Comics Vs Comics In Michigan by Greg Baldino

Greg Baldino writes for Bleeding Cool.

Some rivalries run deep. The Saxons and the Normans. The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Scott Kurtz vs. Newspapers. They are old rivalries, with blood on all hands involved. It takes courage to take a side in such a conflict. Only a madman would try to play for both sides.

Ryan Claytor is that madman.

For the cartoonist, self-publisher, and autobiographic theoretician, placing one foot in the camp of Michigan State University and the other with the University of Michigan is more than just a suicidal Thanatos gambit– it’s his day job. When he’s not traveling the highways and byways of North America promoting his autobiographical series “And Then One Day,” Claytor teaches not one but two classes on comics and visual narrative at two different rival colleges.

(If you don’t follow college football, the MSU/UofM rivalry can best be compared to the eternal feud between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. If you follow alternative comics, it’s best compared to the feud between Joe Matt and Paying For Things.)

It’ll all come to a head this week, as Claytor’s MSU students will be having an in-store signing event at East Lansing’s 21st Century Comics and Games on Wednesday the 15th, while two days later the UofM cartoonists will have theirs at Ann Arbor’s Vault of Midnight. It’ll be tight; both classes are filled with rising talent and both stores have excellent reputations. (Vault of Midnight, in fact, won this year’s Spirit of Comics Retailer Award at the Eisners.)

Like Manichean forces eternally at odds, the Spartans and the Wolverines will never find peace between them, but at least if you’re in Mid-Michigan next week you can check out a lot of new comics by new creators.

Michigan State University’s
Comics and Visual Narrative Class In-Store Signing
Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010 from 5-7pm
21st Century Comics and Games
515 E. Grand River Drive
East Lansing, MI 48826

University of Michigan Flint’s
Comics and Visual Narrative Class In-Store Signing
Friday, Dec. 17, 2010 from 4-6pm
Vault of Midnight
291 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Greg Baldino is technically exempt from the MSU/UofM rivalry, as he went to a community college before transferring to an out-of-state school. He lives and writes in Chicago, reporting on arts and culture. His writing has appeared in print internationally. He can be contacted at greg.baldino@gmail.com </i>

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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