American Cartoonist and Comics Theorist Scott McCloud Opens Carleton’s Visual Learning Conference

Comics artist and theorist Scott McCloud

American comics artist and theorist Scott McCloud will kick-off Carleton College’s innovative visuality conference, “Visual Learning: Transforming the Liberal Arts,” with a special keynote address on Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel.  McCloud is considered to be an “evangelist for comics as a valid literary form (more than pulp and kids’ stuff)” and his admiring fans include many of today’s superstar cartoonists. McCloud’s presentation, which is free and open to the public, is a must for anyone who reads, writes, teaches or draws comics.

As a comics artist, McCloud is the creator of the light-hearted science fiction/superhero comic series “Zot!,” designed in part as a reaction to the increasingly grim direction that superhero comics were taking in the 1980s. Other print comics include “Destroy!!,” a deliberately over-the-top, over-sized single-issue comic book, intended as a parody of formulaic superhero fights; and the graphic novel “The New Adventures of Abraham Lincoln,” done with a mixture of computer-generated and manually drawn digital images. McCloud also wrote twelve issues of DC Comics’ “Superman Adventures” and the three-issue limited series of “Superman: Strength.”

Yet McCloud is most notable as a comics theorist, often called the “Aristotle of comics.” His very popular non-fiction books about comics include “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art” (1993), which has been translated into 16 languages; “Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology are Revolutionizing an Art Form” (2000); and “Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels” (2006).


McCloud is the recipient of the 1985 Russ Manning Award, the 1985 Jack Kirby Award, the 1994 Eisner Award, and four Harvey Awards. He earned a BA in fine arts from Syracuse University in 1982. To learn more about McCloud, visit his website at


A popular speaker and presenter, McCloud has given hundreds of visual lectures at universities, computer events, museums, and cultural festivals—including a popular 2005 TED Conference (


This event kicks off Carleton College’s “Visual Learning: Transforming the Liberal Arts” conference, which will bring together leaders from 42 esteemed institutions around the nation—academics representing a variety of disciplines, as well as graduate students, museum curators, photographers, photojournalists, graphic artists, film-makers, technologists, and musicians. “Visual Learning: Transforming the Liberal Arts” will offer visionary lectures and speculative conversations, as well as hands-on sessions highlighting successful assignments, faculty-staff partnerships, exhibitions, and performances. Held in the Weitz Center for Creativity, Carleton’s new center for interdisciplinary arts and visual collaboration, the conference will address topics ranging from the theoretical to the practical.


A complete schedule of the conference (including an event blog) can be found here:


“Visual Learning: Transforming the Liberal Arts” is the capstone event of the Visualizing the Liberal Arts (Viz) Initiative at Carleton, funded by a grant awarded to the College by the Mellon Foundation.  Thanks to this unique initiative, in only three years Carleton College now stands poised, along with other like-minded colleges and universities across the nation, to seriously explore new ways of teaching and learning in the 21st century. The significance of this innovative approach to teaching and learning will provide the framework for a series of transformative conversations and exciting presentations reflecting the growing use of visual tools in higher education.


For more information, including disability accommodations, contact Aisling Quigley at (507) 222-5487 or by email at The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located on First Street, between College and Winona Streets, in Northfield.