Comic artist explores Great Moments in Western Civilization at RIT talk Jan. 26

School of Individualized Study hosts discussion and workshop with cartoonist Caitlin Cass

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Caitlin Cass

Caitlin Cass, creator of more than 60 mini-comics including The Heap, will discuss her comics about history, failure and narrative in a free talk Jan. 26 at RIT.

Buffalo-based comics artist Caitlin Cass will share how she uses comics to question traditional historical narratives in a free talk Jan. 26 at Rochester Institute of Technology.

The public is invited to join Cass for her talk, “Great Moments in Western Civilization,” as she reads from and discusses her comics about history, failure and narrative. The event, hosted by RIT’s School of Individualized Study, is at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 26 in University Gallery, located in James E. Booth Hall. A signing will follow the talk.

Cass makes comics and art installations about striving and failure. She has self-published more than 60 mini-comics as part of her bi-monthly periodical, The Great Moments in Western Civilization Postal Constituent. Her comics have also appeared online at The Nib and in alternative weekly newspapers, including The Chicago Reader and The Public.

“Caitlin is an amazing comics artist whose work demonstrates how comics can make history visible in new and exciting ways,” said Daniel Worden, a comics scholar and faculty in RIT’s School of Individualized Study. “Her comics, paintings and installations address some of the most pressing issues of our time—from literacy and the desire for knowledge to pollution and extinction—by looking backward and finding in history a record of whimsical visions and inspiring failures.”

“Her visual style both recalls classic modes of caricature and cartooning and engages with design and illustration practices that are strikingly contemporary,” Worden said. “Her work makes it clear that comics have become a fine art medium.”

Members of the RIT community are also invited to join a free weekend-long Comics Challenge workshop hosted by Cass, Worden and Marla Schweppe, professor of design at RIT. The workshop runs from 5 p.m. Jan. 26 to 5 p.m. Jan 28 on the RIT campus.

Throughout the weekend, participants will learn about comics structure and key elements of comics storytelling. Using that knowledge and their own abilities, students will create a short comic on a theme by the end of the workshop. No drawing or illustration skills are required.

Undergraduate students participating in the workshop have the option to register it as a one-credit hour course—Making Comics CMDS-105-01.

For more information and to sign-up for the workshop, contact Worden at