Featuring  Ezra Claytan Daniels
and Ben Passmore with Vicko Alvarez Vega
and Jessica Campbell

Tuesday, October 9 at 8 PM, Free

The Nightingale is delighted to welcome back Ezra Claytan Daniels as he celebrates the book version of his inventive graphic novel Upgrade Soul. Originally released as an interactive iPhone App, the innovative sci-fi story follows an aging couple in the aftermath of an experimental operation to clone themselves gone awry. Daniels asks probing questions about what shapes our identity -Is it the capability of our mind or the physicality of our bodies? Is a newer, better version of yourself still you? This page-turning graphic novel follows Hank and Molly as they discover the harsh truth that only one version of themselves is fated to survive.

Touring with Daniels is Philadelphia-based cartoonist Ben Passmore reading from his comic-collection released in March of 2018, Your Black Friend and Other  Strangers. Passmore masterfully tackles comics about race, gentrification, the prison system, online dating, gross punks, bad street art, kung fu movie references, beating up God, and lots of other grown-up stuff with refreshing doses of humour and lived relatability. These comics are essential, humorous, and accessible, told through Passmore’s surreal lens in the vibrant full-color hues of New Orleans.

At this event, Ben and Ezra will both present sections of their new releases. Afterwards, they will join Chicago-based  comic artists, Jessica Campbell and Vicko Alvarez Vega in a roundtable discussion about creating comics that address white supremacy, sexism, and xenophobia.

Vicko Alvarez Vega is  a native Tejana that has called Chicago home for 12 years and the creator and illustrator of the ScholaR Comics web and zine series. The comic follows the lives of ScholaR, Rosita, and Masir as they wrap their heads around their own tough realities. ScholaR has a few anger issues, Rosita is learning what it means to be undocumented, and Masir is coming into his own as a mixed race boy who doesn’t feel very “boy-ish”.  Altogether, they’re a reflection of Vicko’s  friends growing up and the childhood stories that we all carry with us as adults. Vicko’s  latest comic zine, “Rosita Gets Scared”, recounts Rosita coming to terms with her fear of deportation. The comic also serves as an activity book to be utilized in classrooms and with youth groups as a tool to encourage culturally relevant social and emotional learning. Weeks into its release, the comic was covered by TelemundoNewsy, and Radio Vocalo, and has been ordered by activists, educators, and parents across the country.

Jessica Campbell is a Canadian artist and humourist based in Chicago, working in comics, fibres, painting, drawing and performance. Her book Hot or Not: 20th Century Male Artists was published by Koyama Press in 2016. She teaches comics and comics history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and DePaul University, and will have a Chicago Works solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2019. Her new graphic novel, XTC69, was released in May 2018.


EZRA CLAYTAN DANIELS is a writer and illustrator based in Los Angeles, CA. His work has been featured at the Fantoche International Animation Festival in Baden, Switzerland, the Fumetto International Comics Festival in Lucerne, Haarlem Stripdagen in the Netherlands, and the Whitney Museum. His new graphic novel, Upgrade Soul, was the recipient of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics.


BEN PASSMORE is a Philadelphia-based cartoonist. He self-publishes DAYGLO AYHOLE, a comic series in equal parts about the apocalypse and anxiety. Ben’s work has appeared in Vice, The Nib, As You Were, Irene, and Felony. His critically acclaimed minicomic, Your Black Friend, was the 2017 Dinky Award winner for Best Minicomic, an Eisner Award nominee for Best One-Shot, and winner of the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Comic.

Programmed by Ezra Claytan Daniels, Christy LeMaster, Kat Sachs, Valentina Manzoni


Filed under: animation, artist in attendance, expanded cinema, Free Screening!, literature, narrative, new media, reading, science, social justice, Uncategorized, video