Michigan State University Comics Forum


Comic book creators, readers and scholars will gather at Michigan State University’s Main Library Friday and Saturday (Feb. 2 and 3) for the school’s first Comics Forum since the event shifted to a triennial schedule in 2021. MSU, which holds the world’s largest public collection of comic books in its libraries’ Special Collections, has much in store for attendees.

The event kicks off 7 p.m. Friday with a keynote speech by cartoonist Keith Knight, whose art has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Yorker, the San Francisco Chronicle, ESPN the Magazine, Mad Magazine and beyond. He was a co-creator, writer and executive producer of the Hulu television series “Woke,” which was inspired by his life and work.

Rebecca Wanzo, a professor and chair of the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, will present an additional keynote speech at noon Saturday. Wanzo’s most recent book, “The Content of Our Caricature: African American Comic Art and Political Belonging,” published in 2020, explores the history of racial caricatures in the United States and the ways Black cartoonists have used the imagery to respond to constructions of ideal citizenship that often exclude African Americans.

A series of academic panel discussions will run 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, before and after Wanzo's speech. The keynote speeches and panel presentations will also be livestreamed on the MSU Comics Forum YouTube page for those who can't make it in person.

Guests can also take a stroll through the artist alley 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, which will feature more than 20 creators showcasing and selling their work. To view a list of featured artists, visit comicsforum.msu.edu/artist-alley/.

Finally, cartoonist and author José Alaniz will visit A Novel Concept in downtown Lansing 6 p.m. Saturday to discuss and sign copies of his most recent book, “Puro Pinche True Fictions,” a collection of short stories and comics that reflect his upbringing as a second-generation Mexican American living in the Rio Grande Valley. Comics scholar and creator Zack Kruse will facilitate a conversation with Alaniz about comics as both art and narrative.


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