Wednesday, August 5, 2020

MSU hosts annual comics forum

February 5, 2012
From left, Ann Arbor, Mich. comic artist Denver Brubaker talks with Bath, Mich. resident Maggie Cummings, 16, and biomedical laboratory operations sophmore Ryo Paclot Saturday morning at the LookOut! gallery inside Snyder-Phillips Hall. The two-day event brought comics artists, scholars and fans to MSU, home to the largest public collection of comic books, to celebrate the art of graphic storytelling. Justin Wan/The State News
From left, Ann Arbor, Mich. comic artist Denver Brubaker talks with Bath, Mich. resident Maggie Cummings, 16, and biomedical laboratory operations sophmore Ryo Paclot Saturday morning at the LookOut! gallery inside Snyder-Phillips Hall. The two-day event brought comics artists, scholars and fans to MSU, home to the largest public collection of comic books, to celebrate the art of graphic storytelling. Justin Wan/The State News —
Photo by Justin Wan | and Justin Wan The State News

Diana Busby jump-started her career creating comic books with the knowledge and experience she gained in a course she took during the summer.

The studio art and media arts and technology senior said although she developed an interest in comics at a young age, she would not have been able to turn her passion into something more without the help of Ryan Claytor, a professor in the Department of Art & Art History.

“I saw (Claytor’s) comics course and said, ‘That’s for me,’ and signed up for it,” Busby said. “I don’t know if I would have started making comics if I hadn’t taken (Claytor’s) class.”

Busby, along with about 20 other comic book creators, displayed work at the fifth annual MSU Comics Forum, which took place on Friday and Saturday.

The event in Snyder and Phillips halls featured a keynote speaker, an artist alley that allowed creators to display and sell their work and various discussion panels that featured academics and professionals in the industry.

“My favorite part is having all the people here together who normally wouldn’t get together,” said Claytor, who also is the event’s director. “Scholars usually don’t mingle with the fans, and creators usually don’t talk to the scholars. This a really unique event to have all these people converge together.”

Claytor said the artists who were showcased included many who are just starting out as well as some with years of experience.

“We want to make space for both professionals and students and up-and-comers so that we have a good mix of people,” he said.

For Busby, Saturday was her first time at the comic forum, and she said being surrounded by many of professionals was encouraging and inspiring.

“The artists and patrons who have come around (to my table), they’ve all been really friendly and really supportive,” she said. “It’s a great environment.”

Another past student of Claytor’s — MSU alumna Leslie Anderson — also displayed her creations at the event and credited the professor for her success.

“I can’t even point to one thing because he taught me to do it all,” Anderson said. “I learned everything in that class.”

Although she has attended multiple other comic book conventions, Anderson said this was her first time at the MSU Comic Forum and she looks forward to returning.

“It’s a little bit different from a lot of the ones I’ve been too,” she said. “It’s very much more an exhibition of art and talent. It’s very professional, and it’s very well done.”

Ryo Paulot, a biomedical laboratory operations sophomore, said she enjoyed the bold colors and simplistic styles used in the comics she saw on Saturday.

“I like the variety of art styles, and a lot of the people are really friendly,” she said. “I do like the art styles of everyone, but I don’t know if all the comics would suit my personal interests.”

Although she was not interested in everything, she appreciated the range of content and found most of it interesting.

“I like the fact that you can do anything with comics,” she said.

“There’s so many different ideas you can explore because it’s drawn art. It’s nice to be able to explore whatever ideas you want to explore — you’re not limited.”

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