CAC Conversation: Comics, Graphic Novels, and Inclusivity

Join featured panelists for a discussion about comics, graphic novels and inclusivity at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, at the Contemporary Arts Center (900 Camp Street).

Featuring Kid Koala, Maria Stotter (She Makes Comics), Edgardo Miranda-Rodriquez (Somos Arte, Darryl Makes Comics), and LeSean Thomas (Black Dynamite, The Boondocks), this panel discussion brings together a wide range of creators to examine the power of comics and graphic novels, and the importance of inclusivity. The discussion will be moderated by artist Soraya Jean-Louis McElroy.

Character and creator diversity has been a major issue within the graphic novel and comic book industry since its creation. Over the past decade, great strides have been made in the past few years to promote inclusion, empowerment, and the reader’s respect for representation. Increasingly, comic books and graphic novels are becoming just as diverse as those reading them.

Kid Koala is a world renowned scratch DJ, music producer, and award-winning graphic novelist. He has released two graphic novels, Nufonia Must Fall and Space Cadet. He has been involved in collaborations such as Gorillaz, Deltron 3030, and The Slew.

Marisa Stotter is the director of the documentary She Makes Comics from Respect Films, the untold story of women creators in comic books, celebrating female creators and fans alike.

Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez is a writer at Marvel Entertainment; Editor-in-Chief at Darryl Makes Comics LLC; Art Director and Owner at Somos Arte and Studio Edgardo creative services; and creator of “La Borinqueña,” an original character that has received national recognition as a symbol of Puerto Rican patriotism, social justice and equality.

LeSean Thomas is a television animation producer, director and illustrator operating out of Los Angeles, California. His most recent work as Creative Producer and Supervising director includes “Black Dynamite: The Animated Series” on The Cartoon Network’s ADULT SWIM programming block. He is the story board and animation production artist on “The Legend of Korra” (Book 1) animated TV series for Nickelodeon Animation. He is also the Director and Lead Character Designer for Aaron McGruder’s Peabody Award-winning “The Boondocks” animated TV series (seasons 1 & 2) for Sony Pictures Television. He currently works for JM Animation in Seoul, Korea.

Soraya Jean-Louis McElroy is a Haitian-born, Harlem and Brooklyn-raised mixed media queer womynist artist currently residing in New Orleans. She is the co-founder of Wildseeds: New Orleans Octavia Butler Emergent Strategy Collective, an effort steeped in Black feminist traditions of survival and healing, which engages Octavia Butler as a resource towards social change. Soraya was awarded the Alternate ROOTS Visual Scholars grant in 2014. She served as the creative facilitator, curator, and contributing artist for Wildseeds‘ “Sacred Space” at Exhibit Be in 2015. She is also the co-organizer of Black Futures Fest: A Celebration of the Black Fantastic in New Orleans.

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