The 6th Annual MSU Comics Forum came to a close Saturday night and I just have to thank all of the brilliant artists, attendees, and panelists for their help making the event as awesome as it possibly could have been. We had it on an odd weekend, the first couple days of Spring Break, but that being said the turnout was exceptional.
On Friday night Nick Bertozzi gave a rousing keynote speech on the importance of the narrative arc, applying it to his own life and the seemingly endless string of failures he faced on his quest for comics glory. A gentleman and a scholar than one. Then Saturday rolled around and we really kicked the Forum into gear, the culmination of months and months of planning, hundreds of emails, and more planning. And it went off without a hitch!
I was sequestered in our Panel Discussion room for a majority of the Forum, but never have I been more happy to moderate such an esteemed host of professionals and scholars. I’d like to give a huge shout out to our individual presenters Zack Kruse (a fellow first-year writing warrior and writer of Mystery Solved), Justin Wigard, and Andre Peltier for their incredible scholarship. Also esteemed librarians Lisa Rabey, Kristin LaLonde, and Andrew McBride deserve a round of applause for preserving our rich comics history in their respective libraries.
Also I’d like to thank our Artist Spotlight panelists Nick Bertozzi, Josh Neufield, and Jerzy Drozd for imparting what I imagine was invaluable advice for aspiring artists everywhere. The Artist Spotlight is the only chance I get to wander the Alley, Jay takes over the moderator reigns, so I always try to grab as much as I can before I’m back in the saddle. This year I picked up work from: Chad Sell (Manta-Man), Darryl Holliday (The Illustrated Press), Matt Feazell (Cynical Man), Joe Foo (Desmond’s Comic), and Zack Kruse (Mystery Solved).
And let’s not forget our Comics Journalism panelists Joyce Rice, one of the big brains behind Symbolia (read my interview with her partner in crime Erin Polgreen here), Darryl Holliday of the Chicago Illustrated Press, and Josh Neufield, pulling double panel duty like a champ. We had a great round table discussion with these folks, and particularly interesting was the conversation about what makes comics journalism so compelling? What kind of stories lend themselves to the art form?
Lastly I’d like to thank Shawn Huston for bringing his film, Comic Book City, Portland, Oregon USA to the Forum and for closing out our panels in such a satisfying fashion. I really can’t say enough about everyone who contributed this year. I’m honored you graced our Forum with your work and and I’m very proud to have met you all.
Finally, thanks to my fellow organizers Ryan Claytor and Jay Jacot, because without you guys we wouldn’t even be doing this bad boy. Thanks for letting me be a part of it. And Ethan Watrall, thanks for manning the website and giving us a launchpad for our digital presence. Last but not least, thanks to my incredible girlfriend for helping clean up at the end of the day. You are the bee’s knees.
Thanks again folks, and here’s to another incredible Forum!