A Public Service Announcement! ;)

A Public Service Announcement! ;)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Scott McCloud Goes (to) SPLAT!

SPLAT 2008 Announces Librarian and Educator Workshops for March 15th Event.!

Just got this forward from the folks at SPLAT. Looks like a neat program they've lined up!

The New York Center for Independent Publishers today formally announced th eaddition of four graphic novel workshops for educators and librarians to take place during the inaugural SPLAT 2008 Graphic Novel Symposium on March15th.

Workshop coordinator, John Shableski of Diamond Book Distributors, says,"This selection reflects the growing acceptance and use of graphic novelsand comics in the public library, the classroom and in the academic setting.We are excited to host workshops that demonstrate the value of this excitingformat with some very engaging and knowledgeable instructors. If you wantto see how the books can be used in the classroom from the teacher'sperspective, or how to build a lesson plan using graphic novels, this is definitely a great opportunity. We have also included a great course onusing manga and anime in the public library setting. Manga represents far and away the most explosive genre in the world of graphic novel publishing.To round out the program there will be some great insight on how graphic novels are finding a home in the academic world."

Who should attend? Professionals from all levels in retail publishing,editorial, writing and creation as well as the educators and librarianfields.

Guest presenters are as follows:
Karen Green, Columbia University: Graphic Novels in the Academic LibraryPeter
Gutierrez, Graphic Novels in the Classroom: Creating Lesson Plans
Margaux Del Guidice and Michael Lizari, Comics.In A School? Using GraphicNovels to Enhance Student Achievement
Christian Zabriskie: Why Anime and Manga Belong in Your Collection

The conferencewill feature some of the movers and shakers from the graphic book worldincluding: Jim Killen; David Saylor, Raina Telgemeier, Ted Rail, CBCebulski, Bob Mecoy, R Sitayak, Nick Bertozzi and Charles Brownstein. [and Scott McCloud will be there too! That's a great line-up!!!]

There will be three different tracks of insightful panels, seminars andworkshops scheduled between 9am to 5pm, to be followed by the SPLAT GalaReception. Including the afore mentioned librarian and educators sessionsthere will be a track featuring panels on topics including "Who Reads Graphic Novels" and "How to Get Published". Another third track, willconsist of hands-on workshops on subjects such as "Story Telling" and "Where to Start with Art".

The cost of the day long Symposium will be $125; this will include lunch andthe Gala Reception. For more information regarding the Symposium and registration, contact theNYCIP at 212-764-7021, visit www.nycip.org, or e-mail Executive DirectorKarin Taylor at nycip@nycip.org.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


No, I haven't flipped my lid and gone completely megalomaniacal. In the title of this post, I'm referring to Marvel Comics' latest issues of Captain America, in which Cap's former kid sidekick, James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes, steps up to become the new Captain America. Steve Rogers, the original Cap, was assassinated months ago, leaving the country without its sentinel of liberty.

I'm really torn about it, too. As you might imagine, as a lifelong comic book fan and someone who sports a name quite similar to Barnes', I have a deep emotional connection to the Bucky character. Hell, when I was a pre-teen, I once even convinced some friends of mine that the character was based off me. We were about the same build, had the same hair color and style and silly grin.

But being connected with Bucky Barnes wasn't always so cool. Comic book readers already had a tendency to be considered geeks or nerds when I was growing up -- back when it wasn't cool to be unique or geeky -- and I actually found myself being poked fun of by those who didn't read comics and by those who were comics readers. You see, Bucky was seen as a dorky character, THE kid sidekick cliche, even less appealing than Robin, who had at least grown up to make something of himself instead of eventually dying in a pitiful attempt to catch a baddie, leaving a legacy of guilt for his best friend Steve.

Bucky was even one of the few comics characters who had died that fans actually wanted to stay dead. For me, I took this sort of underdog, sidekick, campy role and internalized it. I was always one to root for the little guy anyway, and being a quirky kid, it came natural to connect with the Barnes through a mutual characterization that was deeper than our shared names and looks.

When I was in grad school, I even assistant-taught under a Captain America fan who everyone knew was going to be a star. I was his kid sidekick, the neat but weird fellow in his shadow and happy to be there.

Now he is a rising star in academia. But, all of a sudden, I see I'm finding my own way too; I'm on the cusp of doing well for myself and starting my own possibly stellar career. And guess who else has been revitalized? Bucky Barnes. First his mission and death were retconned such that it was revealed he was a black ops soldier who did the dirty work that Cap couldn't do -- work like killing and maiming the enemy. Cap was the "boy blue" soldier who could subdue the Nazis, but the little boy in the blue togs was the one doing that Greek drama thing and slitting their throats off-panel. Further, his body was salvaged after his apparent death; he was nursed back to health, brainwashed by the Soviets, and transformed into "The Winter Soldier," a super-spy bad-ass who can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the Marvel Universe. Iron Man, Wolverine, anybody.

And now this: honoring Cap's final wishes, an adult and recently deprogrammed (or is that reprogrammed?) Bucky Barnes has taken up the title and role of his former mentor. Bucky is Captain America. For now, he has the potential to become THE superhero, the noblest of noble, the flag-draped symbol of all that is good in America.

Me? I'm getting ready to finish my degree and could be offered a tenure-track job any day now, meaning I could be living my American dream. There's even the possibility that I could become the departmental colleague, the equal, if you will, of the Cap fan I once sidekicked under.

Is that why I'm so afraid Bucky Barnes will screw up in his new role? Do we both seem destined to fail? Or are we both afraid to succeed? Are we both actually more comfortable doing dirty work, even if it's good work, off-panel while others get the glory? Bucky can never be Steve; no one knows that more than he does, but can he be his own man and do well at it?

If he succeeds, it'll be a nice little American Dream: the once scurrilous scamp kid makes good. Sort of sounds like my own story: The kid from Nowhere, NC, rises up from abuse and poverty, from low expectations and ridicule, to become an exemplar in his chosen profession. If he fails, does it suggest I'll fail too? I'm just as close to ending this job season with no offers as I am to procuring one, just as apt to have to do more work as I am to pass my dissertation. There's a lot of evidence to suggest the American Dream is a myth, after all, that the best way to get ahead in America is to start ahead, thereby indicating that those who start with nothing are quite likely to finish with only a little more than that, regardless of what we do and how hard we work.

Bucky, Bucky, Bucky: You're so close. Don't f*ck it up. Please, lord, don't let others f*ck it up for you. Be the Captain of Whitman's "O Captain, my Captain." At the very least, be the best you can be, and hope to God it's good enough...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fresh from the 1.23.08 NCTE Inbox...

NCTE continues to help keep graphic novels on educators' radar by sharing yet another example of a local paper giving sequential art narratives some love. See what this Kansas City paper had to say, and check out who is being featured in the story: high school students! Ahem..ahem.... ;)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Daily Bits Free Graphic Novels Viewing

Thanks to Lou Novacheck for sending this link via the comics scholar listserve. It offers a look at 17 graphic novels -- for free! This is a neat way to acquaint one's self with the format.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Satrapi Speaks on Border Crossing with Bad Info

Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis, both a graphic novel and now a feature film, recently published a piece in The New York Times about the cultural conflicts and confusion that come with border crossing via panels and real life. We've got some contact zones going on here, as we usually do when we think about border crossings, and tons of educational value, as one might expect.

Check out what she has to say about conflation, misunderstanding, and outright obfuscation in "Defending My Country."

Another Company Entering the Children's GN Market

Thanks to Lou Novacheck for this forward from IDW:

Signs Distribution Agreement with Renowned UK Children's Publishing Firm; Pacts With Top Hollywood Screenwriters To Create Children's Books

(San Diego, CA and Newark, NJ; January 10, 2008) -- In a precedent-setting move, IDW Publishing, a division of IDT Internet Mobile Group and an established leader in the comic book and graphic novel arena, is launching a children's division called Jonas Publishing and a new imprint, Worthwhile Books. The move will allow IDW Publishing to expand its library of successful print titles, which to date has been particularly focused in the horror, action, and sci-fi genres, such as 30 Days of Night and The Transformers. To launch the imprint, IDW Publishing has inked a significant agreement with a renowned UK children's publisher and is striking deals with top Hollywood writers to create children's books.

Worthwhile Books has finalized a first-look arrangement with UK children's publisher Meadowside Books (http://www.meadowsidebooks.com/), known for its unique character-driven picture books for young readers. Worthwhile will be the exclusive U.S. publisher of selected Meadowside titles and will retain domestic film and television rights on those properties. The first Meadowside Books title in the deal, Michael Recycle, by Ellie Bethel, follows the escapades of a "green-caped" environmental hero and will be released in March by Worthwhile Books. Worthwhile expects to issue approximately 10 Meadowside titles over the course of the first year, including William's Dinosaurs, by Alan Baker, which tells the tale of a little boy who finds more than trees in the dark woods near his home.

Worthwhile's Hollywood outreach is tapping into the top ranks of movie and television writing talent to bring original literary stories to the young reading audience. The collective credits of the entertainment writers include some of the industry's most successful television series and movies. These writers include:

· David N. Weiss, whose writing credits include Shrek 2, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and both Rugrats movies
· David Sacks, a writer/producer on The Simpsons, producer on Malcolm in the Middle, and writer on 3rd Rock from the Sun
· Dava Savel, an Emmy Award- winning comedy writer with credits on shows such as Grace Under Fire and Will & Grace, in addition to being an executive producer on the children's program That's So Raven
· David Steinberg, whose producing credits include Meet the Robinsons, Home on the Range and Cats Don't Dance
· Robert Kurtz, who wrote for the movie Everyone's Hero and has written for such shows as Boy Meets World and Grace Under Fire

"Our growth strategy calls for continued expansion into other areas of the entertainment sector," said Ted Adams, IDW co-founder and president. "Creating and controlling successful
children's properties helps us in those endeavors. Meadowside's books are playful, empowering, smart and exciting and the artwork is simply breathtaking. These are children's picture stories in the classic tradition with a central character that is relatable to today's kids."

In speaking of the outreach to Hollywood writers, Robert Kurtz, vice-president and creative director at Worthwhile Books, said "Every writer I know who works in television or movies has a children's story inside him or her that they've wanted to tell for years but for a variety of reasons never were able to get out into the marketplace. We want writers to think of Worthwhile Books as the one-stop destination for that kind of project. It is designed to be a writer-driven company and we think that will be very attractive to these talented artists."

ABOUT IDW PUBLISHING:Idea and Design Works, LLC, (DBA IDW Publishing) is a division of IDT Internet Mobile Group (IIMG). An established leader in the comic book and graphic novel marketplace, particularly in the horror, action, and sci-fi genres, IDW Publishing also owns Jonas Publishing and its children's imprint, Worthwhile Books. IDW lists some of the most successful and hottest print titles in the industry in its portfolio, including: television's #1 prime time series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; Sony's Underworld; Paramount's Star Trek; Fox's 24 and Angel, and Hasbro's The Transformers. The feature film version of IDW Publishing's graphic novel, 30 Days of Night, recently topped the box office when it premiered in October. The company also works with foreign licensing agents to sell their comics around the world, with titles being published in multiple languages and crossing dozens of regions.

ABOUT IDT INTERNET MOBILE GROUP:IDT Internet Mobile Group (IIMG), a division of the Fortune 1000 telecommunications firm IDT Corporation (NYSE: IDT, IDT.C), is a leader in the development, management and growth of cross-platform consumer entertainment, distribution and financial services. From providing mobile content to consumers in over 200 countries through the mobile content portal Zedge ( http://www.zedge.net/) to the creation, development and distribution of top graphic novels through IDW Publishing, and providing cash remittance services via mobile phones to millions of people living abroad, IIMG is dedicated to turning innovative ideas and companies into products and services that span various industries.
In this press release, all statements that are not purely about historical facts, including, but not limited to, those with the words "believe," "anticipate," "expect," "plan," "intend," "estimate," "target" and similar expressions, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All forward-looking statements and risk factors included in this document are made as of the date hereof, based on information available to IDT as of the date thereof, and IDT assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or risk factors.

UF Comics Links

The University of Florida is one of the, if the not the, premiere place to study visual rhetoric as it relates to comics. So, it's not a surprise that they have an impressive list of links and resources on comics and graphic novels. In addition to hosting the comics scholars listserve, UF also is the home site for ImageText, an online journal of excellent repute that examines image-print relationships and more. Click here to see what they have to offer on the teaching of comics, etc.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

UB Jammin' on Comics

I just returned from a very pleasant stay at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. They do great work with multimodal literacies there, and maybe I'll have the opportunity to join their staff (we'll see!).

Among my joys was meeting long-time graphic novel advocate Michael Lavin, a librarian who has been spreading the message that graphic novels get kids reading. So, as a tribute to him and a nice 2.5 day stay, I ask you to check out the UB links on comics and graphic novels.