Non-Fiction Comics Mini-Fest!

Join us from 10am-4pm on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury for our first Non-Fiction Comics Mini-Fest!

From science to politics, history to health care, cartooning has exploded as a legitimate medium for exploring non-fiction topics and the textures of lived experience. 

The Vermont Folklilfe Center's Non-Fiction Comics Mini-Fest is a day-long event presenting a diverse assortment of Vermont and regional cartoonists engaged in non-fiction work - including discussion panels at 11am (Paleontology and the Comics: A Presentation by Steve Bissette), 1pm (History and Historical Fiction: A Conversation with Jason Lutes) and 3pm (Ethnographic Cartooning).

So stop in and meet some local cartoonists, check out their work, and learn about how comics can describe the world around us and tell stories of everyday life.

Best of all it's ABSOLUTELY FREE!


Oh, Hey! Also! On Friday, June 15, 2018 we are hosting a special workshop: Drawing from the Past: A Nonfiction Comics Workshop. Taught by NH cartoonist, Marek Bennett, Drawing from the Past will introduce participants to the basics of making comics from primary source historical materials!

Presentations and Panels:

Paleontology and the Comics: A Presentation by Stephen R. Bissette (11am-12pm)

Here's something really special: a dinosaur talk by legendary Vermont cartoonist Stephen R. Bissette!

From Alley Oop to his own Tyrant and beyond, Join Steve for a mind blowing excursion into the history of dinosaurs in the comics! In his presentation Steve will survey dinosaurs in fact and fiction as depicted in comic books and strips - with ample examples for your visual enjoyment!

Stephen R. Bissette won many industry awards in his quarter-century in comics as a cartoonist, writer, editor and publisher. A pioneer graduate of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art, he is best-known for Saga of the Swamp Thing, Taboo, ‘1963,Tyrant, co-creating John Constantine, and creating the world’s second ’24- Hour Comic,’ invented by Scott McCloud as a challenge for Bissette. He teaches at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT.


History and historical fiction in berlin: a conversation with Jason Lutes (1pm-2pm)

In 1996 cartoonist Jason Lutes launched his stunning work of historical fiction, Berlin - completing his epic in December 2017. Berlin explores the final years of the Weimar Republic and the Nazi rise to power through the eyes of cast of recurring characters including art student Marthe Müller, journalist Kurt Severing, the politically-divided Braun family, a touring group of African American jazz musicians, a policeman and others. Although a work of fiction, Lutes throws his characters up against stark historic circumstance and has them navigate a living representation of this turbulent period in German history.

Join Jason in a live discussion with cartoonist and UVM English lecturer Isaac Cates where they explore the interplay between fiction and non-fiction in Lutes's masterpiece.

In addition to Berlin, Jason Lutes is the cartoonist responsible for the critically acclaimed Jar of Fools, which was serialized in the weekly paper The Stranger. His other works include The Fall with Ed Brubaker and Houdini the Handcuff King with Nick Bertozzi. He teaches at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT.


Ethnographic cartooning (3pm-4pm)

Although drawing has long been a part of the field practice of anthropologists and other ethnographers, only very recently have researchers begun to explore the use of comics as a medium for representing human experience and culture from an ethnographic perspective. An early example of ethnographic cartooning is Gillian Crowther's 1989 fieldwork cartoons--comics created as fieldnotes during her dissertation research in the Village of Masset, Haida Gwaii in British Columbia. However, it was not until the 21st century that cartooning as ethnographic practice (and cartooning in the service of ethnography) began to gain traction.

In this panel Sally Campbell Galman, Carol Hendricks, & Dana Walrath will explore emerging use of cartooning in the context of ethnographic representation, and the paths taken by three anthropologists and a folklorist as they began to explore how comics and cartooning inform ethnographic practice and can function practically and conceptually in the service of ethnographic representation.



Featured Cartoonists:


This amazing crew of Vermont cartoonists will be on hand displaying and selling their work! Stop in and make the rounds!