Sunday, October 28, 2012

177. CARTOON COLLEGE (2012)


This engaging documentary by Josh Melrod and Tara Wray profiles the Center for Cartoon Studies, the first academic environment to be exclusively devoted to the various disciplines of graphic storytelling, based in White River Junction, Vermont. Each year, twenty new applicants are selected from a larger number and invited to learn from the resident staff (which includes Stephen R. Bissette of SWAMP THING, TABOO and TYRANT fame) and various visiting masters in the field of comic art over a two-year course. This film focuses on a group of first and second year students as they experience a variety of challenges and growth pains as they struggle toward graduation and the hope of a Master of Fine Arts degree.

Luck of the draw (no pun intended) dealt the filmmakers a charismatic group of students, each with their own special abilities and wacky style and sensibility. They keep the film afloat with personality as various expert friends of CCS are brought forward to annotate and editorialize: Chris Ware, Lynda Barry, Charles Burns, Jason Lutes, James Sturm, Kim Deitch, Scott McCloud, Fran├žoise Mouly, R. Sikoryak, Art Spiegelman and the aformentioned Steve Bissette. I had the good fortune to see this film at a lecture presented by Steve; it's not yet on DVD, but here is the contact information for the production, where you should be able to find out how and where you might see it:

Josh Melrod
Cartoon College Movie, LLC
P.O. Box 221
Woodstock, VT, 05091
USA
Phone 1: (802) 457-3465

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