Visiting Faculty Spring 2011

The Center for Cartoon Studies 2010-2011 fellow, David Libens is a Belgian cartoonist living with his American wife, two boys and two very old cats in White River Junction. Back in Belgium, he co-founded the publishing house L’employe du Moi in 2000. He writes and draws mostly about himself, both in French and English. Having left a full-time office job behind in Belgium, David looks forward to focusing more on his comics and his family.  During his fellowship he will draw, photocopy and distribute his weekly minicomic How Are You? If you meet him in person and ask how he is, he’ll give you a copy.

Jodie Mack is an independent animator, curator, and historian-in-training who received her MFA in film, video, and new media from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007.  Combining the formal techniques and structures of abstract/absolute animation with those of cinematic genres, her handmade films use collage and domestic objects to explore the relationship between graphic cinema and storytelling, the tension between form and meaning.  Mack’s 16mm films and music videos have screened in a variety of venues– from backyards, basements, and classrooms to Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center; Los Angeles’ Velaslavasay Panorama; New York’s School of Visual Arts Theater; (even on tour with Ok Go).

Katherine Paterson is a novelist who is best known for the children’s classic Bridge to Terabithia. Born in China, the daughter of two missionaries, her first language was Chinese. She is known for tackling adult themes including jealousy and death in her work for adolescents. Paterson is the Library of Congress’s current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a position created to encourage reading and education.

Tom Gammill is a TV writer whose credits include “Saturday Night Live,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “Seinfeld,” and “Monk.” He has been a Consulting Producer at “The Simpsons” since 1998. His syndicated comic strip “The Doozies” riffs on the clichés associated with comics and humor, and his related series of “How to Draw” videos finds him in the role of an inept but cheerful cartoonist/instructor.

The son of a Baptist minister, Howard Cruse was born in 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama. His proximity to that city’s racial turmoil during the early 1960s affected him deeply and ultimately provided the basis for his internationally acclaimed graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby. In 1979, Denis Kitchen asked if he would edit a new underground comic book series called Gay Comix. Editing and contributing to Gay Comix provided Cruse with a perfect opportunity to be totally open about his sexuality. Drawing with new honesty on his personal experiences as a gay man gave his work a heightened impulse, leading to platforms for political satire in The Village Voice and an invitation from The Advocate, the national gay weekly, to create a new gay-themed comic strip exclusively for its pages.

Joe Sacco traveled to the middle east for the first time in 1992 and came away from Israel and the occupied territories with the material that would make up his groundbreaking 2-part comic book series Palestine. An accessible, thoughtful, and moving book of Middle East political journalism achieved through the innovative use of comics, Palestine won an American Book Award. Sacco’s first major follow-up to the book was titled Safe Area Gorazde and based upon Sacco’s recent travels to the war-torn region. It received major attention from the mainstream press, such as TIME magazine, The New York Times, and NPR.

As the Marketing Coordinator for Beyond Words Publishing/Atria Books, Bernadette Baker-Baughman headed up campaigns for two New York Times best-selling titles. In 2010 Bernadette joined Victoria Sanders & Associates. Her clients include Farel Dalrymple, Faith Erin Hicks, Zack Giallongo, Matt Bors, Ryan Alexander-Tanner, Devon Devereaux, Maris Wicks, Kyle (and Chris) Bolton, Paul Guinan, and more. In graphic novels she is seeking beautifully illustrated works of nonfiction, memoir, young adult or children’s fiction, high fantasy, funny character driven stories, and graphic literature.

James Kochalka’s comics have been published internationally by almost every alternative comics publisher; he’s recorded several music CDs under the name James Kochalka Superstar (making him a favorite at college radio stations across the country); and he’s 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.

Richard Thompson is the cartoonist behind Cul de Sac, a daily comic strip syndicated by Universal Press. The strip is considered by many as the successor, equal in humor, pathos and artistry, to Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. Thompson’s illustrations have appeared in major magazines such as The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, and his Richard’s Poor Almanac series of satirical cartoons appears weekly in The Washington Post. The comic he drew in November, 2000, the week of George W. Bush’s inauguration, was a patchwork of the president-elect’s most muddled quips, arranged into a Dadaist inaugural poem, and was a national internet sensation.

Charles Kochman is the Executive Editor of Abrams ComicArts, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams. He has edited seminal collections and oversized art books from the current Golden Age of Reprints, such as Art Out of Time, Cartoon America, R. Crumb’s Heroes of Blues, Kirby: King of Comics. Kochman was also responsible for acquiring Jeff Kinney’s New York Times bestselling series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

NBM Publisher Terry Nantier lived in Paris as a teenager, where he acquired a taste for Franco-Belgian comics. He founded NBM in 1976, and has been responsible for importing many of the French-language band dessinée books available in the US. The press also publishes original American graphic novels, and was instrumental in making inroads for comics at book stores. NBM’s Flying Buttress Classics Library imprint has collected influential comics like Caniff’s Terry and the Pirates and Roy Crane’s Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy.

Secret Acres was founded by Barry Matthews and Leon Avelino. Matthews claims rural Vermont as his place of origin, and Avelino was born in the Philippines and raised on New York’s Upper West Side. They reside in Jackson Heights, New York. Secret Acres publishes story collections and original graphic novels, and sells and distributes its creators’ mini-comics and other self-published works. The Secret Acres website is host to serialized versions of some of these comics as well as critical writing on literary comics.

Tom Spurgeon is a writer and editor living in Silver City, New Mexico, and is the man behind The Comics Reporter. Tom has written about comic strips, comic books and editorial cartons for various publications since 1982. He worked for five years, from 1994 to 1999, as Managing Editor and then Executive Editor of the lauded and controversial industry trade magazine The Comics Journal. The magazine won several industry awards under his stewardship. He is a former contributing writer at The Stranger and for the late satirical web ‘zine Suck.com. As an editor, Tom helped assemble volumes in The Collected Pogo series and books such as Bob Levin’s The Pirates and the Mouse. As a writer, Tom co-wrote with Jordan Raphael the historical profile Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book and he was privileged to write for the King Features Syndicate strip Wildwood from 1999 to 2002.

Will Dennis is a Senior Editor at Vertigo/DC Comics. He has been an editor for over ten years and in that time had the good fortune to work on a wide variety of projects with some of the best creators in comics – including Joe Kubert, Jim Lee, Eduardo Risso, Enrique Breccia, Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo and many more. Projects include 100 Bullets, Joker, Y: The Last Man, DMZ, Scalped, Superman “For Tomorrow”, Batman “Broken City”, Sgt Rock “Between Hell and Hard Place”, as well as heading up the Vertigo Crime line. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Kiki and two sons, Jack and Gabriel.

In the early ’80s Peter Bagge co-published three issues of Comical Funnies (1980-81), a New York-based comic tabloid which saw the debut of Bagge’s dysfunctional suburban family, The Bradleys. Bagge broke into R. Crumb’s legendary magazine, Weirdo, and took over as managing editor of that magazine from 1983 to 1986. Bagge started his own comic book series, Neat Stuff, which evolved into a new title, Hate, which exclusively followed the foibles of the semi-autobiographical Buddy Bradley. Hate became the voice of the twenty-nothing slackers as well as being hailed by critics for its brilliant characterization in its complete chronicle of the 1990s. Hate and Buddy Bradley continue to appear in print, albeit less frequently, under the title Hate Annual. Other projects include a 2 year stint writing and drawing a weekly comic strip about Bat Boy for The Weekly World News.

Lynda Barry has worked as a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator and teacher and found they are very much alike. She is the inimitable creator behind the books One! Hundred! Demons!, The! Greatest! of! Marlys!, Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel, Naked Ladies! Naked Ladies! Naked Ladies!, and The Good Times are Killing Me. Her bestselling and acclaimed creative writing-how to-graphic novel, What It Is, won the Eisner Award for Best Reality Based Graphic Novel and R.R. Donnelly Award for highest literary achievement by a Wisconsin author. What It Is is based on “Writing the Unthinkable” which is in turn based on a tried-and-true creative writing method that is playful, powerful, and accessible to anyone with an inquisitive wish to write or remember. Lynda explores the depths of the inner and outer realms of creation and imagination, where play can be serious, monsters have purpose, and not knowing is an answer unto itself.