I just finished my first real semester at UTEP (not counting a summer session course), and my comics offerings were slim but good. Students in my "Dramatic Modes of the English Language Arts" were asked to read from Big Fat Little Lit and/or the Smithsonian Collection of Comic-Book Stories. Students on my "English Lab" course had the opportunity to craft lesson plans from excerpts from Will Eisner's "Izzy the Cockroach" and the web-comic version of "After the Deluge." I also had an article on graphic novels and the "Genre vs. Format" debate published in The ALAN Review, was part of an NCTE web seminar on teaching graphic novels, was part of 4 presentations on sequential art and literacy at the NCTE national convention, and was a keynote or guest speaker at several state-level NCTE conferences (New Hampshire, Iowa, Oregon and North Carolina).
As full of comics goodness as 2008 was for me and those willing to listen to me, Spring semester and the first half of 09 look to really be buzzing with Carter-crafted graphic novel pedagogy excitement!:
1. I'll have an article on graphic novels in a journal with major circulation that should finally extend the conversation on GN's and education beyond the "phase 1" mode of defining and listing. More on that when it is available, but expect something in March in a journal that reaches almost 110,000 readers.
2. I'll be teaching my "English Lab" course again and will touch on graphic novels in the same ways as mentioned before and in asking students to consider full definitions of text, reading, literacy, and the English Language Arts as defined by NCTE.
3. I'll be offering a special topics graduate-level course entitled "Teaching the Graphic Novel" which will explore research and scholarship on teaching GN's in k-12 settings with multiple student populations. And, of course, we'll be reading great graphic novels -- standards like Maus and Persepolis -- and newer titles like La Perdida, American Widow, and The Education of Hopey Glass. We'll throw in some comics scholarship, some critical theory, and some process assignments and hopefully have a blast.
4. In that class, we'll be reading Watchmen, and I hope to be able to work with an area theatre to host a special viewing for my class and maybe even do a talk on the novel before or after the viewing. Let's hope all the red tape clears and the movie actually makes it to the box office!!
5. I'm hosting a mini-conference on "The Comics in El Paso" which I should have subtitled "Border Issues" since the folks who will be speaking, Jaime Portillo, Julian Lawler, and keynote Jai Nitz will all talk about how El Paso and Juarez influence or influenced their recent work, and one reads comics by literally crossing borders from panel to panel.
6. I have had major positive news from my publisher about my second edited collection on teaching graphic novels and will be very busy getting the manuscript prepped for an Autumn 09 debut.
7. Number 6 happened in part because my first book on the subject, Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels: Page by Page, Panel by Panel, continues to do well. It is in its second printing and has broken the 100,000 rank at Amazon.com several times over the past few months. That might not ever top the time I saw it in the top 15,000 titles, but that's still pretty good.
8. There's the possibility that a chapter in a book on teaching graphic novels at the college level might finally get published and also coincide nicely with the release of the Watchmen movie, and I have at least two other chapters or articles accepted on comics and pedagogy for further-down-the-road ventures, and I have three entries for the upcoming revised edition of an encyclopedia of comic art to get to the editor.
9. I'll also be continuing work on the conference front: I'll be a keynote speaker at the first-annual Graphica Conference in NYC, assuming the parties involved can get some things sorted out, and I'll be workshopping on comics and literacy elements in Missouri at the big "Write to Learn" conference.
And that's just what I know for now. I'll keep looking for new possibilities and doing scholarship/research on SANE issues 'till it drives me crazy, or 'till it tenures me. Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I'll keep at as long as I'm able, which I hope will be a long time.