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Comics Fest


Durham Comics Fest 2017

Special Guests!
Comics Creator Networking Night!
Local Artist Alley!
Drink & Draw!
Prizes and Activities!

Coming Soon!

Quarterly Local Comics Creator Networking Nights

Are you a professional, amateur or aspiring comics artist or writer living in the Triangle? Then come to our Local Comics Creator Networking Nights at Atomic Empire! Meet fellow creators, show off and trade your work (no sales please), and make our local comics scene even better. All ages, skill levels and genres welcome!

Upcoming Networking Nights:
February 22, 2017, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
April 12, 2017, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
More dates coming soon!

Atomic Empire is located at 3400 Westgate Dr. #14B in Durham
Call 919-560-8648 or email for more information.

2016 Guests

knight-smallKeith Knight is the award-winning cartoonist behind (th)ink and The K Chronicles. Learn more about Keith at

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 and the illustrator of the Captain Awesome children’s book series. Learn more about George at and

2015 Guests

Nick Bertozzi is the writer and artist of Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey and Lewis & Clark, and the artist of Houdini: Handcuff King with Durham Comics Fest alum Jason Lutes. Read more about Nick at

goffMalcolm Goff is a local artist and cartoonist, and a contributor to Running for Hope: A Novel by the John Hope Franklin Young Scholars. Read more about Malcolm at

gownleyJimmy Gownley is the writer and artist of the Amelia Rules! series. Read more about Jimmy at

ottavianiJim Ottaviani is the writer of Feynman, Primates, and Bone Sharps, Cowboys and Thunder Lizards. Read more about Jim at

2014 Guests

axelrodJared Axelrod 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 and the illustrator of the Captain Awesome children’s book series. 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

Nick Bertozzi (left) and Jim Ottaviani (center) discuss the highs and lows of biographical comics with host Matt Wood (right), 2015.

Artist’s Alley participants Keith Knight (left) and Jan Burger (right) compare notes, 2015.

Creative cosplayers in Nick Bertozzi’s 4-panel storytelling workshop, 2015.

Jimmy Gownley demonstrates character design to a multigenerational crowd, 2015.

Intense negotiations at the Comic Swap, 2015.

The crowd of hopefuls at Fullsteam Comics Trivia, co-sponsored by Duke Libraries, 2015.


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.


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, with an emphasis on supporting a community of comics readers and creators.

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

Durham Comics Fest was created in 2011 by Amy Godfrey, former Manager of the Children’s Unit at Southwest Regional Library, with support from the Friends of the Durham Library


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

Allie Massey works in Children’s Services at Southwest Regional Library and also contributed a story to the Durham Comics Project. She’s particularly fond of Phillippe Coudray’s Benjamin Bear books. Contact Allie at 919-560-8725 or

Caroline Peterson is the Teen Librarian at Southwest Regional Library. When forced to choose, her favorite comics include Ms. Marvel and Lumberjanes. Contact Caroline at 919-560-8598 or