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A Life Too Brief

Last year, when Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) invited Scott Kurtz and I out to give a lecture, we had the good fortune to get to know Professor Jeremy Mullins. Jeremy was instrumental in bringing us out after hearing one of our talks in San Diego, and could not have been a more gracious a host once in Savannah. He gave up his own days off to ferry Scott, myself, and our families around Savannah…showing us the sites that only locals would know, touring us around SCAD’s facilities, talking shop and cartooning technique with us, and sharing a few meals and many laughs.

Jeremy invited me into two of his classes to give the students critiques and feedback on their work, and I could tell just how highly Jeremy’s students thought of him. He really gave them his all, as a teacher…really did everything he could to fire them up about cartooning, give them the tools they needed, and prepare them for the real world. It was an honor to share a classroom with him.

Last month, SCAD, myself, and everyone who ever met him were shocked and saddened to hear about Jeremy’s untimely death. It really broke my heart in the way that only a young death can. Jeremy had so much life stretching before him: So many projects of his own to work on, so many students left to teach, so many things large and small to tackle in life. He will be greatly missed. And yet, there’s some comfort in knowing how many students there are who are better off for his presence in their life.

Jeremy was always thinking about his students. Always thinking about how he could give them real-world experience in an industry that rarely presents younger cartoonists with those opportunities. When I was at SCAD, Jeremy asked if I’d be willing to take in an intern from among his seniors or grad students…and I happily agreed. One, because Jeremy’s energy was infectious, and two, because I myself was given a wonderful internship by Mr. Bob Kittle of the San Diego Union-Tribune when I was young, and I feel a real responsibility to pay that good will — that kindness — forward. Internships can be a wonderful, eye-opening thing for a young artist. It was very much the case for me.

This is a long way of saying that, thanks to the energy of Professor Jeremy Mullins, I’ve been happy to welcome Cari Corene into the studio for a three-month internship. There were many wonderful applicants for the internship from Jeremy’s students, and it was impossibly difficult to choose beween them. But Cari’s written statement and subsequent interview stood out. And her art style is really quite wonderful: The grace of European cartooning infused with the funkiness of Japanese manga. Cari, you’ll be happy to know, colored this Sunday’s strip…and will probably do a few more before the three months are up. (If you like her work on Sunday, take a second to let her know. I’m sure she’d appreciate that.)

It’s fitting, I think, that one of the last things Jeremy did was help make this internship happen for Cari. He really worked to bring the cartooning world to his students, and his students out into the world…and this is such a nice example of that.

Jeremy, you will be missed.

SCAD, by the way, has set up a special arts scholarship in Jeremy’s name. If you’d like to support a future artist in their studies, here’s the information:

Jeremy Mullins Sequential Art Scholarship

Savannah College of Art and Design

P.O. Box 3146

Savannah, GA 31402-3146

For more information, call the institutional advancement department at (912) 525-5868.