Comics, graphic novels at MacDowell Downtown

  • Graphic novelist James Sturm. PHOTO BY JOANNA ELDREDGE MORRISSEY

MacDowell Downtown
Thursday, August 02, 2018 2:33PM

Graphic novelist James Sturm will read selections of his own work, talk comics and graphic literature, and offer some context for the choice of Art Spiegelman as the 59th Edward MacDowell Medalist during a special edition of MacDowell Downtown on Friday, Aug. 3 at The Monadnock Center for History and Culture in Peterborough.

Sturm will preview excerpts from his forthcoming graphic novel, Off Season (Drawn and Quarterly Feb. 2019), a project begun during his second MacDowell Fellowship (2015). Partially published in serial form on Slate.com, Off Season is a book about “a recently separated New England couple against the backdrop of the 2016 election season.”

Sturm has numerous creative projects in the works, including graphic novels about Charlotte Bronte and Harriet Tubman for publisher Hyperion Disney. He recently edited A Whole Lifetime of Firsts, featuring stories told by women veterans associated with the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT, and a yet another work in the pipeline, This Is What A Democracy Looks Like, A Guide To Citizen Engagement, will be published in 2019.

The author of Market Day, The Golem’s Mighty Swing, and Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, Sturm is also co-founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, and is in a unique position to reflect on the impact Art Spiegelman has had on comics, literature, and the culture as a whole.

“I interned at RAW Magazine back in 1989 and 1990,” says Sturm, referring to the acclaimed avant-garde comics magazine Spiegelman founded with his wife, Françoise Mouly. “I learned so much from observing so intimately Art’s process in putting together Maus.” Maus is the comic memoir about Spiegelman’s parents’ survival of the Holocaust that earned the author the Pulitzer Prize in 1992.

“It‘s hard to imagine my career – and The Center for Cartoon Studies for that matter– existing without Art (Spiegelman),” says Sturm.

Sturm served on the 2018 Medal selection panel and will be on hand to see his mentor honored on Aug. 12. “No one has done more to wake people and institutions up to the power and potential of cartooning than Art,” he says. “I’m exhilarated to see a cartoonist take their place alongside all the other storied MacDowell Medal recipients.”

Sturm continues, “The time I spent at MacDowell was critical in furthering my work and I believe Art’s accomplishments were crucial to making that time – for myself and other cartoonists that MacDowell has nurtured – possible.”

Don’t miss tomorrow’s edition of MacDowell Downtown at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture for a perfect lead-in to the Medal Day festivities. Comix and graphic novels will be on tap for this free evening that begins Friday promptly at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m., and light refre shments will be served.