This past Sunday at Escapist Comics on Claremont Ave. in Berkeley, the 3rd Annual California College of the Arts (CCA) Student Comics Fair showcased comics from the college’s Master’s of Fine Arts in Comics program, as well as from Introduction to Graphic Novels, an undergraduate class that teaches students about comic books and the process of making their own. Justin Hall and Matt Silady, both Adjunct Professors in the MFA program, put together the show and introduced each student creator and their work.
Despite the shop’s small storefront, the inside of The Escapist is surprisingly large. Like the nearby Dark Carnival bookstore, inside lay shelves upon towering shelves of comics, art books and zines for customers’ reading and purchasing pleasure.
The event consisted of a number of readings by both undergraduate and graduate students who shared pages from their self-made and self-published works, as well as a chance to mingle with the creators, purchase their comics and eat some pizza.
Recent graduate of the MFA in Comics program Maia Kobabe reads several pages from her grad work, “The Thief’s Tale,” afterwards answering questions such as how awful and difficult drawing horses was for her fantasy tale, as well as the inspiration for her work.
Erika Delgado, a Writing major at CCA provides hilarious commentary for ”Doll Girl,” a class assignment that was done in collaboration with another student in Intro to Graphic Novels. The comic is broken into three short stories told from two perspectives: the droll, gray world of “Dull Girl,” and the fantastical realm of her imagination, in which she, as Doll Girl, saves cats from trees and destroys the cars of cat callers.
CCA students Gabi Espinoza and Alex Campbell showcase their comic “Bro Killer.” In the comic, the punk-rock protagonist is heckled by a bro about their look and subsequently saves that bro from a many-tentacled monster.
Rounding out the readings was CCA graduate Colin Andersen, reading from his comic “Yard Waste Removal,” which follows the plight of King Solomon and his attempts to care for his unkempt garden.
Escapist Comics has held the CCA Student Comics Fair every year in its three-year history, providing a space for student creators to show off the work they have either spent much of their college career on or are just starting to do. Either way, the intimate environment of a small comic shop was the perfect setting to showcase these inductees into the world of comics.
Youssef Shokry covers literature. Contact him at [email protected].