Visiting Faculty Fall 2009

Alison Bechdel, author of the self-syndicated comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For, has become a countercultural institution. Ten book-length collections of the strip have been published. Bechdel has contributed work for many publications including Ms., Slate, The Stranger, Out, and The Advocate. In 2006, Houghton Mifflin published her New York Times Best Seller Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Several publications included Fun Home in their best books of 2006, including The New York Times, The Times of London, New York Magazine and Publishers Weekly. Her work is widely anthologized and her books have been translated into French, Spanish, German, and, strangely, Finnish.

Tom De Haven is the author of several novels, including Derby Dugan’s Depression Funnies (winner of the 1997 American Book Award) and Funny Papers. His eighth novel, It’s Superman! was published by Chronicle Books is 2005.  De Haven is a frequent contributor to Entertainment Weekly and The New York Times.  He also teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University and is a licensed private investigator. He lives in Midlothian, Virginia.

Meredith Gran is a cartoonist and animator from New York. In addition to her work on Octopus Pie, she has occasionally worked in TV animation, and is the founder of Webcomics Weekend, the first major convention devoted to webcomics.

James Kochalka’s comics have been published internationally by almost every alternative comics publisher; he has recorded several music CDs under the name James Kochalka Superstar (making him a favorite at college radio stations across the country); and he has developed animated cartoons for Nickelodeon. Best known for his graphic novel, Monkey vs Robot, and his critically acclaimed Sketchbook Diaries, Kochalka currently lives in Burlington, Vermont.

David Macaulay is the author of many books, including the architectural series, Cathedral, Pyramid, Castle, and Mosque. His celebrated book, The Way Things Work, not only shows the reader how things are made, but conveys complex technical information as to how and why they function. He has also produced many picture books, including Black and White.  Macaulay has earned a host of awards including the Caldecott Medal and Honor Awards, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, an American Institute of Architects Medal and the Washington Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award. In 2006 he was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, given “to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations.”

Anne Sibley O’Brien is a children’s book creator who has illustrated twenty-five picture books, including Jamaica’s Find and five other Jamaica books by Juanita Havill and Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella. She has collaborated with Margy Burns Knight on five books: Talking Walls, Who Belongs Here? An American Story, Welcoming Babies and Talking Walls: The Stories Continue, and Africa Is Not A Country. In 1997 they received the National Education Association Author-Illustrator Human & Civil Rights Award for their body of work.  O’Brien has also illustrated a number of her own books, including two retellings of Korean tales, The Princess and the Beggar, and The Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea, a picture book in graphic novel form.

John Porcellino was born in Chicago, in 1968, and has been writing, drawing, and publishing minicomics, comics, and graphic novels for over twenty-five years. His celebrated self-published series King-Cat Comics, begun in 1989, has inspired a generation of cartoonists. Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man, a collection of King-Cat stories about Porcellino’s experiences as a pest control worker, won an Ignatz Award in 2005, and Perfect Example, first published in 2000, chronicles his struggles with depression as a teenager. King-Cat Classix, published in 2007, is a comprehensive overview of the zine’s first fifty issues, and his most recent book, Thoreau at Walden, is a poetic expression of the great philosopher’s experience and ideals.  According to cartoonist Chris Ware, “John Porcellino’s comics distill, in just a few lines and words, the feeling of simply being alive.”

The editors of The Comics Journal selected Seth’s work as one of the 100 best comics of the 20th century.  His novels, which have been translated into 8 languages, include It’s a Good Life if You Don’t Weaken, Wimbledon Green, Clyde Fans Book One and the illustrated memoir of his father, Bannock, Beans and Black Tea.  The first volume of Seth’s sketchbooks has appeared under the title Vernacular Drawings and another will present itself when time permits.  He is also the designer of the best-selling Complete Peanuts by Charles Schulz.  In 2007, Seth serialized the story George Sprott in the New York Times Magazine in 25 installments, which was expanded and published as a stand-alone book in 2009.

Dash Shaw is the cartoonist of Bottomless Belly Button (Fantagraphics Books) and BodyWorld, (serialized online at www.dashshaw.com, to be published in book form next year by Pantheon Books). He is also a regular contributor to Mome, the Fantagraphics quarterly anthology. Besides making comics, he also dabbles in animation and painting. He was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1983; grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

John Stadler is the author of almost 30 children’s books, among them Hooray for Snail, The Ballad of Wilbur and the Moose, Big and Little, and Cat at Bat. Many of his titles have been selected as an ALA Editor’s Choice, a Children’s Choice, and by Reading Rainbow. His books have also been featured in The New York Times Best Books for Children.

Kriota Willberg teaches anatomy in the dance department of Marymount Manhattan College, pathology and massage at the Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences, has taught at Bard College and NYU, and teaches anatomy and injury prevention classes in New York and internationally. She has studied personal training and exercise, and is a licensed massage therapist. With encouragement from her husband, cartoonist R. Sikoryak, she has also become an anatomical illustration hobbyist.