RIT hosts Comics Studies Lecture with ‘New Yorker’ cartoonist R. Sikoryak April 12

‘Terms and Conditions’ campus talk is free and open to the public

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R. Sikoryak, a leading figure in comic art and illustration, is coming to RIT on April 12 to discuss his new work, Terms & Conditions.

R. Sikoryak, a leading figure in comic art and illustration, is coming to Rochester Institute of Technology to discuss his new work, Terms & Conditions—a graphic novel adaptation of the iTunes Terms and Conditions agreement published by Drawn & Quarterly.

The cartoonist will be speaking at the Comics Studies Lecture, held 4-5:30 p.m. April 12 in the Bamboo Room (2610) at the RIT Campus Center. The talk is free and open to the public.

The Comics Studies Lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of English at RIT’s College of Liberal Arts and the School of Individualized Study. Both colleges teach courses devoted to comics, graphic novels, and multimedia art and literature.

R. Sikoryak’s Terms & Conditions adapts an infamously dense legal document, the iTunes Terms and Conditions Agreement. In a word-for-word 94-page adaptation, Sikoryak hilariously turns the agreement on its head. Each page features an avatar of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs juxtaposed with a different classic strip such as Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey, or a contemporary graphic novel such as Craig Thompson’s Blankets, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, or Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant.

“By poking fun at corporate legalese through the genre of the graphic novel, R. Sikoryak unpacks corporate conventions for those who normally dismiss such dense material,” said Karen vanMeenen, faculty in the RIT English department. “He tackles the dry subject of Terms & Conditions through virtuoso renderings of the comics canon that are hilarious, historically comprehensive and thoroughly enrapturing—in the comics medium that uses text-image combinations to make meaning.”

Sikoryak is the third comics studies speaker to be featured this academic year at RIT. The New York Times best-selling artist Ed Piskor and digital comics developer Erik Loyer visited and spoke on campus earlier this year.

“R. Sikoryak’s comics are both funny and intellectual,” said Daniel Worden, faculty in RIT’s School of Individualized Study. “Terms & Conditions demonstrates the versatility of the comics medium in the way it makes visible the sometimes ignored, but nonetheless important, documents that govern our everyday interactions.”

Sikoryak is also the author of Masterpiece Comics (Drawn & Quarterly). His comics and illustrations have appeared in the The New Yorker, The Onion, GQ, MAD, SpongeBob Comics, and Nickelodeon Magazine. He is in the speaker’s program of the New York Council of the Humanities and teaches in the illustration department at Parsons’ The New School for Design and at The Center for Cartoon Studies.