Banner of the Cool Work x Interesting People flier featuring to animated people reading books

The focus of this ongoing series is on indie cartoonists who are engaging with the comics community in ways beyond simply making work. These creators are actively critiquing their own community, as well as forming networks of support for fellow cartoonists, in an effort to center people of color and queer or otherwise marginalized experiences and voices. Through DIY presses, podcasts, reviews, scholarship, and even databases, these cartoonists are both building a movement within the comics community and producing innovative work. Cool Work x Interesting People features unique programs, each hosted by an independent cartoonist at the forefront of this exciting and progressive movement.

The series strives to introduce counter-narratives to our patrons who are underrepresented in dominant comics culture, whether they are new or established comics readers. The Brooklyn Public Library can likewise play a role in ensuring that these cartoonists can continue to make work, by subsidizing them through honoraria and working to build their readership. The library’s collections and programming continue to be enriched when we use our resources to support both cartoonists and readers.

The inaugural run of the series in early 2019 was co-curated by Carta Monir, award-winning cartoonist and head publisher at Diskette Press (who let the name of this series be borrowed from the tagline of her podcast, We Should Be Friends), and Leigh Hurwitz, Outreach Librarian at Brooklyn Public Library, who has now taken up the solo curatorial duties.

In tandem with the programming, Brooklyn Public Library and Diskette Press co-published a zine which featured commissioned pieces from each of the artists in the series. Copies of the zine were distributed for free to event attendees. The zines were lovingly printed by Diskette Press on a Risograph GR3770.

Image Credit: Fifi Martinez

Past programs include:

Screaming on Paper: Activism and Community Engagement Through Comics (February 23, 2019)

Join cartoonist, Carta Monir, in conversation with artist and Editorial Art Director, Hannah K. Lee, about community engagement, activism, and the experience of being a trans woman. This talk will delve into how family and vulnerability informs Carta’s work, which is often heavy in its emotional weight and searing in its honesty; and what drives her to create safe and open spaces for others, both online and in her own home.

Comic Art Ed!: Comics in the Classroom (March 9, 2019)

Cartoonist and educator Cathy G. Johnson leads this workshop about bringing comics into the classroom! Come learn about why comic books are an important and useful art form to include in education, and learn some hands-on lesson plans to share with the kids in your life. Materials (pens, pencils, paper, etc.) will be provided, but participants are welcome to bring their own.

Everything is Comics: How to Make Anything You Want (March 23, 2019)

Join cartoonist and illustrator, Laura Lannes, for an afternoon of making whatever you want. There are as many different ways to make comics as there are people who make comics. Any way that works for you is correct. Sometimes there is a lot of mysticism added to comics, regarding techniques and formats - “you must use a 9-grid,” “you must ink over your pencils with a nib,” etc. In this workshop, Laura will show you several different ways that people have found to make their comics, and then challenge you to make something completely new! Please join her in exercises to get you to try new materials and techniques!

Graphic Medicine: Making Comics About Health (April 20, 2019)

Interested in how comics, medicine, and health can work together? Looking to learn how to tell stories using the medium of comics? In this workshop, Whit Taylor will discuss the growing field and genre of "graphic medicine" in the context of memoir and non-fiction. Participants will have the chance complete a four-panel comic on the health topic of their choice.

Coming of Age: Learning About Yourself Through Comics (May 4, 2019)

Join cartoonist and illustrator, Xia Gordon, in exploring how making comics can act as a window into a better understanding of oneself. In this workshop, we will examine how certain tools - essaying, journaling, poetry, etc - can be used to make comics about and help to better understand one’s own lived experience. Xia Gordon will also provide insight into her own comics-making process.

How to Destroy Your Family (June 15, 2019)

Award-winning cartoonist Carta Monir leads this workshop for teens and adults, focused on the idea of making "dangerous" or "divisive" work. Together, participants will explore ideas of comics about trauma, memory, family, and death.

Cool Work x Interesting People present Archie Bongiovanni (August 15, 2019)

Join Archie Bongiovanni,  overall rad zine-maker and cartoonist, for a reading and brief discussion on comics, digital media in a physical world, pronouns, and navigating life as a queer creator.

All the Details?? Making Zines About Sex (December 14, 2019)

Award-winning cartoonist and publisher Carta Monir presents a workshop appropriate for ages 18 and up. Writing honestly and candidly about sex is difficult, but it doesn't have to feel impossible. Participants will leave the workshop with a short comic of their own creation.

Meaningful Stuff: Writing Flash Fiction Comics with Sentimental Objects (Feb. 20, 2020)

In this hands-on workshop, participants will write and draw a one-page comic about or inspired by an object. The workshop will be guided by comics artist JB Brager. Participants may bring their own art supplies and sentimental objects, or can use materials provided. No art or writing experience is required.

Creating Comics About Trans Women (April 18, 2020)

In this workshop, cartoonist Emma Jayne leads you through drawing a four panel comic about trans women! She'll talk you through the process of writing and drawing characters of your own: what tropes to avoid, things that transgender characters written by cisgender creators often lack, and the nuance of visually portraying transgender bodies in a faithful manner.

Poetry-Comics: Confluence of Craft (April 23, 2020)

A workshop by poet and cartoonist Trinidad Escobar. Comics, in most cases, depends on the dynamic relationship between text and image. In this workshop, we will explore how poetics, or the craft of poetry, intersects with comics theory. With a short lesson on poetics, cartoonists may fortify and expand their understanding of the multitude of ways that text can interact with image.

Creating Autobio Comics (May 23, 2020)

You are the protagonist of your next comic in this autobio comics primer. Led by cartoonist, Hazel Newlevant, explore the experiences that defined and changed you, design a cartoon version of yourself, and learn how to turn your treasured and embarrassing memories into a story to share with others.

Mapping Our Digital Selves: Zine Making with Maamoul Press (June 6, 2020)

In the time of COVID-19, our lives are mediated more than ever through technology. We appear in one another's homes and interact with our colleagues and loved ones through digital mediums, becoming talking heads or a series of posts on people’s screens. In this workshop, graphic novelist and co-founder of Maamoul Press, Leila Abdelrazaq will guide participants through a series of questions in the creation of a mini-zine that maps the components of their digital self and its intersections with the physical body, and reflect on what it all means.

Upcoming Events

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