The news site of Madison Area Technical College

The Clarion

Talking comics with Jeff Butler: Cartooning and comics offer a way to combine storytelling with artistry

Madison+College+instructor+Jeff+Butler+has+been+working+with+the+comic+book+industry+since+the+1980s.
Madison College instructor Jeff Butler has been working with the comic book industry since the 1980s.

Madison College instructor Jeff Butler has been working with the comic book industry since the 1980s.

Matt Withers / Clarion

Matt Withers / Clarion

Madison College instructor Jeff Butler has been working with the comic book industry since the 1980s.

Matt Withers, Arts Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The world of comics has come a long way from its origins in the ‘60s. Comic books and superheroes went from a niche genre to the biggest blockbuster events of the year.

To get a perspective on the rise of comics I spoke to one of Madison College’s art teachers, Jeff Butler, about his experience in comics and why he continues to teach the medium to others.

Butler teaches multiple classes at Madison College including Digital Comic Art, Polymer Clay Sculpting, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Art, Intro to Cartooning, as well as a Fundamental Arts class.

Butler has been working within the industry since the early ‘80s. He helped create the Madison based superhero “The Badger” along with writer Mike Baron. When speaking to Butler about his teaching at Madison College, he said that he wanted to offer his experience to another generation of students and anybody else who was interested.

When asked about his take on modern comics compared to those in the ‘80s, Butler admitted that he didn’t read many comics from the big two anymore (DC and Marvel Comics). He laments that today’s comics seem focused around events that cut between books rather than the small character centered stories that he grew up with.

“I’m a fan of the smaller stories…the ones where you can get in and out within a few issues…after a while it gets too convoluted,” he said.

Butler watched the comic industry make a turn into darker stories after Alan Moore’s revolutionary work on Watchmen.

“It was enjoyable but after Watchmen I had to ask myself where do you go from here? How do you make superhero comics after Watchmen?” Butler said.

For Butler, the rise of comics has been a double-edged sword. The characters he loves have broken into the mainstream, but Butler feels that in trying to become more in line with the movies, the comics
started losing some of the artistry that made him fall in love with the genre.

“One of the reasons I teach cartooning and comic art … is now you can tell your own stories. You don’t have to be tied with the big two, and that’s what’s exciting for me as a teacher,” he said.

Butler said when asked if the superhero boom had inspired new artists to join his class. Butler feels like there is an artistry in the comic book medium that no other genre quite has. He mentions how “once it gets its hooks into you there’s no getting out.”

Whether you are looking to break out and join one of the big two, you have your own idea for a story, or if you’re just looking to improve upon your artwork Butler says he wants to help you develop your talents. “I wanted to promote the medium of visual story telling… and if people are interested, and have their own little stories to tell, I want to help them do that.”

You can check out some of Butler’s artwork at jeff-butler.com, or look into any of his many classes at Madison College.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
The news site of Madison Area Technical College
Talking comics with Jeff Butler: Cartooning and comics offer a way to combine storytelling with artistry