The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UI comic book magazine promotes student artists and writers

After forming last winter, Cease and Desist became the first UI literary magazine to focus on comics. The young club seeks to promote a sense of community as they blend the mediums of writing and artwork.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Comic books are seen on display at Daydreams Comics in Iowa City on Thursday, April 1.

Starting up a new literary magazine can be a difficult and time-consuming ordeal, filled with many challenges along the way.

It was worth it, however, for the University of Iowa students behind Cease and Desist Comics, the new and only campus magazine focused on comics.

President C.J. Tunink said the magazine, which originally started as a club, was created when he and other members saw the potential for student-created comics in the area. With the success of comic shops in Iowa City like Daydreams Comics, it was clear to them the zine would resonate with a local audience.

Cease and Desist Comics started in the winter of 2023 and has continued to grow ever since.

“We knew that we had a huge writing advantage here. There are a lot of writers and artists that we wanted to seek out and collaborate with,” Tunink said. “So that led us to form our literary magazine, which we are still getting off the ground.”

Club vice president Maggie Militello said creating the magazine brings a new form of writing and artwork to campus, one they felt needed to be added to other literary magazines.

“There’s no other publisher on campus for comics. You have Earthwords, Snapshots, Fools — magazines like that, but nothing really like us,” she said.

While the comic-focused magazine has yet to publish its first issue, the club’s creative teams are currently focused on developing their vision of what a first issue would look like. The staff hopes to release its inaugural issue sometime during the fall 2024 semester.

Both Tunink and Militello said the club accepts just about any art style and works with anyone who wants to be published. During meetings, several of the publication’s art editors collaborate with hopeful artists to nail down their particular style.

The publication’s lead art editor Kian Pfannenstiel joined Cease and Desist Comics simply because he liked comic books. However, Pfannenstiel found a sense of community in the club.

“We have a lot of different avenues that people can take to explore their artistic interests and a lot of very different discussions to have,” Pfannenstiel said. “Being the only comic book club on campus, I would hope that it gets some recognition, as comics become a more recognized art form.”

Pfannenstiel’s primary role as the art editor is to organize and recruit other art editors and the editorial department. He is also actively involved in organizing club events and enjoys pitching in whenever needed.

In particular, he enjoys the publication’s weekly book club, which meets on Saturdays in the Main Library.

“We read graphic novels, comic books, things like that,” Pfannenstiel said. “I think we meet more regularly than your typical book club.”

Pfannenstiel described comic books as his “favorite form of narrative.” With comics, unlike movies or television shows, he enjoys having the ability to pause and observe the action, focusing on each panel and controlling the pace of the story.

“The writer and artist have a strong control over the narrative flow. They can make your eyes move across the page in different patterns, which is also something a lot of poets have explored by shaping their poems on the page differently,” he said. “This informs how the story is told.”

Blending the mediums of artwork and storyline can also add to the appeal of comics. Seeing emotional and impactful moments on the page instead of only reading about them can create a strong sense of connection within readers.

“If you want to be involved in getting your story published, or your art published, we’ve got you covered, but if you don’t — we still got you covered,” Pfannenstiel said of his club.

Jackson Palmer, who works at Daydreams Comics in downtown Iowa City, has seen several of Cease and Desist Comics’ posters up around town.

While attending the UI in 2020, Palmer was part of a comic club himself, where he and many of the other members got together to read and enjoy comics every week. He has since channeled his passion for comic books into his job at Daydreams, where he both works with customers and restocks new comic books.

“People just talking about art and artists is always a positive,” he said. “And it’s especially cool when they have something to channel that into, like a literary magazine.”

Members are encouraged to simply “jump in” if they have any interest in joining the magazine. The hiring process for editors will occur next fall when Tunink and Militello determine the new leadership team.

As president, Tunink hopes that his publication will make a positive impact on campus.

“I think there’s a lot we can do with comics, and I don’t think it’s necessarily appreciated — like other mediums are,” Tunink said. “I’d like to see us become a lasting literary magazine on campus.”

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About the Contributors
Riley Dunn
Riley Dunn, Arts Reporter
Riley Dunn is a first-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in English and Creative Writing and Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to her time at the DI, Riley interned for Swimming World Magazine.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.