Part of the Nufonia Must Fall Schedule of Events
Featuring Kid Koala, Marisa Stotter (She Makes Comics), Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez (Somos Arte, Darryl Makes Comics), and LeSean Thomas (Black Dynamite, The Boondocks) this panel discussion brings together a wide range of creators to examine the power of comics and graphic novels, and the importance of inclusivity. The discussion will be moderated by artist Soraya Jean-Louis McElroy.
Character and creator diversity has been a major issue within the graphic novel and comic book industry since its creation. Over the past decade, great strides have been made in the past few years to promote inclusion, empowerment, and the readers' respect for representation. Increasingly, comic books and graphic novels are becoming just as diverse as those reading them. This panel discussion brings together a wide range of creators to examine the power of comics and graphic novels, and the importance of inclusivity.
Kid Koala is a world-renowned scratch DJ, music producer, and award-winning graphic novelist. He has released four solo albums on Ninja Tune, the most recent being 12 bit Blues. He has also released two graphic novels: Nufonia Must Fall and Space Cadet. He has also been involved in collaborations such as Gorillaz, Deltron 3030, and The Slew. Kid Koala has toured with the likes of Radiohead, the Beastie Boys, Arcade Fire, Money Mark, A Tribe Called Quest, Mike Patton, DJ Shadow, and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. He has contributed to scores for the films Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Looper, and The Great Gatsby. He has composed music for The National Film Board of Canada, the Cartoon Network, Sesame Street, and Adult Swim. He has also been commissioned to create music for runway shows for Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten. Kid Koala’s unforgettable live shows range from silly touring turntable carnivals like Short Attention Span Theater (featuring turntable bingo) and Vinyl Vaudeville (including puppets and dancers) to quiet-time events like Music To Draw To and his Space Cadet Headphone Experience. He lives in Montreal with his wife and two daughters.
Marisa Stotter is a director and producer based in Los Angeles. Following its release in 2014, her first film, She Makes Comics—a passion project borne out of her love of comics and a desire to see greater representation of women in the medium—received rave reviews and won Best Documentary at the 2015 Comic-Con International. The film traces the fascinating history of women in the comics industry, highlighting the roles women have played in the industry since the early 1900s. Marisa currently works in television while developing and producing her own projects on the side.
Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez is the founder of his design studio, Somos Arte, and the creator and writer of the critically acclaimed graphic novel La Borinqueña. He is also co-founder of the graphic novel publishing company Darryl Makes Comics with his business partner, Darryl DMC McDaniels. Via Somos Arte, he has a client roster that includes Marvel, Atlantic Records, Columbia University, Meredith Hispanic Ventures and various Latino non-profits like ASPIRA of New York, El Puente and the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute. Edgardo was the Artistic Director of Pa'lante Siempre Pa'lante, part of the acclaimed PBS POV Documentary Series, which received the Silver Apple Award from the National Media Alliance. Edgardo's debut as a writer for Marvel has been received with critical acclaim similar to his initial work with Marvel as curator of two exhibitions Santerians: The Art of Joe Quesada and Marvelous Color.
LeSean Thomas, a South Bronx NYC native, is a television animation producer, director, and illustrator operating out of Los Angeles, California. His most recent work includes Creative Producer and Supervising Director of Black Dynamite: The Animated Series and Storyboard and Director/Lead Character Designer for the Peabody Award-winning The Boondocks animated TV series seasons 1 and 2 for Sony Pictures Television, and Storyboard and Animation production artist on The Legend of Korra (Book 1) animated TV series for Nickelodeon Animation. He recently produced, directed, and wrote an animated pilot, Cannon Busters, with Satelight animation studio, Japan-based, on the creator-owned comic book of the same name, set to be released in 2017. In October, Thomas partnered with Crunchyroll, a global leader in SVOD platform focused on East Asian media for an exclusive deal to co-produce his original anime creation, Children of Ether.
Soraya Jean-Louis McElroy is a Haitian born, Harlem and Brooklyn raised mixed media queer womynist artist conjuer currently living and loving in New Orleans. Her love of black women and families, motherhood, nature, wildcrafting, Black Feminist Futurisms, comics/graphic novels and the African Diaspora are central themes in her work. Soraya’s work as an organizer, mentor, counselor, doula, and medical anthropologist focusing on women’s health and African folklore strengthen her commitment to resisting oppression, and facilitating healing, through imaginative creative/art activism. Soraya has participated in several group exhibits in various New Orleans cultural institutions including the Mckenna Museum of African American Art, The JuJu Bag, Antenna Gallery, The Jazz and Heritage Gallery, and a solo show at Café Rose NiCaud. Her works have been used in zines, books and promotional materials such as Secret Rivers: Domestic Violence Zine, Near Kin: A collection of Words and Art Inspired by Octavia Estelle Butler, and the official poster for Audre Lorde Week at Tulane. She also served as make-up and costume designer for Monica McIntyre’s album, It Soon Come. Soraya is the co-founder of Wildseeds: New Orleans Octavia Butler Emergent Strategy Collective. Wildseeds' work, steeped in Black feminist traditions of survival and healing, engages Octavia Butler and other speculative/sci-fi and fantastical authors a resource for social change She is currently working with various community organizations and facilitating her own series of creative playshops while enjoying her beautiful family. Soraya is constantly imagining and creating new work and was awarded the Alternate Roots Visual Scholars grant in 2014. Most recently Soraya was the creative facilitator, curator and contributing artist for Wildseeds “Sacred Space”at ExhibitBE. WEBSITE