Top 10 College Newspaper Comics
Comics like Dan Cagle and Charles Schulz are well known for their comics in high profile newspapers. But hiding between the pages of college newspapers lies incredible, often undiscovered, talent. College newspaper comics have the potential to share tremendous insight, youthful humor, and talent beyond the university level. Some college comic writers even win awards and go on to become professional newspaper comics. Read on, and you’ll be able to discover 10 awesome, hilarious, and insightful comics that just might be gracing the pages of a campus near you.
The University of Tennessee’s Daily Beacon is home to Alex Cline’s comic, Scrambled Eggs. It’s simply drawn, but insightful, offering quick, funny looks at everything from sexual puzzles to pizzas enjoying family time. Cline doesn’t seem to be making any bold political statements; rather, his comic is an enjoyable and amusing distraction from college life.
In The Ferris State Torch, John Vestevich shares his views on college life, including friendships, social media addictions, college drudgery, and even sorority drinking. Vestevich’s September 14th, 2011 entry came under fire, as he poked fun at the humor of wearing a shirt touting “class” while hugging a toilet. But despite his sometimes controversial view, Vestevich won the Charles Schulz award for best college cartoonist in 2011, earning $10,000 and a plaque.
Josh Ferrin is another John Locher Memorial Award winner for Best College Cartoonist of the Year. His insightful work appeared in the Daily Utah Chronicle at the University of Utah. Although Ferrin had plans to attend law school, he turned his “habit of doodling in class” into a career, working as a professional illustrator and author. Like so many other great comics, Ferrin has been misunderstood, most notably when he drew a cartoon that seemed to equate gay marriage with bestiality.
Another controversial college cartoonist, Rashad Baiyasi of Delta College, is nonetheless winning awards for his work. Comics by Rashad features colorful, amusing commentary on current events and political correctness. He upset the city of Saginaw, MI with a cartoon depicting it as a place for drinking, drugs, and violence (with a little bit of art). The comic didn’t go over well, but people did agree that the stereotype seemed to fit. Nonetheless, the Michigan Press Association awarded the comic first place in division three colleges, lauding its use of space, images, and sharp messages.
As an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, Sean Polyn wrote the daily strip, Shallow Grave for the university’s student newspaper, The Cavalier Daily. Polyn’s work focuses on absurdism, the corporate scene, and characters from popular culture, including a wookie and cthulhu. He has since graduated with a PhD, but he still writes comics, even working on publications and comic book offerings.
Piled Higher and Deeper is written with grad students in mind, chronicling the life of students in grad school and poking fun at them at the same time. The comic focuses on research and procrastination, and is a great distraction for current, future, and former grad students. The comic is offered free to student newspapers, and is featured at Stanford, MIT, Caltech, and more, spreading the word for grad students everywhere.
Writing for The Eagle at American University in Washington, DC, Nate Beeler is an award winning editorial cartoonist. He shares funny commentary on current events and society, including college students getting high, countries at war, and even pedophilia. Beeler has won the John Locher Memorial Award for his work as the Best College Editorial Cartoonist of the Year. These days, Nate Beeler has continued his cartoon career, drawing political cartoons for the Washington Examiner.
What did Bill Watterson do before creating the beloved Calvin and Hobbes? He drew cartoons for his college newspaper, of course. As a student at Kenyon College, his work appeared in The Kenyon Collegian, revealing a well defined style even in his early years as a comic. Be sure to check out the collection of his college work and enjoy a slice of 70″²s American college life.
Tony Carillo’s deadpan delivery of hilarious situations has earned him a following even beyond his work in the Arizona State University paper. In 2005, MtvU Strips recognized F-Minus as the best college newspaper comic strip in the country, awarding him a six month development deal with United Feature Syndicate, the same house that distributes Dilbert. Carillo’s strip is now featured daily in newspapers around the world.
Before he wrote the amazingly popular Bone, Jeff Smith wrote Thorn a comic strip that ran in the Ohio State University newspaper, The Lantern. The strip introduced many of the characters now found in the Bone series, but these days, getting to see them is difficult if not impossible. Jeff Smith published Thorn: Tales from the Lantern briefly, selling 2,500 copies directly from a campus bookstore and in Columbus, Ohio bookstores, making it incredibly difficult for collectors to get their hands on a copy.