On October 28, 2021, comics creators Juni Ba (Djeliya), Svetlana Chmakova (Awkward, The Weirn Books, Dramacon), and Joseph Illidge (MPLS Sound, Heavy Metal), shared insights on their work, the unique power of comics and manga, and the important role libraries play in developing and nurturing new readers. This 60-minute conversation was moderated by LibraryPass’ Guy LeCharles Gonzalez.

View the full archived recording here. After viewing, download your Certificate of Completion.


Juni Ba, writer, artist, and letterer of Djeliya for TKO Studios, is an illustrator and writer hailing from Senegal and France. His current works include the Kayin and Abeni miniseries and the Monkey Meat stories, both published by Kugali. He’s also a cover artist with works for Skybound and IDW. His artistic fuel is mostly based on orange juice.

Svetlana Chmakova was born and raised in Russia until the age of 16, when her family emigrated to Canada. She quickly made a name for herself with works like Dramacon, Nightschool, the manga adaptation of James Patterson’s Witch & Wizard, and the webcomic Chasing Rainbows. She graduated from Sheridan College with a three-year Classical Animation Diploma. Her latest work for middle grade readers, Awkward, has been a runaway critical success and was named one of YALSA’s 2016 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens!

Joseph Illidge is the Executive Editor for Heavy Metal, the seminal illustrated magazine and brand for science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and co-author of MPLS Sound, the story of a fictional 80s Minneapolis rock and funk group competing to become the quintessential band for Prince. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and the recipient of a Citation from the New York State Assembly for exemplary community service through career achievement.