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Comics Fest


Durham Comics Fest 2015
Saturday, July 25-26, and more!


CF2015-gownley-bigJimmy Gownley, writer and artist of the Amelia Rules! series – read more about Jimmy and check out his books at the libraryCF2105-amelia

CF2015-bertozzi-bigNick Bertozzi, writer and artist of Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey and Lewis & Clarke, and artist of Houdini: Handcuff King with Durham Comics Fest alum Jason Lutes – read more about Nick and check out his books at the library. CF2015-shackleton

CF2015-ottaviani-bigJim Ottaviani, writer of Feynman, Primates, and Bone Sharps, Cowboys and Thunder Lizards – read more about Jim and check out his books at the library. CF2015-tminus

CF2015-goff-bigMalcolm Goff, local artist and cartoonist, and contributor to Running for Hope: A Novel by the John Hope Franklin Young Scholarsread more about Malcolm here. CF2015-running

Durham Comics Fest 2015
Full Schedule

Kids’ Comics Workshop Series

Southwest Regional Library
Tuesdays, June 30, July 7, 14, 21
6 – 7 p.m.

Learn to make comics with artist Malcolm Goff in this 4-session workshop. Students will learn basics such as page composition, character design and story structure.
Ages 8-14. Registration is required: register online or by calling 919-560-8592.

Fullsteam Trivia Night

Fullsteam Brewery: 726 Rigsbee Ave. in Durham
Thursday, July 23
9 p.m.

Come test your mental mettle against in a special night of trivia sponsored by the Durham Comics Fest and Duke University Libraries, home of the Edwin and Terry Murray Comic Book Collection. Win yourself some prizes, and maybe even the grudging respect of your peers! For adults age 21 and up.

Durham Comics Project Drink & Draw

Cocoa Cinnamon: 420 Geer St. in Durham
Friday, July 24
7 – 9 p.m.

For experienced and aspiring cartoonists alike, the hardest part of making comics is often making the time to draw, so let’s make that time together! We’ll have an exercise or two (often collaborative), but you’re welcome to just come to work on your own thing. Good for all ages, and no drawing experience is required! More information at at the Drink & Draw Meetup page (no membership required) and at

Durham Comics Fest: The Main Event!

Saturday, July 25
Southwest Regional Library

CF2015-swapComic Book Swap
10 a.m. – 12 p.m. in the Meeting Room

Hang out with fellow comics lovers and trade your way to a new collection! Single issues and collected editions are welcome. Please note that no money may be exchanged during this event. For all ages – no registration required.

CD2015-alleyLocal Artists Alley
12:30 – 5 p.m. in the Meeting Room

Meet members of the local comics scene to chat about their process and their work.

CF2015-amelia-ideaJimmy Gownley: Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
1-2 p.m. in the Meeting Room

In this fun, interactive, and stimulating presentation, Jimmy Gownley answers the #1 question he gets asked: Where do you get your ideas? With drawing demonstrations and hilarious anecdotes, Jimmy will explain how he created the Amelia Rules! characters and came up with the idea for the series. His journey tackles the greater topic of imagination and demonstrates how to go from a blank piece of paper to a story, drawing, or idea that is all your own. This program is ideal for children aged 8-14, but everyone is welcome! Registration is not required, and a book sale and signing will follow.

CF2015-bertozzi-watchStorytelling in Four Panels, a workshop with Nick Bertozzi
1-2 p.m. in the Children’s Program Room

Learn about the fundamentals of storytelling and apply them to your own four-panel comics stories.
For adults and teens; registration required. Register online or by calling 919-560-8590.

CF2015-primates2Jim Ottaviani and Nick Bertozzi: Historical Heroes
2:30-3:30 p.m. in the Meeting Room

Jim Ottaviani and Nick Bertozzi have, between the two of them, created historical fiction and non-fiction comics about the lives of Richard Feynman, Jane Goodall, Robert Oppenheimer, Marie Curie, Lewis & Clark, Ernest Shackleton, Harry Houdini, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein and many more. Join them for a discussion of the joys and challenges of creating works about these larger-than-life and far-from-perfect figures. This program is ideal for adults and teens, but everyone is welcome! Registration is not required, and a book sale and signing will follow.

CF-2015-dumbestSelf-Publishing to Book Deal: How My High School Hobby Became my Career, a workshop with Jimmy Gownley
2:45-3:45 p.m. in the Children’s Program Room

Jimmy Gownley began creating comics at the age of 15 and selling them out of his high school locker. While still in school he established his own business and became a self-publisher. Now a full-time cartoonist with an 8-book deal, Gownley travels the country speaking to kids about life as a cartoonist and inspiring students to find their own unique talent and follow their dreams. This presentation encourages interactive discussion on the topics of creative careers, the specifics of creating comics (including technical aspects of drawing, computer coloring, and publishing), and the importance of promotion, persistence, and personal success. For ages 13-18; registration is required. Register online or by calling 919-560-8590.

Plus prizes, drawings, the Comics Contraption and more!

Durham Comics Fest Film Screening: She Makes Comics

Southwest Regional Library
Sunday, July 26
3 p.m. in the Meeting Room

This documentary film traces the fascinating history of women in the comics industry from the medium’s beginnings in the late 19th century to the present day, featuring dozens of interviews with such vital figures as Ramona Fradon, Trina Robbins, Joyce Farmer, Karen Berger, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Becky Cloonan. Plus get a chance to win a gift certificate to Rue Cler! Contains some adult language and artwork. Trailer and more information here. Screening and drawing made possible by the Durham Library Foundation.

2014 Guests

axelrodJared Axelrod (2014) is an author, illustrator, costume designer and more. He is the writer of The Battle of Blood and Ink: A Fable of the Flying City, illustrated by Steve Walker. Read more about Jared at


Andrew Aydin is Digital Director & Policy Advisor to Congressman John Lewis in Washington, D.C., and he is the co-author with Lewis and Nate Powell of March: Book One, this year’s Durham Reads Together title. Read more about Aydin at Andrew Aydin’s appearance was made possible by Durham Reads Together.

gayles-photoDr. Jonathan Gayles is Associate Professor of African-American Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the writer, director and producer of the documentary film White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in American Comic Books. Read more about Dr. Gayles and the film at Dr. Jonathan Gayles’ appearance was made possibly by Durham Reads Together.

knisley-photoEric Knisley is a cartoonist, illustrator and animator, and was a co-organizer of the Durham Indie Comics Expo as well as being a frequent contributor to the Durham Comics Fest.

oconnorGeorge O’Connor  is the writer and artist of the acclaimed Olympians series, retellings of classical Greek myths, the illustrator of the Captain Awesome children’s book series, and the artist behind Journey into Mohawk Country, an adaptation of a 17th-Century travel journal. Learn more about George at and

shearerBrian Shearer is the creator of the ongoing webcomic William the Last, and has contributed art to IDW’s Doctor Who, G.I. Joe and Transformers comics. Read more about Brian at

whitleyJeremy Whitley is the writer of the Eisner-nominated Princeless, with artist M. Goodwin, and IDW’s My Little Pony: Friends Forever comics. Read more about Jeremy and Princeless at

Williams-Gail-photoGail Williams is a career counselor specializing in media and the arts, a working artist, and has been an art teacher and administrator from preschool through college levels. She has published numerous articles and has exhibited her art widely throughout the state. She is currently Adjunct Professor of Art at NC Central University and a Road Scholar with the NC Humanities Council. Gail Williams’ appearance was made possibly by Durham Reads Together.

2013 Guests

burger-photo Jan Burger is a graduate of The Center for Cartoon Studies, and the creator of such comics as Uitke and the Lucky Penny.

hampton-photoScott Hampton is a veteran comic book artist whose work includes Batman: Gotham County Line, as well as chapters of The Books of Magic (written by Neil Gaiman), Hellboy (written by Mike Mignola), and the Immortals graphic novel

telgemeier-photoRaina Telgemeier is the award-winning cartoonist behind Smile, Drama and the Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels. Her latest book, due out August 2014, is Sisters. Read more about Raina at

towle-photoBen Towle is the artist behind the folktale collection Farewell, Georgia and the biography Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean. See more of Ben’s work at

vernon-photoUrsula Vernon is the writer and artist of the Hugo Award-winning Digger series for adults and the Dragonbreath series for children.

2012 Guests

crilley-photoMark Crilley is the author and illustrator of the Akiko and Billy Clikk books series for children, the Miki Falls graphic novel series for teens, and the new Brody’s Ghost graphic novel series for adults, as well as the Mastering Manga cartooning guides.

dawson-photoWillow Dawson is the writer and artist of Lila & Ecco’s Do-It-Yourself Comics Club, an excellent introduction to making your own comics for kids and parents. Visit Willow’s online portfolio at

jarrett-photoJarrett Krosoczka is the author of the popular Lunch Lady graphic novel series, as well as many more books for children. Read more about Jarrett at


2011 Guests

appel-photoSara Appel is a Visiting Research Scholar in the Program in Literature at Duke University. Along with many other subjects, Sara has studied gender representation in comics as well as the class-related implications of the medium.

bolling-photoBen Bolling is a Doctoral Candidate at UNC’s English & Comparative Literature department, where he studies comics in a number of capacities, including serial narratives and the sociology of comic book conventions.

clough-photoRob Clough is a Durham-based comics critic who writes for the print and online editions of The Comics Journal and at

hansen-photoWill Hansen is Assistant Curator of Collections at Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which includes the Edwin and Terry Murray Comic Book Collection.

lutes-photoJason Lutes is the writer and artist of the acclaimed Berlin series and Jar of Fools, and the writer, with artist Nick Bertozzi, of Houdini: The Handcuff King. Jason teaches at The Center for Cartoon Studies.

powell-photoNate Powell is the writer and artist of Swallow Me Whole, Any Empire and The Silence of Our Friends (written by Mark Long and Jim Demonakos). His latest work is March, is Georgia Congressman John Lewis’ graphic autobiography, written with Lewis staff aid Andrew Aydin. Read more about Nate at

tolpygo-photoKirill Tolpygo is Slavic & East European Studies Librarian at UNC Chapel Hill and maintains a collection of East European and Slavic-language comics at UNC’s Davis Library

Photos from Past Fests


The Comics Contraption draws a crowd at the Read Local Festival, 2015.

Jared Axelrod gives a talk on the many faces of Batman, 2014. (Video courtesy Jared Axelrod.)


Durham Comics Project participants enjoy the pop-up photo booth at the DCP release party, 2014.


Andrew Aydin, co-writer of John Lewis’ March, discusses Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, “the comic book that changed the world”, 2014.


Attendees line up to have comics signed by Comics Fest guests, 2013.


Raina Telgemeier runs a cartooning workshop for kids, 2013.


Raina Telgemeier demonstrates comics storytelling, 2013.


Raina Telgemeier presents her work to fans of all ages before a book signing, 2013.


Scott Hampton discusses cartooning with workshop participants, 2013.


A cartoonist’s panel about taking comics from sketches and scripts to a finished project, featuring (left to right) Ben Towle, Scott Hampton and Jan Burger, 2013.


Comics Fest organizer Matt Wood cosplays Scott Pilgrim villain Gideon Graves, 2013.


Mark Crilley (far left) and Willow Dawson (second from right) with Comics Fest organizers Amy Godfrey and Patrick Holt, 2012.


Willow Dawson looks at work by a member of the Kids Comics Club, 2012.


Ben Bolling, Will Hansen, Kirill Tolypgo and Sara Appel discuss the place of comics in the university setting, 2012.


Mark Crilley demonstrates page design and panel layout, 2012.


Fans share their homemade Lunch Lady board game with Jarrett Krosoczka, 2011.


Jan Burger (left) and Jason Lutes sign books for Comics Fest attendees, 2011.


Jason Lutes with the winner of a sponsored prize drawing, provided by the Friends of the Durham Library, 2011.


Jarrett Krosoczka demonstrates character proportions with Lunch Lady, 2011.

Thanks to our Sponsors!

The Durham Comics Fest is made possible by funds from the Friends of the Durham Library with additional support from the Durham Library Foundation. Thank you!

Friends of the Durham Library Logo

Durham Library Foundation logo


Visit and to find out how you can keep Durham County Library strong by supporting these vital organizations.



Thanks also to our community and media partners:

Durham Comics Fest is an annual, all-ages celebration of comics and graphic novels.  More info coming soon!

As a program of Durham County Library, Durham Comics Fest is free and open to the public.

About the organizers:

Patrick Holt is an Adult Services Librarian at Southwest Regional Library. He’s also a very occasional artist and contributed a story to the Durham Comics Project. His favorite book of the moment is Supermutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki.
Contact Patrick at 919-560-8648 or

Matthew Wood is a System Support Technician for Library Technology in the Durham County system. He is the co-writer of several webcomics, including “Chocolypse Now” and “The Dada Detective.” He’s currently revisiting Joann Sfar’s and Lewis Trondheim’s dark fantasy satire Dungeon, and he’ll talk your ear off about Carla Speed McNeil’s Finder.
Contact Matthew at 919-560-0191 or

Amy Godfrey is a library volunteer and the former Children’s Manager at Southwest Regional Library. She’s also the creator of the Durham Comics Project, and a working cartoonist as well. Her favorite book of the moment is Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson.

Mark Riddle is a library science student at UNC and an intern in Southwest Regional Library’s Children’s Department.