UMES hosts local comic book art show

PRINCESS ANNE POW! Action characters come to life on the pages of books by indie comic publishers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Their epic tales in sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, romance, horror and drama genres will be featured in an exhibit at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The exhibit runs through Nov. 8. in the Mosely Gallery.

Each of the artists discovered a passion for drawing in childhood and have been producing art and published work since, according to Susan Holt, the newly named director of the Mosely Gallery. “Comic book art is a form of sequential art which refers to a series of images done in sequence to tell a story.” Holt said the term can also be applied to other media such as film, animation and storyboards.

The unique aspect of the show, she said, is a wall outlining the process of sequential art “from beginning ideas that could be drawn on a napkin to pencil drawings, inking and the final product done with computer graphics and ready for publication.”

Works from Coldstream Studios, home to Draxx and the action-girl character Rocket Girl, founded by Brad Hudson, an assistant professor in UMES’ Department of Fine Arts, will be in the show. Hudson is also the director of the sequential arts program in graphic illustration within the department.

“Since coming to UMES, I found that many of the art students shared an interest in comics,” Hudson said. “They wanted to study and learn the processes of sequential arts, so I initiated classes and continued the program’s growth until it was approved in 2009.” Since then, Hudson said, the concentration has expanded considerably. Student-artists accompanied by Hudson also attend Comic Cons (events for artists and fans of comics) to network and sell their works.

Michael Carmean of MC Comics, whose works will be on exhibit, defines his passion in the following statement: “I not only give my characters lines, colors and environments—I give them life. It’s not enough to create characters in the nature of good and evil, you have to take a piece of yourself and breathe life into them.”

Brothers Josh and Mathew Shockley (UMES alums), together with James Dufendach, all Snow Hill natives, comprise PLB Comics. This local trio exhibits at many comic book events, such as Baltimore Comic Con, First State Comic Con, Collector's Con and Underground Comic Con, Holt said. They also help the student A.C.T.I.O.N Anime Society present the Eastern Shore Fan Con at UMES each spring. PLB, with 11 books in print, participates in local events such as Salisbury 3rd Fridays and Salisbury Roller Girls bouts.

Doug Draper, a widely published, award-winning artist who graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, will display his art in UMES’ show. Draper is currently the lead artist for a community project creating a 30 x 5 foot mural for the Wicomico County Public Library, Holt said.

Two other artists round out the event. Jason McKee of Salisbury is a free-lance artist specializing in many mediums, although his favorite is still pencil and paper, he said. Ryan Thompson of Cailean Works, draws comics “all day, all the time” and is influenced by Japanese and European cartooning.

Artists will display their portfolios and have comic books, art prints and commissions available for purchase during the reception. Call 410-651-7770 or visit for more information.

— Gail Stephens, assistant director, Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580,