Will Betke-Brunswick makes comics that blend the do-it-yourself aesthetic of a zine with the punchy-one-liner vibe of a New Yorker comic.
“I like to make comics and zines about things that are emotionally charged or complicated,” says the nonbinary artist, who uses they/them pronouns. “[I make comics about] subjects that people have a lot of feelings about because [comics] can make it more accessible.”
Like the following set of panels dealing with SROs, or student resource officers, in public schools around the country, including here in Boulder County. Betke-Brunswick created the panels as a participant of the pilot TRENDS Reporting Fellowship program, a partnership between the Community Foundation and KGNU Radio. Betke-Brunswick joined 10 other fellows for the fall-to-spring program, which placed a focus on bringing diverse voices into journalism, and gave participants the chance to learn new reporting techniques and produce stories around pressing community issues.
“Many people have been credited with the old saying, ‘I wish I had time to write a shorter letter,’” says Chris Barge, vice president of communications and engagement for the Community Foundation. “I think what Will pulls off in four frames in a panel is that shorter letter. I think that the medium (comics) lends itself well to editorial opinion. What they do is really inhabit the same space with their graphic illustration that a columnist would at a metropolitan newspaper. It is opinionated and reported out. In their case it’s also drawn out.” —Caitlin Rockett