MSU Comics Forum Where fans, scholars and creators meet

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From Wonder Woman and The Flash to Storm and The Hulk, characters within the pages of comic books have delighted readers for generations. Since they first became popular in the U.S. during the 1930s, comic books have offered their millions of readers innovative stories, beautiful artworks and a sense of escapism. Perhaps the greatest way to celebrate your love for comic books here on campus is by attending the MSU Comics Forum: a multiday event that invites fans, scholars and creators to discuss and enjoy the
comic artform.

The Comics Forum will feature two keynote speakers, one by a prominent creator and one by a scholar in the comics industry. The 2018 Creator Keynote Speaker is Lucy Knisley, an artist whose personal comics and travelogues are critically acclaimed and award-winning. The 2018 Scholar Keynote Speaker is Diana Schutz, a professor and inductee of the Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame, who has worked with comics for almost 40 years. The talks given by these incredible women will surely inspire new creators and excite avid fans.

Forum attendees will also have a private tour of the MSU Main Library’s Special Collections on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 10:15 a.m. If you wish to attend the tour, you will need to reserve your spot prior to it. You do not want to miss this opportunity as MSU houses the largest public collection of comic books in the world, with over 200,000 items including American and foreign comic books as well as additional comic-related inventory. Many smaller events will take place on Saturday, including academic panel discussions from comic scholars and the Artist Alley, where you can view the work of comic artists. These events will happen from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Although comic book fans are found around the world, it might seem a bit strange that a nationwide event such as the Comics Forum would be held here at MSU. However, in addition to MSU Library’s Special Collections, our university is home to a minor in comic art and graphic novels. This path of study exposes students to the concepts, vocabulary and methods of comics, and is a wonderful opportunity for those who wish to build a career in the comic industry. MSU also boasts The Comic Art and Graphic Novel Podcast, a monthly discussion with comic creators and scholars.

Whether you are a creator, scholar or avid comic fan, you will find like-minded people who love to talk about comics. If you are interested in comics but unsure if you would be welcome at such a prestigious event, or if you aren’t necessarily a fan of superhero or action comics, then have no fear according to Ryan Claytor, MSU professor and the director of the MSU Comics Forum. The Comics Forum is a perfect venue not only for existing fans but for those who wish to learn more about comics as an art.

“There are a myriad of styles and genres … present at the Forum and the Artist’s Alley, so I think there’s something for everyone there … a lot of the scholarly panel discussions that happen throughout the day … are also pretty accessible to people who have never been introduced to comics and will probably make you think about them in a different way,” said Claytor.

The 11th Annual MSU Comics Forum will be held over the course of about 2-3 weeks, with events happening all throughout. For more information about the Forum and its many exciting opportunities or to learn more about the comic art and graphic novels Minor and the related podcast, visit comicsforum.msu.edu.