2017 Classic Comics Project

Collection of 2017 Classic Comics

The students in their first year at The Center for Cartoon Studies always come up with some impressive work. Two of the larger project are separated by a mere month off for winter break. Before true winter starts, they are tasked with creating anthologies. They are assigned groups and then must decide on a theme. Over only three or so weeks, they must write and draw their comics, then the group must print and bind copies for everyone in their class, the teachers, and the library. This year, there were three groups.


The Adventure Gang, No. 69, was created by Whiteley Foster, Andi, Santagata, Mary Shyne, and Erich Wunderlich, and Sophie Yanow was the fearsome leader.

Whiteley's Butter Soap ad

Whiteley’s Butter Soap ad was a shining star and could have been ripped straight from the pages of the old comics.


Dunk Whitman’s Maxwell Mouse, No. 104, was created by Rachel Ford, Alex Foller, Jess Jonhnson, and Trevor Richardson. Stephen R. Bissette was their guiding force.


The Dopplegang, No. 32, was created by Dan Nott, Erienne McCray, Daryl Seitchik, and Rainer Kannenstine. Luke Howard was their herding duck.






Photos courtesy Abe Olson.

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2016 Anthology Project

Cover of the Lighter anthology from the 2018 class project

When the students in their first year at The Center for Cartoon Studies got back from a (hopefully) nice little vacation, they were assigned one of the most difficult assignments in the whole program, the classic comic. Each year, the students are assigned a new theme, and this year they got Golden Age animal funnies. In two weeks, they must use the old-school workflow where everyone works together to make a single cohesive comic book to create their own 28-page floppy.


Lighter anthology cover

Lighter was created by Mary Shyne, Whiteley Foster, Sophie Hughes, and Daryl Seitchik.






On Edge

On Edge anthology cover

On Edge was created by Rachel Ford, Dan Nott, Trevor Richardson, and Erich Wunderlich.





As Above, So Below

As Above, So Below anthology cover

As Above, So Below was created by Andi Santagata, Rainer Kannenstine, Erienne McCray, Alex Foller, and Jess Johnson.





Photos courtesy Abe Olson.

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Awesome ‘Possum

Close-up of the cover of Awesome 'Possum 3

Awesome ‘Possum is a series of natural science comic anthology run by Angela Boyle (that’s me, FYI). In January, the third volume, bigger and better than ever, went up for sale. It clocks in with a whopping 45 creators and 398 pages, including an index and bibliographies.

Close-up of the cover of Awesome 'Possum 3 saying "Edited by Angela Boyle."

Angela has run the anthology since 2014 after graduating from a natural science illustration certificate program at the University of Washington. She currently works as a production assistant at Chelsea Green Publishing, just down the street from the main CCS buildings.

Three volumes of Awesome 'Possum

Three volumes of Awesome ‘Possum

All volumes of Awesome ‘Possum are available for sale on Angela’s store and through Ingram if you would like to ask a larger book store to carry them. Volumes 1 and 2 are available through Comixology; volume 3 should be available soon.

Library reading time

Library reading time

The anthology includes bunches of talented people, including many CCS alums.

  • William Scavone is the life drawing teacher at CCS. His first comic ever, “Apis meliffera and Varroa destructor,” is in volume 3 and it is down-right fantastic.

William Scavone comic in Awesome 'Possum 3

  • Moss Bastille, graduating this spring, reviewed this history of ergot in “Holy Fire.” His beautiful and stylish art style takes the reader through the story of how ergot has worked itself into human history.
  • Hedj, also graduating this spring, wrote two comics! In “Don’t Call It a Comeback,” they introduced us to the coelacanth—an amazing evolutionary throwback that was presumed extinct—and the intelligent and hardworking woman who made the discovery. Hedj also shows us in “Living Large” that the largest being on Earth is right under our feet.
  • Ross Wood Studlar, who illustrated the king fisher comic written by Stephen R. Bissette in the previous volume, introduced us to his toad and showed us the resurrection powers of various plants and animals.
  • Catherine Garbarino, another student graduating this spring, awed us with the hunting prowess of the great white sharks in “Apex.”
  • In “Terrors of the Deap Sea,” Shashwat Mishra scared us with the most interesting creatures found in the depths of the ocean.

Angler fish from Shashwat Mishra's comic

  • Tom O’Brien explored the unique powers of flight in bats, showcasing their evolutionary adaptations and explaining why the crazy things hang upside down. And can remain there even after they are dead.
  • Kelly Swann, one of the driving forces behind the vet project, held our hands through the relationships and childhood of seahorses in “Underwater Tails.”
  • Salakjit introduced us to an elephant matriach who took us on a tour of her family, showing us how they communicate and how much they love each other.
  • Allison Bannister looked back through time in “Xiphactinus” to show us the Fish-in-a-Fish fossil from her hometown. We get to see how the fossil was created eons ago, then more recently discovered and transported.
  • Bridget Comeau, gnomes extraordinare, brings it to the real world with a discussion of degus, a newly popular pet rodent.

Title page of Bridget Comeau's comic

  • Angela Boyle breaks the myths of the idiotic dodo bird in “Extinction Superstar” and shows how evolution lead to a docile, happy island bird. With CCS lab manager Abe Olson, also her partner, they discussed monotremes, an old order of animals with only five species: four echidnas and the platypus.

Close-up of Angela Boyle's comic

  • In “Moose Mortality,” Stephanie Zuppo, CCS’s resident moose expert, explained the problems that the moose population is facing in New England.
  • Iris Yan looks into the strange (to humans) mating behaviors of spiders, including the giving of gifts, in “How I Met Your Father.”

Close-up of Awesome 'Possum 3 cover

Cover inks were done by Stephen R. Bissette, and Angela colored it and laid out the design.

Awesome 'Possum 3 cover

Photos courtesy Abe Olson.


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Geis by Alexis Deacon


Geis is the first in a thrilling trilogy by Alexis Deacon. Geis, pronounced “gesh,” is a Gaelic word for an idiosyncratic taboo, either an obligation or a prohibition, similar to being under a vow or spell. And in some cases, whether or not you have a choice.


A matriarch is dying. A group of fifty unfortunates, those with power and leadership and strength, have been chosen to potentially succeed their dying ruler. But they don’t know they are unfortunate. Yet. And one young, unassuming woman stands out.


Published by NoBrow, even the physical book is gorgeous. Classic, three-piece case binding harkens to the historic setting. Alexis’s art is soft—watercolor and pencil—evoking the beautiful fantasy themes. I am sure any one who reads the first will instantly be eagerly awaiting the next volume .


Available in the library now!


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“What is Obscenity?”


A recent addition to the Schulz library, in the deluge of Slate Prize books, is What Is Obscenity?: The Story of a Good-For-Nothing Artist and Her Pussy by Rokudenashiko. This is a ridiculously timely comic by a Japanese artist who was arrested and prosecuted for art made from molds of her vulva, her manko art. She was (and is) using her cute artistic take to address a serious issue—it boils down to sexism. Even though the events take place in Japan, we can all see the same issues all over the world.


The story is told in first person using classic manga-style story telling, reminding me on occasion of the more emotional moments in Full Metal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa.  But Rokudenashiko also includes, between chapters, essays and photos explaining some of the more nuanced details of the story that a standard American audience might not know. Like what is Mammy?


Rokudenashiko uses the same method to fight for what she believes is good and right in her comics as she does with her manko art. The story is sweet and enraging and sad. The art is adorable. The story is clear. Rokudenashiko is fighting the best way a cartoonist knows how, through comics.

Librarian Jarad Greene taking a quick peruse

Librarian Jarad Greene (’17) taking a quick peruse

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Senior Presentations: Class of 2017


Each year, the senior class gives presentations on their thesis projects at the end of the first semester. The class of 2016 presented theirs in December.


Hedj is creating a comic about a Sullivan, a young frog whose magical powers go unrecognized by society, called All Frogs Are Witches. Hedj is also working on autobio journal comics and is being advised by Melanie Gillman, creator of As the Crow Flies.


Catherine Garbarino is working on the story of a female wrestler, Eva, in By Any Means. This is the start of a much larger work. Her thesis adviser, very appropriately, is Box Brown, creator of the graphic novel biography Andre the Giant: Life and Legend and found of Retrofit Comics.


Steve Thueson is creating a punk, vegan, quest-based world that is full of high-jinks and action, Quest Mania. His thesis adviser is time-management extraordinaire Alec Longstreth, creator of Phase 7 and Basewood.


Sandra Bartholomew is documenting her final year at CCS in autobio comics as well as other projects. Her thesis adviser is also Alec Longstreth.


Robyn Smith is working on some auto-bio comics in The Things I’ve Lost. She is being advised by K. L. Ricks.


Moss Bastille is working on a fictional mystic travelogue, The Obscure Road, and a monthly zine, Glass Eye. His adviser is Max de Radigues, creator of Moose.


Laura Martin is working on a fantasy graphic novel about family, The Scarlet Thread, and is being advised by Jake Wyatt, creator of the web comic Necropolis.


Jarad Greene‘s comic, Scullion, is an action-adventure comedy of errors. As a young adult book, his adviser is appropriately Dave Roman.


Jacob Bussiere is working on two projects. Bubblegum is “a series of different comics but by one person.” Nimrod is a horror story about campers. His adviser is Josh Simmons, creator of Black River.

Photos courtesy of Abe Olson.

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Visiting Artist: Jeremy Sorese

Jeremy's name board as drawn by Luke Howard.

Jeremy’s name board as drawn by Luke Howard.

Jeremy Sorese is a cartoonist currently based out of Brooklyn, NYC, graduated with a BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2010.

Jeremy giving his talk.

Jeremy giving his talk.

Jeremy was accepted to the La Maison des Auteurs, a comics-specific residency program in Angouleme, France, where he lived and worked from 2012-2013. He greatly enjoyed the experience.

Jeremy discusses his hands.

Jeremy discusses his hands.

His first book, Curveball, published with Nobrow, came out in 2015 and was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.  In his comics, he tries to focus on stories at the micro-level of life because that is what makes the characters’ experiences real and relateable.

Jeremy in discussion with Jess Johnson ('18)

Jeremy in discussion with Jess Johnson (’18)

He is also really interested in background characters because in just a scene or two, a character can come alive and imply an entire life, which makes the whole world have a depth and reality it wouldn’t otherwise have.


Jeremy in discussion with Erienne McCray (’18), Kazimir Iskander (’16), Rainer Kannenstine (’18), and Ben Wright-Heuman (’16).

His favorite character in Star Wars is C3P0, who he thinks should have his own movie.

Robyn Smith ('17), Jarad Greene ('17), and Moss Bastille ('17) study Jeremy's work closely

Robyn Smith (’17), Jarad Greene (’17), and Moss Bastille (’17) study Jeremy’s work closely

Jeremy also showed some movie clips that exemplify his take on storytelling. Specifically, he examined a scene from Jupiter Ascending where the queen is interacting with bureaucrats who are just shoving her around. This interaction enhances her humanity. He is even more intrigued by her robot assistant, who he would love to see a whole movie about.  This one robot rolled off the assembly line with millions of other robots with the same face. How does this one robot have a different life from all those others?

We'll see you again soon, Jeremy?

We’ll see you again soon, Jeremy?

Photos courtesy of Abe Olson.

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Alumni Spotlight: Josh Kramer

Josh Kramer ’11 is a cartoonist and reporter. He lives in Washington, DC, but is currently a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. He runs The Cartoon Picayune, a nonfiction comics anthology; and The CoJo List, a newsletter of nonfiction comics. He most recently published “Nuclear Neighbors” at Hakai Magazine.

Josh says, “I want to mention that along my CoJo List co-creator Em DeMarco, I’ll be teaching a week-long comics journalism summer course at The Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) from July 24-28. It’s the first one ever, and it should be really hands-on and built around real skills and techniques. Please join us!”


Who was your thesis advisor and why did you pick them?
My thesis advisor was Josh Neufeld, who makes awesome nonfiction comics and teaches comics in New York City including at School of Visual Arts.

If you could choose any cartoonists living or dead as your thesis advisor, who would you have picked and why?
I really think it’s important to pick a thesis advisor who has some insight into the kinds of things you want to do and also is someone you can get along with well. So honestly I’m really glad I picked Josh, even though we still get a lot of “too many Josh’s” jokes. He’s also a big part of why I made it into the Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan, which is one of the best journalism fellowships in the world and just impossibly awesome.

What’s your favorite thing to draw? 
I love drawing buildings and structures. Give me a ruler or straight-edge and I’m happy.

Josh's art

Josh’s art

How did you come up with the idea for The CoJo List? Why do you think it is important?
I knew that there were a lot of amazing nonfiction and journalistic comics being drawn and published online, and figured that an email newsletter would be the perfect medium to share them. I teamed up with Em DeMarco, a great cartoonist in her own right, and started sending them out. We’re on hiatus until my fellowship’s done, but if you care about the future of comics and journalism or just want to a learn a little more about the world, I really encourage you to sign up here. Also, submit your work!

Why did you decide to start the annual journalism anthology The Cartoon Picayune?
The Cartoon Picayune is my comicbook that I self-publish yearly. It’s anthology of nonfiction comics that I edit, and it actually grew out of my thesis at CCS!

What’s your editing process with the comics in The Cartoon Picayune?
Often, cartoonists write scripts and then we work on them together to make them as strong and correct as possible. After all the drawing is done, I have friends/peers/family who help me copy-edit and fact-check. For cartoonists who have only worked in fiction before, it can be a bit of an adjustment, but I think most people enjoy the process and are very proud of the end result.

Josh's art of the Half Smoked Benedict at Ten 01

Josh’s art of the Half Smoked Benedict at Ten 01

What are you focusing on during your time as a Knight-Wallace fellow?
I’m studying the best practices and ethics of comics journalism. We’re about a decade into this most recent wave of nonfiction comics, and I want to take a closer look at visual authenticity and how we as cartoonists can function as documentarians and journalists.

What has been your favorite experience so far as a Knight-Wallace fellow?
This Fellowship is a dream: I’m paid to hangout with amazing journalists, take classes at one of the best public universities (Go Blue!), and go on amazing international trips. We just back from South Korea, and it was mind-bending. It’s a culture with deep paper-craft and design traditions and there was a lot to see.

What’s your favorite comic and why?
So hard to pick! Safe Area Goražde, by Joe Sacco, is probably the most meaningful to me. It really got me started on the path of becoming a cartoonist and visual journalist.

Josh's favorite book, by Joe Sacco

Josh’s favorite book, by Joe Sacco

What is your favorite cheese and why?
Again, too many excellent choices. But I want to remind the CCS community that some of the best cheese in the country is made in Vermont. It’s a small state, and visits to Jasper Hill Farms, Von Trapp Farmstead, or Vermont Creamery are fascinating and delicious. I love Winnimere, aged at Jasper. Check out the Vermont Cheese Trail!

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School Discussion: Political Comics

Jeff Danzinger and David Macaulay came to gather all the students in a group discussion of what journalism is in comics.

Whole class notes during a serious discussion

Whole-class notes during a serious discussion

Jeff Danzinger has won the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. His most recent book, The Conscience of a Cartoonist, is a collection of his political cartoons following the 9/11 attack, using satire to scold and guide.

A visitor explains his take.

Jeff Danzinger explains his take.

David Macaulay is an illustrator and writer, often explaining architecture, design, and engineering. In 1991, he won the Caldecott Medal for Black and White (1990), four separate stories told at the same time across spreads; and in 2006, he received the MacArthur Fellows Program award.

Sandra Bartholomew ('17) and Michelle Ollie listen to a visitor

Sandra Bartholomew (’17) and Michelle Ollie listen to David Macauly

They discussed how it’s important to not be partisan, what makes a political cartoon work or not, how simplicity is the key. Sometimes you can convey a location or part of the world with just a store front or a specific building. The students were encouraged to get involved with their questions and opinions, leading to a lively discussion.

Moss Bastille busy taking notes

Moss Bastille (’17) busy taking notes

Sandra Bartholomew's mad note-taking skillz

Sandra Bartholomew’s mad note-taking skillz

Discussion doesn't stop just because class does. Sophie Yanow, Darryl and Mary continue the conversation.

Discussion doesn’t stop just because class does. Sophie Yanow, Darryl and Mary continue the conversation.

Liniers, James Sturm, and Sophie Yanow eagerly listening.

Liniers, James Sturm, and Sophie Yanow eagerly listening.

Caleb Brown taking notes for everyone.

Caleb Brown taking notes for everyone.

Photos courtesy Abe Olson.

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Announcing The Fifth Annual Cartoonist Studio Prize!


Submissions in both categories must be received by Jan. 31 2017.

Each year the Cartoonist Studio Prize will be awarded to work that exemplifies excellence in cartooning. The creators of two exceptional comics will be awarded $1000 each. Winners will be selected by Slate’s Jacob Brogan, the faculty and students of The Center for Cartoon Studies, and this year’s guest judge, Karen Green of the Columbia University Library.

The two award categories for the Cartoonist Studio Prize are Print Comic of the Year and Web Comic of the Year. Finalists for each category will be announced in early March. The two winning comics will be announced in early April.

Eligible print comics must be written in (or translated into) English and published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of 2016.

For details, visit: cartoonstudies.org/studioprize


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