A celebration of all things comics, anime, film and TV, Comic-Con is where fans, artists and industry insiders observe and celebrate their craft and impact. New York Comic-Con (NYCC) hit Gotham earlier this month (October 4 – 7), and the SVA community was out in full force at the jam-packed Jacob K. Javits Center to soak up all the sci-fi, fantasy, horror, superhero, genre et al. goodness. The Visual Arts Press′ Linnea Taylor (BFA 2017 Design) acted as SVA’s woman on the scene, talking to fans, cosplayers, alumni, faculty, and more for the video above.
What is Comic-Con like to the outsider who hasn’t attended before? “It’s basically like Nerd Christmas,” one convention-goer told our intrepid reporter. “It’s a complete pop culture explosion,” said Jessica Hull, associate director of SVA Graduate Admissions and a Comic-Con veteran who’s been going to the event for nearly 10 years. (A cosplay aficionado, she attended in full get-up.)
Taylor also had a chance to talk with one of comics′ rising stars, Jen Bartel (BFA 2009 Illustration), whose latest work, illustration for the neo-noir fantasy Blackbird, was just released by Image Comics. Bartel sees comics through a distinctly feminist lens—“women drawing women for the female gaze”—but she said she didn’t really know if there was a space for her within the medium at first, as it was such a boy’s club.
She came to SVA “not really knowing what illustration was—I just knew that I wanted to draw pictures,” she said. After she graduated, she was asked to illustrate children’s books, but never quite found her footing. Though she never really saw herself working in comics, she was offered a Jem and the Holograms cover assignment, and her career quickly took off from there.
“Historically, Western comics have been a male-dominated industry,” she said. “I didn’t really see a lot of women working in it. There weren’t a lot of lady artists. I didn’t really know if there was a space for me until I did my first cover and they came back to me for 25 more issues.” Since then, she’s done high-profile work for Marvel, D.C. and every other major comics publisher. “It’s been a crazy last few years.”
Taylor also stopped by to talk with SVA’s renowned Cartoon Allies—“a club for lovers of comics and cartooning” that helps students get their artwork out into the world—and with Nathan Fox (MFA 2002 Illustration as Visual Essay), an illustrator, comics artist and chair of SVA’s MFA Visual Narrative program.
Fox was there to promote his latest comic, the Total Recall-esque The Weatherman. Co-created by writer Jody LeHeup, the wild comic centers on a weatherman on Mars who is accused of carrying out the worst terrorist attack in human history. Much like the MFA program he runs, Fox said he’s a champion of narrative in any medium and far just beyond comics. “We’re representing the program and as an illustrator, the work that I do,” he said. “But we’re not here just for this medium alone, [we’re here] for what story can do.”
Dozens of SVA community members had a presence at New York Comic Con, including alumni like Black Panther, Hellboy and Deadpool artist Shawn Martinbrough (BFA 1993 Illustration), Eisner Award-winning author Raina Telgemeier (BFA 2002 Illustration), Marvel Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada (BFA 1984 Media Arts), Infidel creator Aaron Campbell (MFA 2003 Illustration as Visual Essay), Veronica Agarwal (BFA 2016 Cartooning) and many more.
Check out our SVA and New York Comic Con 2018 video above.