The inaugural Richmond Indie Comic Expo (RICE), planned by VCU School of the Arts students and hosted at James Branch Cabell Library, takes place Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free and open to all, the expo offers artists tabling to discuss and sell their work in The Lecture Hall (Room 303). Educational panels taught by experts in comic arts will be held nearby in the library’s Multipurpose Room (room 250), for anyone interested in learning about comics. (Right: “Flesh and Blood” by Mary Kate Montgomery)

A related Cabell Screen exhibition honors the upcoming expo and features work from a selection of RICE artists. Artists will include VCU students, professors and alumni, as well as Virginia professionals.  

RICE’s mission is to share the joy of comics, promote local artists and VCUarts alumni, and add to the thriving Richmond arts community year after year. As a VCUarts student-run organization, RICE is also dedicated to giving special emphasis to VCUarts alumni and their work, while encouraging current students to get involved with the greater comics community. 

Participating artists are listed below in no particular order: 

  • Alexis DeJesus is a graphic design student at VCUarts and a WorldSkills USA Champion for Graphic Design Technology. She has years of experience in marketing collateral, logo design, and freelance illustration.  
  • Angelica Kim creates dynamic and fun fantasy illustrations and concept art. She aims to inspire younger artists and her peers to create more. Additionally, she hopes to include those less represented such as people of color, LGBT, and women in media through her work.
  • Ashlyn Rudolph is a Richmond-based illustrator currently completing her BFA in Communication Arts. Her work bridges methods in printmaking and digital media, with a focus in religious iconography and growing up in the south. She enjoys creating comics, watching old westerns, and dreaming of owning a banjo.
  • Betz Slaymaker creates illustrations and comics that depict a greater narrative. Storytelling has been a major part of their life since childhood, and they strive to create diverse and complex stories through their art, while keeping their sense of humor present. 
  • Bizhan Khodabandeh is a visual communicator who moves freely across the professional boundaries as a designer, illustrator, artist and activist. He has received numerous international and national awards for his work. For comics this includes: a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators as well as recognition by them for his work on The Little Red Fish and Kitty Meow Meow. He’s done comics for Dark Horse, MIT, Rosarium Publishing, The Mattachine Society, and more. Currently Khodabandeh teaches full-time at VCU’s Robertson School of Media & Culture and freelances under the name, Mended. 
  • Arrow.Adhouse Books (Chris Pitzer) AdHouse Books has been a boutique publishing juggernaut since the year of 2002. Over the years, they have won and been nominated for awards within the comic profession (Ignatz, Harvey, Eisner) and the design world (AIGA, Communication Arts, Domtar Paper). Their library of publications is an eclectic mix of sequential and illustrative arts, with a focus on quality production values.
  • Daniel Torroca is a cartoonist, illustrator, designer and printmaker from Northern Virginia. He’s been working professional for the last seven years during which time, he has produced a body of work that focuses primarily on mental health, identity and relationships. Through zines, posters, patches, prints and books, he hopes to better understand his communities and the spaces he occupies within them. 
  • Derick Brooks is a cartoonist from Virginia working in animation and publishing. He loves to create sci-fi and fantasy stories with a slice of life. He’s currently in production of his first graphic novel Grip Up! (Iron Circus Comics) coming in 2022. 
  • Ellie Erhart is an illustrator, designer, and cartoonist set to graduate from VCU with a BFA in Communication Arts in May 2020. Her art plays with bringing elements of fantasy into everyday life, and the modern frustrations of everyday life into fantasy. Ellie’s focus is making art for kids that doesn’t ever talk down to them.
  • Erin Joo is a Korean-American illustrator and cartoonist who has a soft spot for all magical creatures, especially dragons. Her works often feature modern fantasy worlds with soft visuals, tied together with a warm palette. She is currently a staff illustrator on Commonwealth Times, where she publishes weekly comics. 
  • Jamie Douglas is an illustrator, designer and obsessive sketch-booker living in Richmond. Whether based in personal experience or plucked from impossible dreamscapes, Jamie’s art is always narrative, and it is often full of bad jokes.  
  • Jamie Knierim is a Communication Arts senior specializing in comics. In his free time he likes hiking and heaping love upon his cat.
  • Jeffrey Black is a Richmond-based cartoonist and illustrator and Communication Arts major at VCU. Their work focuses on storytelling and humor as well as over-done gay themes and aesthetics.  
  • Karly Andersen is an illustrator and cartoonist based in Richmond. Her work is mainly narrative based that focuses on incorporating a whimsical, fantasy feeling. She is in her final year at VCU, working toward her BFA in communication arts. 
  • Katie Deal is a Communication Arts graduate who specializes in horror and vintage themed art. She loves to write and illustrate scary stories, as well as cutest portraits and pinup designs. When she was a kid she always dreamed of writing horror novels and illustrating books. She loves her real cats as well as her collection of antique porcelain kitties. 
  • Ky Williams is a character designer illustrator, comic maker and student currently living in Richmond. He loves to illustrate bright and  action packed worlds full of unique characters. However his main goal is to tell stories that a reader can relate to no matter where it takes place and who is in it. 
  • Lauren Johnson is a full-time student majoring in Communication Arts at VCU School of the Arts. 
  • Maggie Colangelo is a student and artist in Richmond. A sophomore at VCU, Maggie is studying her two favorite things in the world: art and the environment. A lot of her artwork has its roots in nature, mixed with her  enjoyment of fantasy. 
  • Mai Lan Ireland is an illustrator who loves slice of life stories. She is inspired by intricate visual development art and loves to focus on small details to make a piece unique. She is also a printmaker who loves how versatile risographs and screen printing are and tends to use dogs in her prints to talk about mental health.  
  • Mary Kate Montgomery is a native to Richmond, where she lives and works as an illustrator and educator. She is a graduate from the art and design program at Virginia Commonwealth University and is pursuing her graduate degree in elementary education at the University of Richmond.
  • Meghan Bright is a senior majoring in Communication Arts with a minor in Painting and Printmaking at VCU. She specializes in digital art as well as screen printing, bridging the gap between the two mediums as well as worlds of fine art and commercial art. While characters and narrative have always played a large role in her work, she also loves to experiment and push her art in new and exciting directions. 
  • Morgan Barnett is an illustrator and visual development artist, specializing in works for animation and graphic novels. She primarily aims at uplifting what have been traditionally referred to as “cartoons” from the concept of a genre for children, to a medium, with work containing themes, stories and aesthetics for people of all interests and ages.
  • Paulina Ganucheau is a comic artist and illustrator based in Maryland. She graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in sequential art. She is the co-creator of Zodiac Starforce and Another Castle. Her hobbies include watching pro-wrestling, cloud photography and following cats on Instagram.
  • Ruth Wirwar is a tattoo artist, illustrator and writer who loves all things gross. The purpose of her work is to invite people to reckon with uncomfortable truths; to find ways to coexist with the icky, the scary, and the other, and to let it sit inside the skin.
  • Sammy Newman is an illustrator and cartoonist from Damascus, Maryland. She currently lives in Richmond, where she is pursuing a BFA in Communication Arts. Sammy’s life goal is to make pictures that are fun and impactful. She makes editorial illustrations that are impactful (and hopefully fun) and children’s illustrations that are fun (and hopefully impactful). 
  • Scott Wegener is the artist and co-creator of the multiple Eisner Award Nominated ATOMIC ROBO. In addition to his personal work, Scott has created comics for Disney/Marvel Entertainment, Image Comics, IDW Publishing. He is also the illustrator of Spy on History: Victor Dowd and the World War II Ghost Army, published by Workman Press -boy was that a mouthful! Scott is also an adjunct professor for VCU Communication Arts Dept. He lives in Richmond with his wife and a dog named Hedgehog.
  • Shannon Spence is a woodcut printmaker by training and dabbles in comics art. Her subjects are usually furry, clawed, and primal, but can be cute at times. She prefers to use animals and beasts in her work to convey feelings she otherwise wouldn’t be able to convey. She also creates daily comics featuring her ambiguous animal protagonist, “little dude”.
  • Stephen Kissel is an illustrator living in Lynchburg with his energetic cat. Whatever project he takes on, his aim is to bring a bright, playful enthusiasm. When not making things, he might be found searching for the perfect bagel, browsing various antique shops, or teaching classes at his job with a local non-profit.
  • Tori Huynh is a freelance art director in Los Angeles making movie posters during the day, and podcasting at night with her best friends on “The Last Adventure.”
Categories Alumni, Comic Arts, Community, exhibits, Faculty/Staff, News, Seen in the Library, Students, The Cabell Big Screen