2020 Event Announcements

We’re proud to announce our 2020 MSU Comics Forum event dates, location, keynote speakers, availability of our artist and scholar submission forms, and our event artwork:

Emil Ferris is an American writer, cartoonist, and designer. Ferris debuted in publishing with her 2017 graphic novel My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, a coming-of-age story of Karen Reyes, a girl growing up in 1960s Chicago.  The book is written and drawn in the form of the character’s notebook. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters was heralded as a “masterpiece” by Forbes and The AV Club, among others and has garnered numerous awards, including:

  • 2017 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel for My Favorite Thing Is Monsters
  • 2017 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Artist
  • 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Graphic Novel for My Favorite Thing Is Monsters
  • 2018 Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist
  • 2018 Gran Guinigi Award for Best Graphic Novel
  • 2019 Grand prix de la critique ACBD
  • 2019 Fauve d’or at Angoulême International Comics Festival


Nick Sousanis is an Eisner-winning comics author and an assistant professor of Humanities & Liberal Studies at San Francisco State University, where he is starting a Comics Studies program. He received his doctorate in education at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Titled Unflattening, it argues for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning, and was published by Harvard University Press in 2015. Unflattening received the 2016 American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in Humanities, the Lynd Ward Prize for best Graphic Novel of 2015, and was nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Scholarly/Academic work. To date, Unflattening has been translated into FrenchKoreanPortugueseSerbianPolishItalian, and Chinese.

– — —– — –

We look forward to seeing you again next year!

The MSU Comics Forum Committee

Saturday of the 2019 MSU Comics Forum

Saturday of the Comics Forum began with an limited engagement tour of the Michigan State University Special Collections Library, the largest public collection of comic books in the world.

Randy Scott showcased a Rodolphe Töpffer comic book published in the 1800’s.

At 10:30, the artist alley began…

…as did the academic panel discussions.

At noon our 2019 Scholar Keynote Speaker, Qiana Whitted, took the stage in front of a full room:

Standing room only.

2019 Creator Keynote Speaker, Seth, watches on.

After Qiana’s keynote address, both keynote speakers signed their books in Artist Alley.

Qiana debuted her new book, EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest, today.

The MSU Comics Forum wrapped at 5:35pm, at which point our 2020 event was announced, complete with dates, venue, keynote speakers, event artwork, and availability of artist and scholar submission forms.

On the following day (Sunday), each of our keynote speakers were interviewed in our recording studio.   The discussion will be aired on a future episode of the MSU Comic Art and Graphic Novel Podcast.  Pictured below from left to right are Zack Kruse (MSU Comics Forum Panel Coordinator), Qiana Whitted (2019 MSU Comics Forum Scholar Keynote Speaker), and Julian Chambliss (MSU Comics Forum Incoming Panel Coordinator).

Friday of the 2019 MSU Comics Forum

Friday evening of the 2019 MSU Comics Forum saw the headlining event of the weekend, a keynote address by Canadian Cartoonist, Seth.

MSU Comics Forum Director, Ryan Claytor, introduced Seth after thanking the 2019 MSU Comics Forum sponsors and introducing the audience to the Comics Forum committee.

Thanks to @ranti for the above image.

Seth took the stage for his keynote address.

A photo-op at the end of the evening.  From left to right, Ryan Claytor (MSU Comics Forum – Director), Qiana Whitted (2019 MSU Comics Forum – Scholar Keynote Speaker), Seth (2019 MSU Comics Forum – Creator Keynote Speaker), Julian Chambliss (MSU Comics Forum – Incoming Panel Coordinator).

Thanks to the attendees

Thursday of the 2019 MSU Comics Forum

There was an unlisted event on Thursday evening of the MSU Comics Forum.  Our MSU Special Collections Comics Bibliographer, Randy Scott, was honored with a lifetime achievement award at a surprise, invitation-only, ceremony this evening.

He was unexpectedly welcomed by collegues, friends, and out-of-state family.

Randy Scott with family:

After remarks from Comics Forum Director, Ryan Claytor, MSU English PhD Candidate, Zack Kruse, and University Librarian, Joe Salem, a video was shown with testimonials from comics scholars, creators, and librarians from around the globe:

Randy was then presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award, a sand-blasted, crystal, trophy in recognition for his unparalleled accomplishment in the field of comics studies:

…and received a standing ovation on the way back to his seat.

The audience then had a chance to approach a microphone to tell randy what his accomplishment, service, and friendship meant to them.  Pictured below, standing, is John Shaw, co-worker at the MSU Main Library for more than 30 years:

Once audience remarks came to a close, refreshments and cake were served:

Thanks for your decades of dedication to comics studies, Randy.  Your life’s work will affect scholars, creators, and readers for generations to come.

One final point of clarification, this was decidedly not a retirement ceremony.  Randy is still employed and incredibly active.  At the age of 71, Randy has not announced a retirement date.

Tuesday of the 2019 MSU Comics Forum

Tuesday evening saw the first of the MSU Comics Forum events, a public lecture and book discussion on Green Lanterns Vol. 1 (Rebirth): Rage Planet, an event co-sponsored by Muslim Studies and the MSU Comics Forum. Dr. Julian Chambliss and Dr. Salah Hassan each provided context for the book discussion to follow. Thanks to the engaged audience of scholars and students who attended to kick-off the 2019 MSU Comics Forum.

2019 MSU Comics Forum Poster Unveiled

Happy New Year and New Poster!

The 2019 Comics Forum poster is now available in both digital (click above image for full size) and 18″x24″ printed versions.  Our Creator Keynote Speaker, Seth, illustrated the image you see above.  If you are a business or academic institution who is interested in helping us promote the MSU Comics Forum by hanging these in a public location, please contact MSU Comics Forum Director, Ryan Claytor, via the CONTACT page of this website and we will send several free of charge.

The Truman Show!

Michigan State University Comics Forum is pleased to welcome Truman Smith as social media intern!

A senior from Holt, Michigan, Truman is a graphic design major who will support the Comics Forum and its social channels for the 2019 event held on February 22 and 23.

Truman became aware of the internship position through his involvement in MSU Comics Studio courses “Fundamentals of Comic Art and Graphic Novels” and “Advanced Comic Art and Graphic Novels.” Upon learning about the internship, Truman leapt at the opportunity.

“I’m excited to gain more professional social media experience, and conduct deeper research on comic creators and scholars,” said Truman.

Truman’s interest in comics stems from the medium’s ability to realize any idea, and is hard at work creating his own comic.

“I spent the last year and half writing more than 400 pages of a comic script, and I’m going to start drawing it next year,” said Truman. “Thank heavens it’s finally time for the fun part.”

As part of his comic creativity, Truman also created some original art inspired by the MSU Comics Forum.

 “I have become far more considerate of viewing comics through an academic lens since becoming affiliated with the MSU Comics Forum,” said Truman.

Through his MSU education, Truman has come to admire creators Meredith Gran, Gary Larson, KC Green, and Bryan Lee O’Malley. “I cannot wait for O’Malley’s Worst World!”

Please join the MSU Comics Forum in welcoming Truman!

2019 MSUCF Artist Alley and Academic Panel Lists are Live

We are proud to announce our 2019 Michigan State University Comics Forum (MSUCF) Artist Alley list of exhibitors (available on the Artist Alley page) and our schedule of Academic Panel Discussions (available on the Panel Discussions page).

I’d like to take a moment to thank all the applicants who submitted work to our 2019 event.  We had an overwhelming number of high caliber scholars and cartoonists interested in being a part of our event.  In fact, while we doubled the number of panel discussions offered in 2018 from 2017, in 2019 we are more than doubling our panel offerings again, expanding from 2 to 4 rooms and adding an extra 5th session to accommodate the increased demand.  We’re honored to showcase work from such a diverse and international group of scholars in the field of comics.

We also had a record number of artists apply, over two-and-a-half times the number of cartoonist applicants that we are currently able to host.  Due to present restructuring and renovation taking place in our venue, the MSU Main Library, we were unable to increase the number of artist exhibitors for 2019, which made our deliberation and acceptance process quite difficult.  However, we’re already in conversation with our venue to increase space for the MSU Comics Forum Artist Alley in 2020.  With that said, we’re excited about the group of cartoonists ready to assemble in 2019, which include a number of new, diverse, and established creators, from MSU Comics Minor students and alumni to established artists like mini-comics veteren, Matt Feazell, and National Book Award winner and former MSU Comics Forum Keynote Speaker, Nate Powell, in addition to our 2019 Keynote Speakers, Qiana Whitted and Seth, to highlight just a few.

I hope you’ll take a moment to familiarize yourself with the scholars and artists’ work.  Because of them, 2019 is shaping up to be another banner year for the Michigan State University Comics Forum.  The MSUCF committee and I look forward to seeing you in February.

Ryan Claytor
MSU Comics Forum – Director

Comics Exhibition Dates Extended

Due to popular demand, the Women Comics Professionals exhibit, housed in the MSU Main Library Special Collections exhibit cases on the first floor as well as the 4th floor exhibit cases near the Fine Arts Library, will be on display through June 2018 (contrary to their announced end date in March 2018).  Click here for MSU Main Library hours of operation to visit the exhibition.