Comic-Con comes to Gotham this week, and as with other conventions this year the SVA community will be out in force. From October 4 through 7, at the Javits Center in New York City—arguably the comic book, publishing, media, and licensing capital of the world—fans, artists, and industry insiders will convene at New York Comic-Con (NYCC) to celebrate the craft and impact of all things comics, anime, film and TV, and more. NYCC is the East Coast’s largest pop culture convention and last year attracted over 200,000 fans, topping even the ever-popular San Diego Con, according to organizers.
SVA alumni are scheduled to take part in a wide variety of panel discussions and presentations over the course of the weekend, from talks on diversity and representation to celebrations of famed comics careers. Artist Aaron Campbell (MFA 2003 Illustration as Visual Essay) and fellow co-creators will discuss Infidel, their just-released and much-acclaimed horror comic, which suffuses the haunted house genre with the insidiousness of contemporary xenophobia. Like Campbell, Jen Bartel (BFA 2009 Illustration) works with Image Comics (her Blackbird book comes out this week from them), and will join a panel of imprint-mates to talk through their vanguard work for the publisher. Bartel will also do some of what she’s best known for in another, fan-centric panel: celebrating the many formative female characters of Star Wars. And Veronica Agarwal (BFA 2016 Cartooning) brings her background to bear in South Asian Voices: Culture, Craft, Comics; a discussion of identity, story-sharing and creating authentic representations in comics, illustration, and art.
Wonder Woman artist and SVA faculty Phil Jimenez (BFA 1991 Cartooning) will take part in two roundtables focused on LGBTQ creators and their work, taking into consideration the importance of representation and diversity in today’s climate of incendiary political backlash as well as the path toward a more inclusive future. Molly Knox Ostertag (BFA 2014 Cartooning), author of the award-winning middle-grade graphic novel The Witch Boy, will talk about family-friendly, queer-positive graphic novels and manga for readers of all ages. She’ll also be on the The Drawesome Panel, a live-drawing event that features creators of popular kids comics demonstrating how their beloved characters come to life. Raina Telgemeier (BFA 2002 Illustration) will join Ostertag for Drawesome and earlier in the weekend Telgemeier, a bestselling and Eisner Award-winning author (Smile, Sisters), will be celebrated in a behind-the-scenes, spotlight event.
Marvel Knights legend Joe Quesada (BFA 1984 Media Arts) continues the imprint’s 20th-anniversary tour, helming a retrospective that reflects on its bold style and impact on the ever-expanding Marvel universe. Co-founders of 2D animation studio Titmouse, Chris Prynoski and Tony Cupo (BFA 1994 Animation and BFA 1994 Film & Video), are back at the con to host a screening-meet-and-greet with directors, creators, producers, and animators, with merch and prizes. And Rob Bohn and Nate Milton (BFA 2008 Animation) will be sneak-previewing their new animated series, Liverspots and Astronots, about mysteriously important old-timers in outer space, from Facebook Watch.
In addition to more structured events, the convention’s Artist Alley and in-booth signings give attendees the chance to interact on a slightly more personal level with scores of favorite artists and creators. Chair of MFA Visual Narrative Nathan Fox (MFA 2011 Illustration as Visual Essay) will be at a table with Image Comics, featuring his The Weatherman series, and Black Panther, Hellboy and Deadpool artist Shawn Martinbrough (BFA 1993 Illustration) will be on the floor signing as well. Also tabling over the weekend are Bartel, Bohn and Milton, Telgemeier, Josh Adams (BFA 2009 Cartooning), Ian Bertram (BFA 2012 Cartooning), Russ Braun (BFA 1989 Media Arts, MFA 1991 Illustration as Visual Essay), Alexa Cassaro (BFA 2013 Illustration, MFA 2015 Illustration as Visual Essay), Cryssy Cheung (BFA 2009 Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects), N. Steven Harris (BFA 1991 Media Arts), Viktor Koen (MFA 1992 Illustration as Visual Essay), Matt Loux (BFA 2001 Illustration), Ben Marra (MFA 2003 Illustration as Visual Essay), Mark Morales (BFA 1991 Media Arts), Khary D. Randolph (BFA 2000 Cartooning), and Amanda Scurti (BFA 2014 Illustration). Check out the NYCC website for a full list of events, artists, and exhibitors.