General Update

Elmira Hero Bot Con 2011

A few weeks ago I drove down to Elmira, NY to pick up a friend before heading to Baltimore for their annual comic book convention. We ran through the typical routine of organizing our comics by author/artist/inker, ranking the order in which we’d like to meet the different guests, and ensuring that we had enough water bottles and clif bars to survive the 8 hours of nerdy wandering. Upon closer inspection it was determined that Chris was lacking in the comics department so we decided to drive down the road to the Heroes Your Mom Threw Out Comic Shop. Here we pilfered through back issues to ensure that he had the missing Jason Aaron, Scott Snyder, Stan Sakai, and Barry Kitson items needed for the signature hunt.

While checking out I started to discuss Elmira’s Hero Bot Con with Jared, the owner of the shop. We discussed the different guests and I suggested he contact me to see if I could find a few local people around Syracuse that may be interested in attending. I handed my business card to Jared and he instantly glanced up at me, put out his hand for a shake, and said “I’m so glad I finally got to meet you.” I mechanically shook his hand as I slowly came out of my state of shock. He explained that he was familiar with my documentary, animation, and goofy illustration work and would like me to attend the convention as a guest.

So with that said, I’d like to announce that I will be a guest at Elmira’s Hero Bot Convention.

The guest list is awesome and the only cost to enter is a donation to the Elmira Food Bank.

Check out who will be in attendance:
Khoi Pham – Secretly known as one of “Marvel’s young guns” Khoi has worked on Mighty Avengers and Incredible Hercules. You know he must be cool because he also shares a birthday with Antonio Banderas and yours truly.

Tedd Arnold – Writer and illustrator of the Fly Guy book series (a Theodore Seuss Geisel honor book)

Aaron Kuder -Artist for the Armory Wars comic series by Boom! Studios

Ken Wheaton – Inker for the Simpsons, I Dream Of Jeannie, Popeye Picnic, and Negative Burn comic book series. He is also featured in my Ithacon documentary which can be watched under the Doc./Video Art section of my website.

Andy Wales – Creator and artist on Eclectic Comics. Andy is also am educator and fine artist doing fantastic portrait work

There is also a really nice list of different mini-comic creators and graphic artists who will be present. Plus, there are more to be announced!

If you’re around the area please stop by.

October 8, 2011
Elmira Elks Lodge
300 East Grey Street
Elmira, NY
Cost: 1 canned food donation for the Elmira Food Bank
Doors open at 11AM and the fun ends around 6PM

All of the artists will “wow” you with their talents and I’ll be showcasing my animations, sketching for anyone brave enough to give me a sheet of paper, and creating exquisite corpses with anyone who is up for the challenge. I will also have limited prints, hand decorated vegan brownies, stenciled patches, and possibly even some one of kind skateboard decks for sale (all created with my blood, sweat, and piano hands).

I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am for this event.

Stay pumped,
Ryan Zlomek

P.S. I’m going to start posting more sketches that I’ve done recently to show you what sort of images you can expect from me at the show. Check back and see what shows up.

Here is sketch number 1:

I’ve Got MASS Potential, How About You?

For the past few months I have been focusing all of my attention on academics and the artist side of me has been put on hold. As of today those roles will reverse, at least for a week.

A piece I recently created entitled In Blackest Night will be on display from today (Tuesday April 12, 2011) at 5PM to Friday April 15, 2011 at 9PM in the Visual Studies Gallery in the basement of the Center Of Fine Arts building on University at Buffalo’s North campus (231 Center for the Arts, Buffalo, NY 14260-6020). It is part of the MASS Potential art show for the Department Of Media Study. There are truly some great pieces being displayed from computer games, olfactory research, bar code design, sound installation, and a variety of other project.

My piece is an abstract video installation consisting of a video loop, monitor, and black cloth. The original plan for the piece was devise back in late 2009 but finally was solidified in the past few weeks. I’m pretty excited about the final product.

It looks pretty cool here but even sweeter in person. If you’re in or around Buffalo I highly suggest giving it a glance.

Stay Involved,
Ryan Zlomek

I’m Giving Up My Career As A Personal Trainer

This weekend I attended the 2010 Festival Of Cartoon Art at Ohio State University. The conference happens once every three years in Columbus, OH and is sponsored by the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum which is a phenomenal facility dedicated to comic arts education and research. I had been planning for this conference for months and have to say that it was well worth the wait.

The Festival Of Cartoon Art has been happening for 30 years and provides a nice intimate environment for cartoonists and cartooning enthusiasts to get together and celebrate comic art. Though I have attended a variety of comic art related events this was the first I had ever gone to that put the majority of its emphasis on comic strips which was a welcome change.

The conference started with a variety of presentation by graduate students who had written academic papers about comics starring through the lens of narrative theory. I was in awe at the way in which these students used their unique perspective to explore a variety of comic texts and determine what they could learn from each text. One of my favorite presentations was entitled “Knowing One’s Limits: Metalepsis, Pseudo-liveness and Mediality in Scuola di fumetto (Rat-Man, a hilarious Italian Superhero comic book).”

This presentation enlightened me to a whole new world of vocabulary (try saying metalepsis ten times fast) and managed to explore some interesting conventions that only the comic medium is capable of utilizing.

The conference also marked the 100th anniversary of George Herriman’s Krazy Kat which was a newspaper strip that ran from 1913 to 1944. This was celebrated with another academic panel of paper presentations, a speech by Michael Tisserand (an author who is writing a biography about George Herriman), and a reception at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library And Museum in which they were showcasing a Krazy Kat exhibit. It was inspiring to see the way in which a single comic strip can live on after so many years. If you are not familiar with Krazy Kat I strongly suggest picking up a reprint of the strip at your local library.

The remainder of the conference (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) consisted of presentations by working cartoonists and comic historians as well as numerous opportunities to socialize and network. I would guesstimate that out of the 250 people who attended the conferences about 75% of them are registered in the National Cartoonist Society (NCS). The NCS is a group of cartoonists, often times believed to be elitist in nature, that offer inductions through a rigorous application process. This process verifies that your living comes from cartooning and acceptance to the NCS is determined by the perception other NCS members have of your work. Basically, it is very difficult to join the NCS and only the best of the best are permitted to join. By having the opportunity to surround myself with all of these working NCS professionals I was granted a sneak peek into the life of the working cartoonist and I loved every second of it.

Presentations ranged in topics from the history of DC comics and how to make a living creating web comics without the backing of a newspaper syndicate to a tribute to former King Features Syndicate editor Jay Kennedy who passed away in 2007. The picture above is from the Jay Kennedy Tribute featuring Matt Groening (Life In Hell, The Simpsons, Futurama) , Bill Griffith (Zippy The Pinhead), Patrick McDonell (Mutts), and Brendan Burford (the comics editors for King Features Syndicate). Each presentation was packed with great information but more importantly each gave me a creative rise I had not felt in quite a while. Being jammed into a room with 250 other people that have the same passion as you can change your mentality in an instant and if that collective thought process allots a positive vibe the possibilities are endless.

Throughout the weekend I managed to have discussions about punk bands with Matt Groening and Jen Sorensen, discuss my love of Will Eisner with Bill Holbrook, better understand newspaper syndication through Jan Eliot, and form awesome new friendships with fellow comic lovers Jeremy and Dan Juravich, fellow cynic Stephen Johnson, and fellow filmmaker Joel Schroeder.

The whole weekend left me energized and feeling confident that I was in the right place for once in life. The comics community is the nicest group of people and they truly understand how to support one another. Despite the fact that I was the worst artist in that room, everyone treated me as an equal and encouraged me to start my own comic. With that said I am going to do my best to start another website,, which will hopefully turn into a venue for me to host a weekly webcomic of the same name.

To make a long story short (too late!), this weekend has empowered me and hopefully some great creations should be just over the horizon. After I polish off my animation this week expect some awesomeness.

Stay confident,
Ryan Zlomek

P.S. Since I didn’t fit this into the above writing I think the following information may interest a few of you. The Columbus Museum Of Art had an exhibit featuring all of the original artwork from R. Crumb’s interpretation of The Book Of Genesis.

It was a fascinating exhibit and was my first chance to see Robert Crumb’s art in it’s purest form (seeing as drawings he has done on diner place mats sell for $2,500 a piece I probably will never own any of his work). The man’s line work is always spot on and nothing truly compares to it. I believe the exhibit is traveling between different museums; if you have a chance to see the work I highly suggest it.

Crumb is one crazy visionary.

P.S.S. The other exhibit within the Columbus Museum Of Art was called Furs, Fins, And Feathers which was intended to showcase art that incorporated different animals in a variety of mediums. One of which was a sweet checker board consisting of different colored rubber duckies. If you managed to attain King status your ducky wears a decorative lifeguard tube around his/her neck.

Unfortunately, LA destroyed NY as my buddy Joel managed to kill my ducky platoon.