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Protest, Plague, and Politics: 2020 in Comics

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Matt Lubchansky
The Nib


Matt Lubchansky is a queer nonbinary cartoonist and illustrator and the Associate Editor of Ignatz award-winning magazine and website The Nib. Their work has appeared in The Nib, VICE, Playboy, Eater, Mad Magazine, Gothamist, The Toast, The Hairpin, Brooklyn Magazine, New York Magazine, Food and Wine, Current Affairs, and their long-running webcomic Please Listen to Me. They are the co-author of Dad Magazine, author of Skeleton Party, and co-editor and contributor to the upcoming anthology Flash Forward: An Illustrated Guide to Possible (and Not So Possible) Tomorrows. Matt lives in Queens, NY. Matt is the 2020 Herblock prize finalist.

Malaka Gharib
I Was Their American Dream

Malaka Gharib is an artist, journalist, and writer based in Washington, D.C. She is the founder of The Runcible Spoon, a food zine, and the co-founder of the D.C. Art Book Fair. She lives in a row house with her husband Darren and her 9-year-old rice cooker.

(photo by Rebecca Harlan/NPR)

Ben is the creator of Your Black Friend and Sports Is Hell, and a regular contributor to the NIB. He lives deep in the cut.


Bianca Xunise is an illustrator and cartoonist based out of Chicago, Illinois. Her work primarily focuses on the plight and daily struggles of a young black feminist weirdo in modern society. Her story-telling has the tender slice of life gaze but  is also capable of a more complex nuanced driven narrative of mental health awareness or police brutality that have garnered her an Ignatz Award for Promising New Talent. Bianca’s has been featured by a diverse group of clients including Vogue, Ford, Essence, NYLON, The Washington Post, The BBC, and The Nib. She is also a contributor to the book How We Fight Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance along with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tarana Burk, and Harry Belafonte. Bianca continues to be highlighted as a special guest for organizations like Small Press Expo, CAKE Chicago, The Society of Illustrators, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and has done live readings for Meanwhile, Chicago Zine Fest and at the historic Bluestockings Bookstore in New York’s Lower East Side. As of 2020 Bianca also joined the writing team at Six Chix as their first black creator in their 20 year run. In her downtime she also enjoys collaborating with Riot Fest and creating comics with some of her favorite bands including Blondie and Bauhaus. Fans of her writings continue rave at her “honesty” and “whimsy” that overall create powerful stories. When she’s not doodling away Bianca is usually somewhere dreaming of the mothman, while listening to The Damned.

We’ve almost made it! As the Month of MICE takes place, the infamous year 2020 is entering its final phase. This panel takes a look at how the tumult of 2020 has been processed by three comics creators, very much in the thick of the year’s controversies and conflicts: the pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, and the national politics overhanging it all. How have the crises been reflected in their work? What is the relationship between creativity, career, and political engagement?  What role can comics play in such crucial public debates and movements?

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Panel sponsored by Lesley Art + Design