Yesterday I met with Colleen Venable '02 and Robert Geronimo '09 in the lobby of the Gershwin Hotel on East 27th Street. They are going to create Wagner Magazine's very first comic! I'm really excited about it.


Colleen and Robert didn't know each other before this meeting. But I knew that Colleen writes children's comic books (we've promoted her super-cute Guinea Pig: Pet Shop Private Eye books in Wagner Magazine before), and that Robert does graphic art, because the Staten Island Advance featured him earlier this year. One day, while I was thinking about what to do for the “Reflections” feature in the fall issue, I had the brainstorm to try bringing the two of them together to create a comic for Wagner Magazine. 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 found a small table in the Gershwin Hotel lobby, near Colleen's office at First Second Books in the famous Flatiron Building, where she is a book designer, and not too far away from the CUNY Graduate Center, where Robert was headed for his evening class on images of death in Medieval and Renaissance art. (He's in the doctoral program for art history.) 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 in certain panels and started making a miniature sketch of the story — a thumbnail, the prelude to a pencil sketch.


Thumbnail of the Wagner Magazine comic
Thumbnail of the Wagner Magazine comic doodled by Robert Geronimo in the Gershwin Hotel lobby.

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 really fun thing about this process for me is seeing the story laid out in a graphic design for the first time. The combination of story and graphics always produces something that communicates more fully than I ever could have imagined. In other words, it's more than the sum of its parts.


I can't wait to see how Colleen and Robert's collaboration turns out, and to share it with Wagner Magazine readers. You're in for a treat!


—   Laura Barlament, Editor, Wagner Magazine,


September 13, 2012