New Year, New Us!: An Executive Update from GSC CSS President, Zachary J.A. Rondinelli

Around here, most people know me as the guy with the really bad jokes. So, even though I’m a little late (it’s only February, ok?!), I thought, what better way to start off 2022 in my new role as GSC President than with an awful joke?

Are you ready? Ok.

Why should you always put your calendar in the freezer on January 1st?

I bet you’re bursting with anticipation… stick around ‘til the end of this address to hear the answer!

2021 was a turbulent year for countless reasons, but we have all soldiered through admirably. So, before I say anything else, I want to say congratulations. Whether you presented at many conferences or zero, whether you published countless papers or none at all, whether you read twenty books, just a couple, or simply added to your stack of “to reads,” we should all be proud of our persistence and resiliency through a difficult year. Now, here’s to hoping that I’m not writing a similar message next year as 2022 turns to 2023.

Here at the Comics Studies Society’s Graduate Student Caucus (CSS GSC), we’ve seen a lot of change recently. I’m grateful that both Maite Urcaregui and Frida Heitland will be continuing with us in their roles as Secretary-Treasurer and Member-at-Large respectively. We’re so lucky to have them and their amazing commitment to graduate students and comics studies on our Executive! That said, I did want to take this opportunity to share some of the changes to our team happening in 2022.

First, I want to thank outgoing President, Evan Ash, for his commitment to graduate students within the Comics Studies Society as both 2020/2021 Vice-President and outgoing President of the Graduate Student Caucus. We on the Executive will certainly miss Evan’s enthusiasm, drive, and passion for service, but we look forward to his continued contributions to the health and prosperity of our field and graduate students’ position within it.

Next, I’d like to congratulate Sydney Heifler for her appointment to the position of Vice-President. Sydney has been a dedicated member of the GSC since she joined as a Member-at-Large in 2020 and will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position. I am looking forward to working alongside her on all of the important work that we hope to accomplish in 2022 and beyond.

With Sydney’s stepping into the role of Vice-President we found ourselves with a vacant Member-at-Large position. An email of interest was sent to all eligible graduate student members of the Comics Studies Society and, today, we are pleased to welcome Katlin Marisol Sweeney-Romero to this role and are incredibly excited to work with her over the course of this term. Katlin will be actively assisting Sydney with the 2022 Mentorship Program (which will be returning summer 2022) and assisting with our new social media initiatives as they begin!

Next, we would like to congratulate and thank our outgoing GSC Web Editor, Dr. Jeremy Carnes, who has recently been appointed to the position of Web Editor with the CSS Executive. We have been preparing ourselves for Jeremy’s departure since he completed his doctoral studies in 2019, and, though it will be very difficult to see him go, we cannot express enough how elated we are that he will continue working with the CSS in his new role. Jeremy has been a stalwart and important member of our Caucus for many years, and I can’t thank him enough for his service to graduate students in our field.

As a result, we have also had to search for someone to replace Jeremy on our Executive board. Last year, we sent out a call inquiring about interest from grad students in the CSS, and we are very pleased to be introducing independent early career scholar, Austin Kemp, to the position. We’re all looking forward to working with Austin this year! You will learn more about him, and our other new(ish) GSC Executive Members, in the coming weeks when he posts our “Meet the Board” interviews!

Finally, we have some exciting projects planned for this year and we are very much hoping that all of you will get involved! Please keep an eye out for emails from the CSS listserv, posts on social media, and general calls for participation with the GSC. If you haven’t already, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@GSC_CSS).

That’s it from me! So, as promised, here is the end of the joke that started this address!

You always put your calendar in the freezer on January 1st as a guarantee that you’ll start the new year off in a “cool” way!

It might be February, but toss those calendars in anyway! It’s never too late to be cool!

Happy New Year, comics scholars! Let’s make it a great one!


Zachary J.A. Rondinelli (He/Him/His), M.A., B.Ed., B.Mus
Ph.D. Student [Educational Studies], Brock University
President, Graduate Student Caucus of the Comics Studies Society

WelcomeToSlumberland Social Media Research, Principal Investigator (@LittleNemo1905)

“Comicbook should be written as one word… I want you to remember that. I never want to see the word comicbook written as two words. They are not funny books. They are not comic books, they are comicbooks! Remember that, or incur my wrath.” – Stan Lee

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