The Inimitable Hillary Chute

Hillary Chute’s work has obviously and powerfully shaped the comics form.”

– Tahneer Oksman

Hillary Chute was selected by Russ Kick to be one of the honorees at the second annual “Push & Kick Awards,” for her incredible work as an artist and as a writer. Hillary Chute’s friend and colleague Tahneer Oksman was in attendance and accepted the award on Hillary’s behalf. In her speech at The Society of Illustrators, Oksman praised Chute’s “careful theorizing on the “secret language” of comics, her fascinating interviews, her creative collaborations… and her work as a mentor, a scholar, a teacher, a writer, a fan, a colleague, and a critic. Her enthusiasm for better understanding and appreciating the world of comics—and her ability to blow that world wide open, for those both inside and outside of academia—is what has made her such an influential and inspirational figure for so many of us, who are here today because of a shared love of this form.”

Hillary has been writing about comics in a wide range of magazines and newspapers (including the Village Voice, The Believer Magazine, ArtForum, Poetry Magazine). Chute is the author of Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics. Chute writes that this book “argues that the medium of comics has opened up new spaces for nonfiction narrative—particularly for expressing certain kinds of stories typically relegated to the realm of the private.” For academics, this book has been pathbreaking.


Oksman went on to say that “in the introduction to her recent book of interviews with cartoonists, Outside the Box, Hillary wrote that what was “exhilarating” for her about conducting those interviews, was that “they capture moments of practitioners reflecting on the form as it is being shaped in contemporary culture.”

outside the box cover_0

This sense of artistic immediacy was also a part of what made the award ceremony and the Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature artwork exhibition such a success.

Tahneer Oksman is Assistant Professor and Director of the Academic Writing Program at Marymount Manhattan College. Her book on Jewish women’s identity in contemporary graphic memoirs is forthcoming from the Gender and Culture Series at Columbia University Press.