Visiting Artists Spring 2021

Nate Powell

Nate Powell is the first cartoonist ever to win the National Book Award. He began self-publishing in 1992 at age 14, and his work includes civil rights icon John Lewis’ historic March trilogy, Come Again, Two Dead, Any Empire, Swallow Me Whole, The Silence of Our Friends, and Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero.

Powell’s work has also received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, three Eisner Awards, two Ignatz Awards, the Comic-Con International Inkpot Award, four YALSA Great Graphic Novels For Teens selections, and is a two-time finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He has discussed his work at the United Nations, on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, PBS, CNN, and Free Speech TV.

Powell’s forthcoming book Save It For Later will be released by Abrams ComicArts in April, 2021. 

Liana Finck

Ryan North

Ryan North is the writer responsible for Dinosaur Comics, the Eisner and Harvey award-winning Adventure Time comics, the #1 bestselling anthology series Machine of Death and The New York Times bestselling and Eisner-award winning Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series for Marvel. He’s adapted Kurt Vonnegut’s SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE into a graphic novel, turned Shakespeare into NYT-bestselling choose-your-own-path books, and his book HOW TO INVENT EVERYTHING is nothing less than a complete cheat sheet for civilization. He lives in Toronto, where he once messed up walking his dog so badly it made the news.

Shannon Wright

Shannon Wright is an illustrator and cartoonist based out of Richmond, Virginia. Some of her clients include The Guardian, TIME Magazine, NY Times, Mother Jones, NPR, Google and Scholastic. Their debut graphic novel, TWINS, is out on shelves.


Steenz is a St. Louis based cartoonist, editor, and professor. She’s the cartoonist on the syndicated comic strip ‘Heart Of The City’, the co-creator of Dwayne McDuffie Award winning graphic novel, Archival Quality, and is featured in short story anthologies such as Eisner and Ignatz Award-Winning Elements: Fire, Mine!, and Dead Beats. Steenz launched and edited the popular RPG periodical Rolled & Told. She participates in and creates community building comics related programming, and is a frequent panelist at comic cons. Steenz currently teaches cartooning at Webster University while editing titles from Mad Cave Studios.

She lives with her husband, two cats, and watches a lot of esoteric social documentaries.

Matt Bors

Matt Bors is a cartoonist and editor who founded The Nib in 2013. His work has appeared in dozens of publications and was collected in the recent book We Should Improve Society Somewhat. He was a 2012 and 2020 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for his political cartoons and illustrated the graphic novel War Is Boring written by David Axe. He is from the US but now lives in Canada.

Jen Wang

Jen Wang is the award-winning NYT Bestselling author and illustrator of several graphic novels for young readers including Stargazing, The Prince and The Dressmaker, In Real Life (co-written with Cory Doctorow), and Koko Be Good. She is also a co-founder and organizer for Comic Arts LA. She lives in Los Angeles.

Derf Backderf

Derf Backderf is the author of many acclaimed comics including TRASHED, THE CITY, and PUNK ROCK & TRAILER PARKS. Derf’s most famous graphic novel is MY FRIEND DAHMER (Abrams Comicarts, 2012), the haunting account of his teenage friendship with the future serial killer. 

His latest book is KENT STATE: FOUR DEAD IN OHIO (Abrams Comicarts, 2020). The Library Journal calls it “Incendiary. Required reading for all Americans.” It was named book-of-the-year by Publisher’s Weekly, Forbes magazine, and the Herald of Scotland. KENT STATE was awarded the French critic’s prize and has been nominated for an Angoulême Prize. Backderf has also been nominated for multiple Eisner and Ignatz Awards, as well as Harvey and  Reuben Awards. 

Derf lives in Cleveland, for reasons he can no longer remember.

Maia Kobabe

Maia Kobabe is a nonbinary, queer author and illustrator from the Bay Area, California. Eir first full length book, GENDER QUEER: A MEMOIR, was published in May 2019. Maia’s short comics have been published on The Nib, The New Yorker Online, and in many anthologies including THE SECRET LOVES OF GEEKS, FASTER THAN LIGHT Y’ALL, GOTHIC TALES OF HAUNTED LOVE, SHOUT OUT, ADVANCED DEATH SAVES, THEATER OF TERROR and BE GAY, DO COMICS. Before setting out to work freelance full-time, e worked for over ten years in libraries. E has been self-publishing comics since 2010, and has attended over seventy comic conventions since then. Eir work is heavily influenced by fairy tales, homesickness, and the search for identity.

Harry Bliss

Harry Bliss is a New York Times best-selling cartoonist. Since 1999, Bliss has published 25+ books for children and thousands of cartoons. 

His first children’s book, A Fine, Fine, School by Sharon Creech was a New York Times bestseller, as was Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider, and Diary of a Fly, all by Doreen Cronin. These award-winning ‘diary’ books became The Bug Diaries – an animated series that is currently streaming on Amazon. His self-titled single panel gag Cartoon, Bliss is syndicated internationally through Tribune Media Services and appears in over 100 newspapers in the United States, Japan, and Canada. In 2004, Bliss was awarded the Maurice Sendak fellowship award along with Nora Krug. His latest book, a collection of cartoons and comic strips with entertainer Steve Martin, A Wealth of Pigeons, was recently published and is a New York Times #1  bestseller.

Der-shing Helmer

Der-shing Helmer is an Eisner-nominated and Ignatz-winning indie comic creator and publisher who mostly creates science-fantasy and educational comics. They are the creator/ artist of the acclaimed webcomics The Meek and Mare Internum, creator/ editor of the Alloy Anthology, and co-owner of Ascend Comics.

Der-shing is self-taught at comics, but has a biology degree from UC Berkeley and a formal background in secondary science education. They currently live in San Diego with husband, cat, snake, and way too many plants.

Before pursuing her personal work full-time, Der-shing worked in the games industry and as a freelance comic artist and colorist. Past clients have included Disney, Autodesk, Sony, Lerner Books, and many others.

Ezra Claytan Daniels

Ezra Claytan Daniels is a multidisciplinary artist, and creator of the Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz Award-nominated graphic novels, Upgrade Soul and BTTM FDRS. Ezra resides in Los Angeles, CA, where he writes for film and television, including HBO Max’s Doom Patrol.

Keiler Roberts

Keiler Roberts’ autobiographical comic series, Powdered Milk, has received three Ignatz Award nominations and has been published in The Chicago Reader, Mutha Magazine, Nat. Brut, Darling Sleeper, and Newcity. Her third book, Miseryland, has been reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly, The Comics Journal, Broken Frontier, Sequential State, and more. Her next book, My Begging Chart, will be published with Drawn & Quarterly in May 2021. Keiler teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and DePaul University. She lives in Evanston with her husband, daughter, and dog.