Saturday, May 19, 2012

New Year, Same Mission

Last month, Cartoon Allies had its wildest end-of-the-year in recent history. Fresh Meat, our student comics festival, is traditionally CA's final operation before the summer. This year, Fresh Meat's 10th anniversary celebration was only a prelude to MoCCA Fest, creating a wild cacophony of comics among finals and portfolio reviews.

In the madness of it all, we were not able to formally pass the torch. Newly promoted Vice President Kou Chen and I joined our fearless leader Hilary Allison for one final round of jam comics at her apartment, but there were many things left unsaid.

Cartoon Allies has played an integral role in my time as a cartoonist at SVA. As a freshman, I followed fliers in the GW to a madhouse of upperclassmen and comicholics, my only connection to the rest of the department during my exile to Foundation Year. Fast forward to my first Fresh Meat, to which I arrived late with only a dummy copy of Nuclear Fiction v1.0, where my partner-in-crime Adrian James and I were invited to become CA officers. A few months later, I found myself under the tutelage of Hilary Allison, chatting up "cool famous people" at my first SPX and struggling to keep up with CA's constant barrage of emails. With our fantastic president and co-kings Allison Strejlau, Megan Brennan, and Rel, we pushed for making CA a greater resource for cartoonists, put together the constantly-flailing CA blog, and marched into another great Fresh Meat that I skipped my Western Civ final for (sophomore year was not my personal best). Hilary was promoted to president, I became VP (but kept my rank of Major), and we invited Kou, Matt Clark, Hayley Weber, and Emily Kay Jay into our ranks. Together, we established a new foundation of events and programs to further enrich our department, resulting in our most ambitious and arduous year yet.

As long as I've known Hilary, she's been a radiant beacon of dedication and enthusiasm. She's the definition of a dependable leader and friend; when she accepts a task, she will see it through with all of her effort behind it. And even when she has heavy bags under her eyes and she's buckling under pressure, she'll give you a smile that's genuine. As both a cartoonist and president of Cartoon Allies, she has been full of ideas and focused on self-betterment, treating every action with a commendable level of social awareness. She's never been a preacher or authoritarian; she leads by example and tries to be the best person she can possibly be.

With her graduation, our school has lost one if its most ardent and giving pupils. I have no reason to doubt that Hilary will bring her positivity and progressiveness to the greater comicsphere, but damn, she is going to be a hard act to follow.

In terms of workload, I'm not afraid of becoming president (or Major General, as we prefer internally), already used to putting way more hours into this organization than I do my actual classes. But I'm inheriting a treasured legacy from Hilary, Megan, Rel, Allison, Pat Woodruff, and everyone else who has led this force. I thank them all for their dedication to Cartoon Allies' success and growth, and for providing spectacular examples for me to follow. I hope I can do justice to their legacy and continue to push this organization beyond the boundaries of our department and school. Cartoon Allies is a bastion for new ideas, collaboration, and revolution in comics. This is my generation, and I will do everything in my power to provide the resources we need to make fantastic comics, be caring and ambitious people, and have a blast while we do it.

Beginning this week, we're launching new summer programs, including the Keep It Steady Initiative for helping students get work done over the summer, and our new student promotion initiative on Tumblr. This is only the beginning of what I hope to be our most exciting year yet.

Thank you, Allies, for staying strong. We hope you'll help us build another stellar year at the School of Visual Arts. We are nothing without the will of cartoonists.

- Major General Eric Alexander Arroyo

Eric Alexander Arroyo is a hot-blooded senior who wears a fedora, digs giant robots, and obsesses over flowing scarves. He's spent his life wandering Florida and Las Vegas, and hopes to find an apartment in the bowels of a volcano. Although he's training to be a cartoonist, he'd rather be a crime-fighting cyborg when he grows up.


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