KAPOW! CCAD Strikes Again with Comics Symposium

August 23rd, 2013 by Lacey Luce
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RASL, by Jeff Smith

Building on the success of last year, CCAD is again honoring the art of the comic with Mix 2013: A Celebration of Comics.

This year the symposium, which takes place Sept. 27-28 on CCAD’s campus, has even more panels and presenters. The keynote guest is Jeff Smith, of Bone fame, who will also be celebrating the release of the full-color, 472-page, hardcover version of his critically acclaimed series, RASL.

“Last year was a great start and we learned a lot,” said Robert Loss, who teaches in CCAD’s Liberal Arts department and is the lead coordinator for Mix. “This year we have even more presenters, including Carol Tyler, author of the acclaimed You’ll Never Know memoir trilogy, and Jonathan Gayles, PhD, who will host a panel following the screening of his award-winning documentary White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in Comic Books.

“I am really excited to see this symposium grow. And thanks to the support of community partners such as State Auto Insurance Companies, we are again able to offer this event at a reasonable cost—making it more accessible to a larger audience,” said Loss.

While it’s easy to picture the usual suspects when the word “comic” is used—from Batman to The Avengers—the genre extends beyond superheroes and action figures. Graphic novels and comics have a long tradition of exploring weighty subjects, including race, gender, and politics. In addition to discussing these issues within the context of the comic/graphic novel genre, Mix panels and workshops will explore the growing independent comics movement, the history of the genre, and practical tips for self publishing.

“Graphic novels and comics provide a rich medium for telling complex stories,” said Loss. “This is a great opportunity for people who care about the genre to come together and take a serious look at the art form and its place in our culture.”

Jeff Smith’s keynote will be a conversation with Tom Spurgeon from The Comics Reporter. The keynote is free and open to the public; however, priority seating will be given to Mix 2013 registrants.

Smith’s long-running Bone series is well known among comic fans. Several years ago he launched RASL, the critically acclaimed tale of a dimension hopping art thief, which was serialized in black and white comic book form from 2008 to 2012.  The series has been collected in a single volume for the first time, completely edited, expanded, and in full color; it will be released less than two weeks before Smith’s keynote at Mix. (It’s currently available for pre-order at all comic shops and online bookstores.)

RASL will be the focus of an exhibition in the Canzani Center Gallery, which will look closely at the influences behind the book—including music, literature, process artwork, and sculptural manifestations of the narrative. Also showing in the gallery during the symposium are the paintings of Gary Panter, a pioneer in the underground comix scene, internationally recognized for his post-punk/apocalyptic Jimbo comics, his design work on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and his fine art.

There is still time to register for this symposium. The early bird price is $35 and available through Sept. 2, after which the fee goes up to $50. Visit the event page for a full list of panel sessions, presenters, workshops, and to register.

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