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Introducing Art Ducko — the U of O's first comic magazine



The University of Oregon finally has its own comic book publication.

Art Ducko had its official release party Friday at the Mills International Center. The comic publication features unique art and writing from students at the UO.

The new publication was in the works last year when Alex Milshtein, editor in chief, approached Ben Saunders, program director of the comic studies program, with the idea.

“The inspiration came from MAD Magazine,” said Milshtein. “I’ve been reading it since I was a kid, and if you look at MAD Magazine, we basically took the format from MAD Magazine.”

Slowly but surely people became aware of the new project.

Saunders, the “sugar daddy” of Art Ducko, contacted everyone in the comic studies minor to reel in anyone who would be interested. Editors, writers and artists like Erick Wonderly were all picked up during the year-long start-up.

Wonderly was approached by Saunders when he was a part of the arts, culture and comics class fall term.

“Wool Over the Eyes” is Wonderly’s first work to be published, and although he is excited, he looks at the printing of his work and Art Ducko itself in a bigger light.

“It feels exhilarating for me. It feels me up with a certain energy,” said Wonderly. “Other people are seeing (my comics) and they can either like or dislike it, but I think its’s good. The more exposure people have to comics and cartooning the more it’ll be considered an art form.”

Milshtein’s goal in starting up Art Ducko was to showcase the talented artist and writers at Oregon. Art Ducko’s content is not restricted, opening up the opportunity for anyone to submit in work.

There are no restrictions, in the kinds of comics they publish. Part of the inspiration behind the openness of the work came from Milshtein’s own experiences. “I was a cartoonist myself, and I had a lot of trouble getting my cartoons in other publications,” said Milshtein. “It was impossible… (And other artists) couldn’t panel in, much less full length six page narratives.”

The end goal is to advance the culture of comics on campus. Oregon is the only school in the country that offers an undergraduate minor in comic studies, and an entire collection of original comic books from the 1940s lies in the Knight Library,.

But those already in the comic community want more.

“I’d love to see some courses that link twentieth-century comics to the larger history of graphic satire and caricature, or on the history of newspaper strips or editorial cartoons,” said Saunders. “And of course there are whole genres of graphic narrative worth exploring in greater depth – from science fiction to memoir to investigative journalism to superheroes.”

Wonderly adds:”Comics are art, and art is the mirror and the sculpture of a society’s culture.”

Email Alex Milshtein at [email protected] for more information on being a part of Art Ducko.

Follow Mike Mendoza on Twitter @MikeWheresIke

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