Monthly Archives: September 2016

Introducing Michigan State University Comic Art and Graphic Novel Podcast

Professor Ryan Claytor at Michigan State University introduces the new Michigan State University Comic Art and Graphic Novel Podcast as well as the new Comic Art and Graphic Novel Undergraduate Minor at MSU.

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The Michigan State University Comic Art and Graphic Novel Podcast (msucomics.libsyn.com) is a new interview program (launched Sept. 1st, 2016) hosted by Ryan Claytor.  Here’s an outline of what you can expect on a per episode basis, as each show will consist of three segments.

The start of the podcast will share updates about various comics-related events around Michigan State University (MSU), such as students’ book signings each semester (more on this later) or the yearly MSU Comics Forum, a multiday event for scholars, creators, and readers of the comics medium (more to come about this, too).

The introductory announcements will be followed by a brief discussion with Michigan State University Special Collections Comics Bibliographer, Randy Scott, who has built something we are very proud of at MSU, the largest public collection of comics in the world.  This collection is located in the basement of the Michigan State University library and is accessible to anyone; you do not need to be affiliated with MSU in order to visit or view the books.  In fact, many scholars from around the globe come to East Lansing, MI to do just that.  So, in this second segment of our episodes,  Randy Scott will highlight a different selection from our Special Collections Library.  The item he picks may be notable due to its age, rarity, significance to the medium, or simply an oddity that you wouldn’t know to look for.

After that, we make way for the headliner of the podcast, an in-depth interview with a professional award-winning cartoonist, many of whom have visited Michigan State University as keynote speakers for the MSU Comics Forum.  During these lengthy interviews, we’ll take a deep dive into the creator’s artistic history, get uniquely personal descriptions of their working process, and discuss their past, present, and future work.

So those are the three segments you can expect on a per episode basis, the introductory announcements, the MSU Special Collections Highlight, and the In-Depth Creator Interview.

Regarding the frequency of the podcast, you can expect a new episode at the start of each month.  Each season will consist of 9 episodes that will release monthly for the duration of the academic year (September-May), the show will go dark in the summer months (Jun-Aug), and resume for its subsequent season the following September.

Now, if you’re wondering who I am, my name is Ryan Claytor.  As a creator, I’m probably best known for creating my award-winning autobiographical comic book series, And Then One Day, which explore the human experience as well as autobiographical theory and how it relates to the medium of comics.  You  can find out more about my work at my personal website, www.ElephantEater.com .

I’m also a professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. where I teach a number of Comics Studio courses in the Art Department.  In fact, Michigan State University is also home to a new Comic Art and Graphic Novel undergraduate minor, which is a cross-departmental minor between Art and English.  Classes focus on producing comics, like my comic art courses in which students script, illustrate, and self-publish their own comics.  Students finish the semester by selling their work during an in-store signing event at a local comic book retailer here in town, which was coincidentally co-founded by one of my former students.  But the minor also includes courses in the English department, which have a literary focus on comics .  Plus, there are some built-in options for you to tailor your experience to a more art or literature focused experience.

In addition to spearheading this new minor, I’m also the Director of the Michigan State University Comics Forum.  As I mentioned, the MSU Comics Forum is a multiday event which aims to bring together scholars, creators, and readers of the comics medium.  There are many events which focus on these groups individually, but our goal is to allow these disparate comics-interested folks a space to co-mingle and influence one another.  Each year our Comics Forum features a number of events such as our academic panel discussions, an artist alley featuring dozens of creators, workshops, film screenings with accompanying discussions, in-store signings, and more, but the highlight of the event is our award-winning cartoonist keynote speaker.  Friday night of the event, the speaker delivers a unique and intimate audio visual address about their career in comics.  Just to give you a brief sample of our invited keynote speakers, in the past we’ve hosted Guy Davis, Stan Sakai, Jessica Abel, Nate Powell, Sergio Aragones, David Petersen, Phoebe Gloeckner, Nick BertOzzi, and Tom Hart, with more on the way.  We’re approaching the 10th anniversary of the MSU Comics Forum in February 2017, so tune into the podcast for announcements about the event and our next keynote speaker.

Those are some of my roles in comics and I suppose I can now add podcast host to that list.  I hope you’ll consider listening to the podcast each month, and if you like it please tell a friend.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you to connect.  Outside of our podcast homepage (msucomics.libsyn.com), we’re also on social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter (both @MSUComicsCast), as well as a number of podcatcher apps, like iTunes, GooglePlay, TuneIn, Stitcher, and Pocketcasts.

If you have any questions or suggestions about the show, feel free to write me an email with the title “Comics Podcast” in the subject line, and send it to rclaytor@msu.edu.

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