The fall 2012 issue of Wagner Magazine features a genre that I believe has never been seen in its pages before: a comic. As we deal with the difficulties, frustrations, and tragedies that Hurricane Sandy left in its wake, I thought it might be a good time to tell the back story on something that I hope will inject a welcome moment of lightheartedness into your day.
Earlier this fall, while I was thinking about what to do for the “Reflections” personal essay in this issue, I had the brainstorm of trying to bring together two alumni I'd heard about: Colleen Venable '02, who writes children's comic books (see her series Guinea Pig: Pet Shop Private Eye, with illustrator Stephanie Yue) and designs books for the graphic novel publisher First Second Books, and Robert Geronimo '09, a doctoral student in art history at the CUNY Graduate Center and a comic book illustrator.
Fortunately, they were both enthusiastic about the idea. I had no idea how a comic comes together, but the two of them are pros. The three of us met in September at the Gershwin Hotel lobby, near Colleen's office in the famous Flatiron Building. Under a giant screen-print portrait of the cartoon master Walt Disney himself, Colleen read us her draft of a script entitled “Ode to the Anchor.” Robert asked her a few questions about how she envisioned the graphics and started sketching.
The process reminds me a lot of how the magazine itself comes together: I write the script (the stories), the graphic artist (art director Erika Reinhart) and I discuss the images that will accompany them, and then she puts it all together into a visual package. The combination of story and graphics produces something that communicates more fully than I ever could have imagined.
Hope you enjoy Wagner Magazine's very first comic, and may it bring back fond memories!