I went to the SVA senior portfolio review today, expecting to be impressed by maybe a couple of kids that made up a small fraction of the class. Instead, I am incredibly impressed, and terrified, because these kids are going to destroy us all in the next decade. They still have some room to grow, but it’s the strongest group I’ve seen in years, with no clear “best in class” to watch, and for students, they’re pretty damn accomplished, most of them both as illustrators and cartoonists. On the way home I realized the industry these kids have grown up with: where Blankets has ALWAYS existed, Scott Pilgrim has been concluded since around when they entered school, EVERY Tezuka book is available in English, European comics are translated by just every publishing house- and they’re drawing on all of it for their own stuff. This class started school when Asterios Polyp came out, and then they learned from David Mazzucchelli.
And they’re only the tip of the ice berg. I was in a high school in Houston a few weeks back, and their school library has a shelf like fifteen feet long stocked back and front with graphic novels & manga. If you talk to a teacher or librarian whose library has even a tiny graphic novels section, they will tell you about the kids who read comics like it is their job. The coming years are going to bring some changes to the comics world. When these kids get competent and connected, we’re in for some awesome work.