By Hannah Litvan
Comics journalist Josh Neufeld is coming to Albion College on Oct. 15. He will host a special workshop, give a speech and answer questions in Bobbit’s auditorium at 7p.m. He’s done stories such as “A.D New Orleans after the Deluge,” and “Katrina Came Calling,” both dealing with hurricane Katrina. Neufeld has also written complex stories about the Middle East and other worldly issues.
Neufeld also recently received a Fellowship from University of Michigan and is currently studying there. He has had many interesting experiences through his Fellowship and life. Neufeld also would like to answer questions and talk to people about life as a comic journalist.
What are you going to be doing in Albion?
I am going to talk about work as a journalist and do a workshop with students on comic making. I’m going to go over the history and events in my comics and journalism. I’ll show them a fun exercise where they’ll produce an eight panel comic based off a news event. It’s a great exercise for thinking about how comics work well as starter. I work it down to basic elements then make it interesting with wording and visuals. It gives a spin on things.
What advantages do you see though comic journalism?
I think there are certain things comics do better. It’s a more personal experience, and I feel like the story is better because the reader gets to see the style of the reporter and the artist. Also it’s more insightful because there’s a connection to the characters and the story.
My work “A.D New Orleans after the Deluge” took a very bottom up approach of five real people instead of just a headline. The reader gets a sense of what actually is going on and what being there was like to an extent. I wouldn’t want someone to read my stories then do nothing. I want people to do more research and learn more about the news.
How do you feel about publishing your own work compared to working with and for others?
I like both. I’m someone who gets frustrated doing the same thing for too long. So I do work for myself and other people. What I love about collaboration is you have to reach a middle ground where you both are happy, and then you get a better result than you’d get on your own. You also learn more because you could work on something you normally wouldn’t report on.
Was there any experience working with someone else that you particularly enjoyed?
My favorite work was “The Influencing Machine” with Brooke Gladstone. It’s about social media and journalism, what is thought about and not though about by the public. It was an incredible experience working with her. It was very instrumental in becoming a Fellow.
Have you done any work as a Fellow? Maybe something about the Experience?
I haven’t done any comics because I’ve been learning about the Middle East, studying the Koran, and taking a journalism and ethics class as well. I’m trying to broaden my knowledge to take on bigger projects in the future.
How does it feel to be back in college?
It’s extremely weird. Not only because I’m 20 years older than everyone. But also I went to a small school, so here the classes are huge, and the teachers are more distant. But I’ve been getting a lot out of it. I never anticipated that this would happen. I also get to travel for this study. I’m going to Canada for four days, along with Argentina and Brazil. It’s pretty amazing.
Is there anything you’re currently working on?
Well with the Fellowship, I get to meet a lot of people and government figures. I also get to visit really cool places, but we aren’t allowed to write about it. But it makes sense because the point to learn and not distract ourselves with writing.
Has there been anything you wanted to write, but didn’t have time for?
Autobiography stuff mostly. There was one time when I was in Burma, which has a repressive dictatorship and stuff like secret police. I was on a state department trip. We went to a bizarre concert… I’d like to write about that, but there are a lot of factors now because of my Fellowship and other projects.
photo courtesy of joshcomix.com