Endgame: The Class of 2014′s Thesis Presentations

An integral part of The Center for Cartoon Studies’ curriculum is the Thesis Project–an all-out marathon taking the entirety of the second year of classes. The goal of this project is to force CCS students to push themselves to their limits to create a work or works that exhibit their growth as cartoonists. At the end of the first semester, the students are asked to put aside their drawing tools, close their laptops, swallow their stagefright, and put together a presentation to exhibit their progress to the world. What follows are images and brief descriptions from several of the class of 2014′s presentations.


Allison Bannister
My thesis project, Wit’s End, is an all-ages fantasy comic.
Issue one follows Scribbulous on his first day as Royal Scribe, as he discovers a potential plot against the throne, the Princess vanishes, and his tour guide keeps teleporting.
The second issue focuses on the King’s absence, as the rest of the royal family and staff step up to put together an event he would normally host, suffering a few mishaps (magical and otherwise) along the way.
The third issue introduces Theodorus’s squire as she arrives at the palace, and concerns unruly magic, a mid-tournament accident, and an unlikely alliance. basictelepathy.com



Ben Evans
All the lake monsters, missing links, vengeful ghosts, and fearsome critters of American folklore and urban legend are fighting for supremacy, threatening to destroy the country in the process. While a rag-tag group of scientists attempts to stop the destruction, all anyone else can think about is whether the monster from their hometown will be victorious.
Riots will be started, commemorative t-shirts will be sold, giant robots will be built, and maybe, just maybe, America will be saved. benkevans.tumblr.com


fernandez poster

Juan Fernandez
Inspired by strip cartoonists Charles Schulz, Tove Jansson and George Herriman and by  contemporary strip cartoonists like Liniers and Pable Holmberg, Juan Fernandez has been studying the ins and outs of the daily strip and has adopted the 2×2 grid as go to format for his cartooning. Commitment to experimentation in mark making combined with a commitment to the rhythmic forms allowed by the 4 panel square.
Motivated by the belief that nothing is worth drawing until you draw it, Juan Fernandez will be making a 4 panel strip everyday until May 2014. Among the 200+ comics that will be made over the course of the thesis year will be be adventure comics, tone poems and gag strips.
4 Panels a day. 1 book a month. 7 books by May. crinkledcomics.com


Ben Gowen
Ghoulish Gangs. Sinister Specters. Customers.
It’s the same thing day in and day out for your average rent-a-wizard.
It’s like tech support with monsters but without the glamorous headsets.
They aren’t making their parents proud, but at least they’re making $7.85 an hour.

Eleri Harris
From the freshwater springs of Florida to the snow peaked mountains of New Hampshire, Eleri Mai Harris uses her background as a political reporter to construct non-fiction narrative journalism comics with on-site interviews, reference photographs and research.
Harris’s fiction comics explore dreams, memories and a childhood by the Tasman Sea in watercolors and ink.
Her thesis, Adam’s Ale, will be an anthology of of comics journalism and fiction pieces connected by a theme of water.
Note: The above image is an instagram of Harris’ screenprinted, letterpressed posters, rather than a low-rez version of the digital file as with the other posters–Ed.




Luke Healy
Bartlett/Blackjack/Bartleby is a work of historical fiction. It tells three interconnected stories about, isolation, trust, and coming to terms with your mistakes.
In this book, the true stories of Arctic castaways Robert Bartlett and Ada Blackjack are told alongside the fictional story of a disgraced college professor, Sullivan Bartleby. Though the different threads take place in 1913, 1926 and 2013 respectively, all three connect in unexpected ways. These connections are revealed throughout the course of the book to paint a larger picture of both a strange time in history, and the universality of human experience. lukewhealy.com


Steven Krall
When a group of friends awaken to extraordinary powers, they must embark on a dangerous journey that will reveal the truth to their existence. A corrupt corporation seeks to exploit our heroes newfound powers for their sinister purposes. Can these friends unravel their mystery before hey become aberrations?
Our story continues in Book II: Liberation, as more heroes awaken to their hidden powers. In Philadelphia, six friends attend a festival only to become victims of a terrorist bombing fueled by extreme hatred. Can our heroes use their new gifts to liberate their friends and the world from this heinous evil?



Tom O’Brien
Rita is a 96 page comic with a two toned coloring system and colored line art.  It tells the story of two girls in their senior year of college as they deal with love, loss and the realization that they can’t be college students forever.
Stories of My Father explores the life of Thom O’Brien (father of the author) and his family through short personal stories about some of the more absurd times in their lives.

Will Payne
Maze of Pain is an anthology of short comics about gladiator tapeworms, superhuman yoga teachers, warlord children, romance at chess camp,  fictional languages, ominous dreams, and other weirdness. Comics by Will Payne, advised by KC Green.


Simon Reinhardt
A year’s worth of short form comics, many of them about ghosts.
Works published as minicomics througjout the year to be be collected in a bound volume in May.
Stylistically diverse comics that acheive coherence through consistent thematic including riches, distance, and theft.


A.D. Shrewsbury
Mono is a 48-page collection of black & white comics featuring four characters.
The theme binding each comic is how the comics utilize perspective to explore the way the characters perceive and inhabit their unique worlds and how we as viewers engage with their narratives.

The seniors will have until mid-May to complete their projects, bind their books, and turn in multiple copies of their thesis project for review by a committee of CCS Faculty.


About Carl Antonowicz

Carl Antonowicz graduated from the Center for Cartoon Studies in 2011 and is currently hard at work on his second graphic novel "The Black Dog and the Hole at the Heart of the World." He tweets incessantly (@cantocomix), tumbls (tumblrs?) semi-regularly (http://thulsadude.tumblr.com), and blogs rarely (http://cantocomics.wordpress.com).
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