Emmy Misail has always loved comics and superheroes, thanks to her dad, who has a terrific collection of “The Far Side,” “Calvin and Hobbes” and “Life in Hell” books.
Now the honors English major is launching her own comic strip in The Connector student newspaper, thanks to a $1,200 Honors College student fellowship and mentoring from Assoc. Prof. of Art and Design Karen Roehr.
“Student Groans” features a college student, Bun, and her “anxiety animal,” Rabbit. The style of drawing is reminiscent of Matt Groening, creator of “Life in Hell” and “The Simpsons.”
“It’s loosely based on my experiences,” Misail says.
Misail has been drawing her own comics for a while, as a hobby. Then she took an honors seminar on the graphic novel from Roehr in the spring semester of her sophomore year. At the end, she asked Roehr how she could continue pursuing her dream of becoming a published cartoonist.
Roehr suggested she apply for an honors fellowship and offered to be her advisor. Misail’s clever application took the form of a cartoon – and she was awarded the Robert J. Lechner Endowed Creativity Fellowship.
“It’s a huge help financially, and I’m getting paid for something I’d do anyway, so it’s fantastic,” she says.
Now she meets with Roehr once a week for a critique session.
“Professor Roehr is amazing,” Misail says. “She’s always pushing me to think differently about things, to test boundaries.”
So why is Misail an English major with a concentration in journalism and professional writing, instead of an art major?
“I think journalism and professional writing offer a really broad range of pathways to choose from,” she says. “It helps me with my comics, too. You need to write clearly and be able to organize your thoughts efficiently and effectively.”