Cornell alum to speak on the power of nonfiction comics in 21st century

Comics journalism and non-fiction comics, which employ visual storytelling to cover news or nonfiction events, have become more popular over the last three decades. In a lecture on Tues., March 28, Andy Warner  ’06, an author of nonfiction comics, will explore the power of graphic media to tell true stories. He’ll discuss some of the key issues facing graphic journalism in recent years, including the meme wars of the 2016 presidential campaign; the effect of tech money on new media: and the use of comics internationally as an expression of soft power by the U.S. State Department.

In his lecture, “Power, platforms and pipelines: transnational nonfiction comics and the 21st century,” Warner will also address comics collectives in Arab countries. The talk will be at 5 p.m. in Goldwin Smith Hall G64 and on Zoom and is free and open to the public.

Book cover: Spring Rain
Andy Warner Book cover: Spring Rain

Warner’s major in Near Eastern studies has informed his work, particularly his 2020 memoir "Spring Rain" about the 2005 uprisings in Lebanon, narrated from his perspective as a study abroad student in Beirut, said Deborah Starr, professor of Near Eastern studies (NES) and director of the Jewish Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“’Spring Rain’ is both a work of journalism—recording political sentiments and events—and a memoir, reflecting Warner’s own experiences as a study abroad student,” said Starr. “NES looks forward to welcoming Warner back to campus to share his experiences with current Cornell students.”

Warner is also the author of "Pests and Pets," "This Land is My Land," and the New York Times Best Selling "Brief Histories of Everyday Objects." His books have been translated into Russian, Chinese, Korean, French and Spanish. He is a contributing editor at The Nib and teaches cartooning at Stanford University and The Animation Workshop in Denmark.

His work has been published widely, including by Slate, American Public Media, Popular Science, KQED,, The Center for Constitutional Rights, UNHCR, UNRWA, UNICEF, Google X and Buzzfeed.

This lecture is sponsored by the Department of Near Eastern Studies and is co-sponsored by the Departments of History of Art and Visual Studies and Literatures in English, the Society for Humanities, and the American Studies Program.

Ayla Hodges is an events coordinator in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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		Black and white comic image of a person sitting at a desk, drawing