Minneapolis Students Major in Comics

As Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) adjunct faculty member, Jim Keefe, looks over a student’s work, they are surrounded by comics on the classroom walls and a Superman comic on a video monitor, writes Alex Friedrich at MPR News.

This is part of “Introduction to Comics,” where students have already practiced the various stages of comic book design – plot, penciling, lettering and inking. And in this final assignment, they’re putting together their own 4-5-page comic.

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design is one of only three colleges that offer an accredited bachelor’s degree in it. And there’s a future in it. While graduates may go on to work in the comic industry and on graphic novels, those that don’t may do story-boarding for commercials and films.

But these students aren’t interested in just mimicking the popular legends of the industry, writes Tom Horgen at the Star Tribune.

“They have their own stories to tell,” said Britt Aamodt, author of “Superheroes, Strip Artists & Talking Animals: Minnesota’s Contemporary Cartoonists.”

Of the two dozen artists profiled in her new 200-page book, only a few draw superheroes for a living and many are content to be auteurs: writing, drawing, inking and self-publishing stories dreamed up in their imagination.

In her book, Aamodt argues that this recent crop of artists is taking Minnesota’s scene to new heights.

“They’ve really spread their wings,” Aamodt said last week. “They can tell any kind of story. And they just don’t have to be about men in tights.”

The author speaks of the community’s survival skills and organizing power citing the presence of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

It’s certainly a thriving town industry. Last year saw the debut of the Minneapolis Indie Xpo, a festival dedicated to self-published artists and small-press publishers. More than 1,000 people attended.