In a new program launched by the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, renowned U.S. comic book creators will travel to Georgia to teach youth how to creatively share stories through the unique and engaging art form of comic books.
This summer, America’s first ever “comic book ambassadors” to Georgia – the illustrator David Mack (Daredevil, Alias, Kabuki) and the writer Van Jensen (The Flash, Green Lantern Corps, Cryptocracy) – will work with a talented team of Georgian college and high school students to create their own comic book.
Van Jensen will visit in May, holding workshops to teach the ins and outs of storytelling and scripting. He will also meet with Georgian publishers, talk to students at a Peace Corps summer camp, take part in Georgia’s International Literature Festival, and visit internally displaced persons at the Tserovani settlement camp.
David Mack will visit in June. In an effort to inspire new artists, he will hold an exhibit showcasing his unique style of visual storytelling. He will work with Georgian students to finalize their character designs, page layouts, pencils and inks for their comic book. He will also hold a master class with deaf and hearing-impaired students at a Tbilisi boarding school.
Empower Women, a student group at the Tbilisi campus of San Diego State University, will create the Georgian comic book. The students will ensure the comic book promotes teamwork, inclusion, gender equality, and non-violence. Empower Women has already selected student writers and illustrators to write and draw the book, and the U.S. Embassy will support the printing and distribution of its first issue, which will be given out free of charge to students in rural areas of Georgai. The project has already begun with a series of public workshops by the renowned Georgian writer Nikoloz Khomasuridze, creator of the first-ever Georgian comic book Amirani.
Georgia has a long, rich tradition of art, but comic books are relatively new to the country. With comic books fueling the boom in superhero films and TV programs, Georgian artists are eager to write their own stories but need technical skills to get started. During their visit to Georgia, America’s “comic book ambassadors” will share their extensive experience in the field. They will also highlight the importance of comic books as a form of expression, entertainment, and economic income, encouraging youth to view visual storytelling and comic books as an avenue to be heroic in their own, unique ways.