Sunday, September 11, 2016

Joyce Brabner Visits Peru State College









Peru State College and the Creative Writing Series presented Joyce Brabner on September 19 and 20.

Special thanks go to PSC graduates Sam Atkinson  and Dawn Plympton for moving me in this direction. In addition, miracle-worked Brenda Trail and VPAA Dr. Tim Borchers played important roles.


On Monday and Tuesday, September 19 and 20, award-winning comics writer and political activist Joyce Brabner visited Peru State College and gave four presentations on campus. I posted some photographs.

Married to American Splendor author Harvey Pekar for over twenty-five years, Joyce is a political cartoonist most recently recognized for her graphic novel Second Avenue Caper for which she earned a Lamda Award. 

This comic/graphic novel focuses on personal accounts of the AIDS epidemic in New York City during the 80s.


On Monday morning at 9:30, Joyce visited with my Comics as Literature Class in CATS 205. Her presentation focused on her life and work with Harvey, especially Our Cancer Year, a Harvey-Award Winner.. 



Joyce appeared regularly in American Splendor and collaborated with Pekar on Our Cancer Year, a moving and disturbing account of Pekar's second bout with lymphoma, the cancer that eventually led to his death in 2010.



Focusing on Second Avenue Caper and her other work in comics that includes Real War Stories, Joyce Brabner  also talked at 2:00 in the CATS Conference Room about the power of comics as a vehicle for social and political protest and change.

On Tuesday morning at 9:30 in AV Larson 114,  Joyce visited Sheli Petersen's Graphic Design class. For this presentation Joyce spoke in more general terms about crafting comics and the dynamic relationship between words and images. 

Joyce also took an interest in PSC's Pride students and stopped to talk with them after lunch and prior to her requested visit to the Freshmen Studies class I teach.



I teach the College 101 class for History and English majors. Kelli Petersen brought her College 101 students, Art and Music majors, to my room for Joyce's talk.



Joyce's presentation pretty much combined the four majors, for she read from her comic Activists. The first story, "What If,"  documents how banned rock music played a role in the rise of democracy in Czechoslovakia when in 1989 the writer Václav Havel became president of the country. 

She read another story from Activists focused on the Civil Rights movement. "Firebrand," a true story, focuses on Prince Edward County, VA, and the fight organized by a young black student named Barbara Johns  to achieve equal schooling for the segregated school districts.


In the following short video, Joyce Brabner reads from both stories.








For further information about Joyce's current activities and interests, check out her interview with Jillian Steinhauer.


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