Cartoon Allies of SVA is once again ready to take New York Comic Con by storm. “This year we have more than 30 students hosting the SVA booth and as usual an excellent selection of comics and artworks,” said Alexandra Graudins, president of the Cartoon Allies, a student-run organization that unites comic and cartoon lovers at SVA. Taking place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan from October 8 – 11, the already sold-out 2015 New York Comic Con is expected to receive more than 150,000 attendees.
BFA Cartooning and BFA Illustration faculty member Keith Mayerson calls New York Comic Con the High Holy Day for the Cartoon Allies. “The New York Comic Con has everything—movies, video games, big animation studios and merchandise—but its primary focus is still comics and that’s what makes it more special for us,” he said. The convention gives students an opportunity to represent themselves and their work, and in turn, SVA. “We’re looked at as a bastion of integrity at the Comic Con and that stems from the amazing works our students produce,” Mayerson said.
As with past years, a well-curated display of new artworks by students will cover the walls of the booth, while posters, portfolios, magazines (including the glossy color INK!, SVA’s student publication of the best of current undergraduates’ work) and comics will be exhibited on the tables. The Cartooning Magazine, which represents the best work by the departments’ graduates, is available at the booth for free. “The Cartooning Magazine is sent to the VIPs of the cartooning world, but at the convention it goes out into the world and acts as an inspiration for prospective cartoonists,” Mayerson said.
Another special feature of the SVA booth is a comic rack where mini comics made by students are stacked. These comics are prefixed with “mini” because of their small print run. “Mini comics are looking more and more like artist books that you would find at Printed Matter,” Mayerson said. “They are fetishized objects and our students sell out quickly at the Comic Con.” They also act as sophisticated business cards. Mayerson remembers how is student Thomas Herpich (BFA 2002 Cartooning), who is known for his work in the Cartoon Network show Adventure Time, found his first publisher at the New York Comic Con.
While the College’s booth at Comic Con is an opportunity for SVA students to meet publishers and artists and to see the new work that is being produced in the cartooning world, for prospective students, it is an opportunity to learn about SVA through the work produced by its students. Graudins herself had visited the Cartoon Allies booth before she joined SVA. This year she is presenting the new work she did over the summer titled 21 till 21 at the convention and is excited to meet her idol, Alex Hirsch, who will be there to talk about his show Gravity Falls.
In addition to Cartoon Allies, a number of other SVA students, alumni and faculty members will be participating in New York Comic Con this year, including MFA Visual Narrative Chair Nathan Fox and students from the department, who will be displaying and selling many books and commissions to benefit the MFA Visual Narrative scholarship fund.
Photo: The SVA booth at New York Comic Con 2014.