By Koi Germany, Jr
In a corner of Thomas Hunter Hall’s first floor, not from the security desk, lies a faded, burnt orange door. A slightly torn sign taped upon it reads, Media Board.
Faint giggles and murmuring can be heard from outside. A light rap on the door by this reporter was greeted by the club’s president, Kaliroi Halkias, 21, a media sltudies major from Astoria, Queens. The room is shared by several student clubs, though on the day that this reporter paid a visit it is occupied by the members of Hunter Hero Comics, a comic and graphic novel anthology since 2013.
The dimly lit space is narrow, no wider than 10 feet, with high ceilings, providing just enough room to house a few chairs and a two-seat couch. Shelves containing drawing handbooks, previous issues and notables works of graphic literature including the wildly popular Japanese comic Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and the Internet series Cyanide & Happiness line the otherwise drab grey walls.
Four members, including Halkias, were present at the time, each situated at or around one of the room’s three computers.
“Typically, meetings are very chill. Everyone is encouraged to draw and hang out while something plays in the projector in the background,” said Halkias, who wore a striped purple and white shirt, pink diamond-patterned skirt and black ballet flats with matching stockings. As president, she organizes tutorial workshops, club meetings and handles clerical duties for the team of 20.
Meetings are usually held on Wednesday afternoons in Room 404 of Hunter’s West Building, according to Halkias. On off days, however, members gather in the media boardroom to complete homework assignments, converse and catch up on projects for the anthology’s latest issue.
One member, Hubert Ye, 22, a math major from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, worked from his personal laptop while stationed at a computer, busily readjusting the line work in a few Japanese-styled comic panels.
“If this club wasn’t here, my drawing skills would not have accelerated as fast,” said Ye, dressed in a North Face parka, baggy beige cargo pants and worn New Balance footwear. A regular contributor, he began hand drawing in the sixth grade and transitioned into digital art in his senior year of high school. He creates his comics using programs such as GIMP, Photoshop and Disney Academy.
Submissions vary in style though, ranging from detailed anatomical models to stick figures and sketches and come from both members and digital contributors via the club’s website. Works selected to be published are compiled into the program InDesign, arranged digitally into a traditional comic book format and sent to a printer who then offers a quote.
However, not all members contribute.
Matthew Green, 21, a computer science major from West Harlem was drawn in by the content, rather than the opportunity to be published. “There was just a tabling event and I really like free comics,” he said.
Green considers himself an extra hand during club meetings and a volunteer of sorts. “Even though I don’t actively contribute, it’s still a welcoming atmosphere,” he also said.
“I care about our members and I feel rewarded by helping them, Halkias said, reflecting on her duties, “. . . even if it’s just giving them a classroom to draw in for two hours.”
Koi Germany, Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org