets, radical Christians, and the origins of modern jazz.
The Marcuse book situates Herbert Marcuse in the world of German anti-fascist refugees (Brecht, Adorno, Fritz Lang, Walter Benjamin, etc.), their debates regarding “high” and “low” art, and their contributions to American culture, which arguably include film noir and its poor relations, Crime Does Not Pay and The Spirit.  The book will incorporate Nick’s latest comics story, “You Had to Be There,” about the German historian George Mosse who excited midwestern college students in the 1960s and 70s with his explorations of the detritus of European popular culture.

Nick Thorkelson is a former editorial cartoonist for the Boston Globe who creates comics and cartoons for groups working on industrial safety, worker rights, social welfare, peace, and the environment. For the last ten years he has worked closely with historian Paul Buhle on a series of nonfiction comics, including a 4-pager on the 50th anniversary of Herbert Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man which appears in the current issue of Jewish Currents.


A special meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 7 pm at Parsons The New School, Theresa Lang Student Center, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor. Free and open to the public. Please note new location and time.

Eddy Portnoy will revisit his 2012 presentation on “Cartoon Provocateurs: the non-existent red lines of Charlie Hebdo,” in light of this week’s deadly attack on the offices of the French satirical weekly. Also, a screening of documentary clips concerning the events surrounding the reprinting a set of 12 cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that had originally appeared in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands Posten in 2006, in addition to some of their own. Sued in 2007 for defamation of a religious community by the Great Mosque of Paris, the Union of Islamic Organizations of France and the World Muslim League, Charlie Hebdo mounted a vigorous defense and was ultimately absolved of any wrongdoing. A discussion will follow.

Eddy Portnoy teaches in the Judaic Studies program at Rutgers University and also serves as the academic advisor at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. In addition to curating exhibits, he writes and lectures on Jewish popular culture.

402px-Siyer-i_Nebi_151bMuhammad at the Ka’ba from Siyer-i Nebi (1595).  Muhammad is shown with veiled face.

Next event: January 27, 2015 — Nick Thorkelson!


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