A Public Service Announcement! ;)

A Public Service Announcement! ;)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On My To-Read List: New Book on Latino Comics from UT Press

Visit this link to learn more about this title from a professor at The Ohio State University. Books like this, which features scholarship on and interviews with Latino comics figures, are important to my work and to helping the UTEP community see the value in comics scholarship. A text like this should help me as I work to establish both a special collections library of Hispanic Comics Art and as I try to make the case for a Comics Studies Program. And that our flagship institution's press published the book doesn't hurt either. :)

New _For Beginners_ Book Available! Ayn Rand

Press Release:
Ayn Rand, author of the best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, is beloved by millions of readers, and equally despised by a significant number of detractors. Her novels and her revolutionary philosophy of Objectivism have acquired a world-wide following. They have also created legions of readers who are hungry for a deeper understanding of her writings.

Despite her undeniably significant contributions to the literary canon and the progression of philosophy, there has been no simple, comprehensive introduction to Rand’s books and ideas, until now. Ayn Rand For Beginners sheds new light on Rand’s monumental works and robust philosophy. In clear, down-to-earth language, it explains Rand to a new generation of readers in a manner that is entertaining, and easy to read and comprehend.

Andrew Bernstein, Ph.D. has published on a wide variety of philosophical and literary issues based on Ayn Rand’s philosophies including Objectivism In One Lesson: An Introduction to the Philosophy Of Ayn Rand. His book, The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic, and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire, was published in 2005. Dr. Bernstein is a Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Marist College; he also teaches at SUNY Purchase (which selected him Outstanding Teacher for 2004)--and formerly at Pace University, and Marymount College (which selected him Outstanding Teacher for 1995). He has taught at Hunter College, Long Island University, and many other New York-area colleges. He lectures frequently at philosophy conferences all over the United States; additionally in Canada, England, Belgium, Norway, Hong Kong and Bermuda.

Owen Brozman is an artist who lives and works in New York City. He has an MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts and a BFA in Painting from Boston University. Publications and clients include 3x3 Illustration Annual, Creative Quarterly Journal, Paramount Vantage, Playboy Magazine, Scholastic, and Ninja Tune Records.


The book will be available in August of 2009 and can be ordered by visiting http://www.forbeginnersbooks.com. The title has ISBN # 978-1-934389-37-9 and retails for just under $15. I have several of the For Beginners books and absolutely love them! They're excellent graphic resources for those of us who like our theory as clear as it can be complex.

Persepolis Remix

If you haven't seen this cut and rearrange job on Marjane Satrapi's classic graphic novel, you gotta see it. Instead of focusing on the events of the Iranian Revolution, Persepolis 2.0 focuses on the ongoing turmoil regarding the recent Iran elections. No word on whether Satrapi approves of this.

BU Comics Scholar Earns Acquisitions Award

This press release warms the heart of someone like myself who has a longterm goal of establishing a comics-related special collection at his home university:

June 19, 2009 - Boston, MA. The Boston University Humanities Foundation has conferred Division of Religious and Theological Studies (DRTS) doctoral student and comics studies scholar A. David Lewis a Library Acquisitions Award by for a new Religion & Graphica Collection. Expanding on the publisher donations already accumulated by Lewis and the DRTS, this collection, to be house in the School of Theology Library, is exclusively dedicated to comics surrounding religion – either its advocacy, its criticism, its satire, or its consideration – the first of its kind in the U.S. despite enthusiasts and scholars' long-time encouragement.

"This is wonderfully encouraging,” said Lewis. “Following the success of last year’s ‘Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels’ conference, this collection will help further both student and faculty interest in these frequently intersecting fields.” The Religion & Graphica Collection will feature works including the seminal MAUS, Persepolis, Palestine, Promethea, and Sandman graphic novels, including scholarly works on comics and religion.

Purchasing for the collection has already begun in full and should be available beginning in the Fall semester of 2009. The project is being overseen by Head Librarian Jack Ammerman.
Lewis is also the author of award-winning Lone and Level Sands graphic novel and the upcoming Some New Kind of Slaughter hardcover collection with collaborator mpMann. Some New Kind of Slaughter, focused on Flood Myths from all across the world, arrives in July from Archaia Comics.

The Boston University Humanities Foundation was established in 1981 following the award of a $1 million National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant to the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School. Their mission is to promote and enhance the work of humanities scholars at Boston University. Learn more about the Foundation at https://www.webmail.utep.edu/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://bu.edu/hf.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Review of _Little Mouse Gets Ready_ by Jeff Smith

I could talk about how delicious it is to see Jeff Smith writing a children's comic featuring a mouse for Art Spiegelman and Francois Mouly. I could delight in conjecturing that Little Mouse's nickname around the Toon Book office is "Artie," and I could wrack my brain over how to write a review of a book with less than 3oo total words.

Instead, I'm going to defer to my oldest son, James, 3. After gleefully guffawing over Little Mouse putting on a pair of underwear (complete with tail hole) as part of his preparation for a trip to the barn, only to be told by his mother that mice don't wear clothes, James requested urgently and loudly, "Can we read it again, Daddy?!?"

When a Graphic Novel is Just a Comic

Sweet little article from The Christian Science Monitor on a mom and son reading comics.

ICV2 Attempts to Catalogue Comics Available on Mobile Devices

Get a fix on the next wave of comics disitribution.

Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP Michael Jackson

Part of growing up is realizing that if you live the normal allotment of years designated for your demographic, your lifeline is overlapping many people's who have less time remaining on earth than you do. This means, of course, coming to the invariable recognition that you will live to see many of your heroes or favorite people die.

I think of Johnny Carson, for example, who, when I was very young and would sneak into our living room to turn on TV way past bedtime, I never thought would pass on, let alone retire. Stan Lee most likely doesn't have that many decades left in him either, and most-likely I'll read Chris Claremont's obituary one day. And, if nature takes its usual course, I'll weep at my parents' funerals sometime in the future.

Being a fan of cartoons and comics offers one some isolation from this phenomenon. It will take massive cultural changes for Superman to disappear completely. Same for Mickey Mouse or Spider-Man. In fact, they may be immortal, or at least able to sustain some sort of relevance and permanence so long as there are humans around.

There certainly seemed to be time when a lot of us thought Michael Jackson would live forever. Now, he's dead at 50, and it doesn't seem too shocking that he's passed or passed so young. Unfortunate, but not world-shaking. For what it is worth, I was a huge MJ fan in the 80s and 90s and have continued to love his music for the nostalgia factors and also for how innovative it was, especially when it integrated visual aspects via music videos, for its time. So often it was electric, exciting, cutting-edge. For around two decades, when Michael reinvented himself, he took the rest of pop music with him.

Perhaps as we come to grips with the realities of his passing, we'll see that he has a comic booky type of permanence as well. His legacy certainly seems epic in scale, larger than life, much like a super-hero book. He did survive getting caught on fire. He was amazingly amorphous. He moved and dressed in fantastic ways few people could attempt. He always seemed a little beyond us, if not super-human in our eyes, something extra than ordinary.

Maybe we'll remember what made him great and special to the point of dampening all that made him strange to us. Time seems to treat fame more ephemerally than ever, especially for the truly talented, paradoxically, but perhaps Michael's best attributes will give him a reprieve from fading fast from our collective consciousness. He did appear in that Captain EO promotional comic, after all, as an intergalactic spaceship leader set on saving the universe one song and dance at a time.

More on Crumb's Genesis

Thanks to colleague and friend DM, I've procured a copy of The New Yorker with a substantial preview of R. Crumb's adaptation of Genesis. It is an impressive work, and the excerpt certainly compels me to want to purchase the complete text once it is available.

The art is unmistakably typical crumb. Adam could be one of his healthier male figures plucked straight from Haight-Ashbury; Eve is young, cute, sometimes gap-toothed, and round in all Crumb's favorite places. God looks like, well, a stereotypical version of god -- white, long beard, robe --- but considering the look of Crumb's early character of Mr. Natural, it is hard not to consider some sort of kinship between the two.

The best part about Crumb's style matched with this text is how his loose hatching, a sort of stylized stippling, works to make Adam and Eve look both beautiful, and, at times, a little dirty, almost depraved, as if the accumulation of rough, small hashes to fill out their features foreshadows their eventual fall from pristine ignorance.

The second-best part, of course, is thinking about this text in relation to the rest of Crumb's life, career, and legacy. He's critiqued Genesis as a propaganda text aimed at suppressing matriarchy. Is he intentionally playing Genesis off of his earlier work, much of which -- whether it is meant as self-critique or not -- many folks still find particularly offensive to women and misogynistic? Is he seeking to show maturity or redemption for creating texts that he might now regret? Will this text be appropriated into religion-based classrooms across the country? Perhaps that's the biggest and most enjoyable question to ponder. Will the man responsible for Devil Girl and page upon page of explicit sex fantasies in which women are debased to metonymic devices find this latest text meeting with the approval of nuns?

Now, to know that question's answer in advance -- for that I'd eat of the Tree of Knowledge!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Art Spiegelman's Comic on the St. Louis in the Washington Post

A comic about a ship of Jewish refugees that was denied entry by the US in 1939.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Back from Chicago!

I'm back in El Paso after spending several days at a Conference of English Education event in Elmhurst, IL. It was an interesting event. I found it intriguing to see how people viewed my work and my reputation. Based on comments and deep reading, I think there are some definite generational differences in how established leaders in the field of English Education view my interest in graphic novels and how younger, newer folks view it. Now, I'll be just fine if all the right people die off or retire and split the scene at the right times over the next decade or so, and the right up-and-comers take their places, Lol. I kid, I kid ..... ahem .... cough ... sigh.....

These generational differences also seem to be evident in how folks view graphic novels in general. I've gleaned from more than one source that many think that the emphasis on graphic novels in education represents a flash in the pan fad. Hipper sources seem to understand that there's a 70 year history of comics and education intersection in the U.S. and that there is actually a thing called comics scholarship that has been growing since the 1960s as well.

My biggest worry is how those who might truly be waiting for the "fad that isn't a fad" to fade and for basking in "We were right all along. All hail the traditional print text!" glory might be influencing the next generation of CEE leaders, who might be all-too-eager to ride coat tails via adapting stolid ideologies if it means getting ahead. But, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that there also seem to be many mature and established members of my field that appear to see the longevity and future potentialities of the sequential art form. So, we'll see how it all plays out over the next....twenty or thirty years, I guess. Sheesh! There's a lot of my career left, lol.

But, it was very nice to meet new people, to put faces with names, to scope out nuances in conversations and "friend patterns" and -- most importantly -- to get together with some folks on some project ideas that might actually see the light of day! :) More on those as it is appropriate to talk about them, of course! :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chicago-Bound and Top 50+ List

On the 18th I'll be leaving for Chicago to be a part of the Conference on English Education Summer conference. I'll be part of a 21st century literacies strand -- not on the program, but part of the discussions, etc.

I'll be advocating for and talking about graphic novels and comics in education with anyone who wants to listen. I'll probably also see the person who wrote the review that doomed my last edited collection project, but I'll need to put that behind me. I'm looking forward to seeing some folks again and many folks for the first time.

I've been reading up so that I'm current on comics scholarship, and I've been hitting some of the standards of multimodal/new literacies, so I feel pretty excited about the trip.

I'll be missing my birthday and Father's day away from the family, but we can catch up when I return Sunday.

Anyway, if you've got anything you think the CEE strand should know about comics and literacy, feel free to leave a comment. Otherwise, I'll be back at the blog early next week, earlier if the facility has Internet access.

Also, check back in later to see if I update this post with a "Bucky's Top 50 Graphic Novels" list, something I put together in case the folks at the CEE conference requested it......


As more and more publishers try to capitalize on the graphic novel trend and on teachers' growing interest in using them in the classroom (remember that the New London Group warned us about the consumerization of new -- or in this case "(re)new(ed)" mediums as we reconsider education in the 21st century), more and more crappy graphic novels are released.

Why do I often recommend the same titles over and over again in my publications? Because I want teachers to consider good graphic novels, great ones even, not just any graphic novel.

With that being said, here's a list of my top 50 recommended graphic novels, with some extras thrown in. If a book comes along to unseed any of these titles, I'll let you know.

The titles from below represent stand-alone graphic narratives, trade paper backs collecting multiple issues from on-going series, anthologies, and Manga. They are not ranked per se, but I did try to include representatives from multiple genres and to be representative of authors whom I think are among the most important graphic novelists of our current age.

I've tried to include titles that would be appropriate for grades 6-12 or titles which are so salient that their "graphic" nature is overshadowed by their importance.

1. The Complete Maus (Spiegelman)
2. The Complete Persepolis (Satrapi)
3. In the Shadow of No Towers (Spiegelman)
4. Chicken and Plums (Satrapi)
5. King (Anderson)
6. The Amazing True Story of a Single Teenage Mom (Arnoldi)
7. La Perdida (Abel)
8. Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 1 (Bendis, et al)
9. Ghost World (Clowes)
10. A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories (Eisner)
11. New York: Life in the Big City (Eisner)
12. Fagin the Jew (Eisner)
13. American Born Chinese (Yang)
14. Last Day in Vietnam (Eisner)
15. Protocols of Zion (Eisner)
16. Planetary volumes 1-4 (Ellis, et al)
17. Locas (J.Hernandez)
18. Palomar Stories (G.Hernandez)
19. The 9/11 Report Graphic Adaptation (Colon and Jacobson)
20. Fax From Sarejevo (Kubert)
21. Palestine (Sacco)
22. Dark Knight Returns (Miller)
23. V for Vendetta (Moore)
24. Watchmen (Moore)
25. Swamp Thing (Moore)
26. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen volumes 1-2 (Moore, et al)
27. Captain Britain ( Moore & Davis)
28. From Hell (Moore & Campbell)
29. Promethia (Moore)
30. Buddha (Tezuka)
31. Barefoot Gen (Nakazawa)
32. Truth: Red, White and Black (Morales & Baker)
33. American Splendor (Pekar)
34. The Quiter (Pekar)
35. Safe Area Gorazde (Sacco)
36. Bone (Smith)
37. Jimmmy Corrigan, Smartest Kid in the Universe (Ware)
38. 100 Demons (or anything by Lynda Barry)
39. Fun Home (Bechdel)
40. Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda (Stassen)
41. Big Fat Little Lit (Spiegelman and Mouly, eds.)
42. Unstable Molecules (Sturm)
43. The Golem's Mighty Swing (Sturm)
44. The Tale of One Bad Rat (Talbot)
45. Blankets (Thompson)
46. Pedro and Me (Winnick)
47. Fables (Buckingham et al)
48. Y the Last Man (Vaugh, et al)
49. Runaways (Vaught, et al)
50. Pride of Baghdad (Vaughn and Henrichon)

6 More:
Embrodieries (Satrapi)
American Widow (Torres)
JSA: The Golden Age (Robinson)
Incognegro (Johnson & Pleece)
Best American Comics 2008 (Linda Berry, ed.)
Rose (Smith)

Titles that I feel will make my list of faves after reading:
Alan's War (Guibert)
The Photographer (Guibert)
Flight (Kibuishi)
A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge (Neufeld; print version)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cap is Back

Have you heard? Steve Rogers is back. People keep saying "Cap is Back!" which must really hurt Bucky Barnes' feelings, since he's been doing his best to be Captain America in Steve's absence. Actually, if the character holds true to form, he'll be more thrilled than anyone. I'm just worried about what Marvel will do with James Bucky Barnes now that Steve is back on the scene. It would be easy to make him a throw-away character, or another "Bad Cap." I hope they'll let him continue to develop as a redemption-style character, though, and that he'll still have a prominent place in the books.

This means, of course, that he is probably already dead, and I am paying the price for not getting my comics last week....

Cap is dead! All hail Cap! All hail Bucky Barnes ! Bucky is ???

May 09 a Bad Month For Comics and GN's

Sales fell sharply from April to May of this year, but that could be for any number of reasons. I'm sure the comics industry -- with a focus primarily on money, just like any other industry -- will start gnashing teeth and what not, but let's see what several months' sales look like before we worry too much.

Monday, June 15, 2009

National Yiddish Book Center's List of Graphic Novels

Thanks to M.H. for sharing this link to a list of graphic novels and academic books about, by, or featuring Jewish people and issues. Pekar, Eisner, Sturm, Spiegelman, Modan and Sfar are on the list, but there are several other authors and resources of which I had never heard. This is definitely a link you'll want to click. I know I'll be revisiting it as I look for more graphic novels to read.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Great Idea for a Graphic Novel

The Socorro Bulldogs baseball team just won the Texas state high school championship today, with members of El Paso's only other state champions, the 1949 Bowie High Bears, looking on and giving support and approval.

One former Bowie player, 78 year-old Carlos Macias, said, "Ours will be different because the times were different -- sleeping on cots underneath the stadium bleachers instead of in a hotel, seeing those signs in the windows that said 'no dogs or Mexicans allowed', and we went in the back of restaurants and ate in a room at the side of the kitchen. But we were a team and we did it as a team, and we have so many great memories now. And now these Socorro kids will have their own memories."

Can you imagine a graphic novel that would simultaneously tell the stories of both these championship teams, one from 2009, the other from 50 years earlier? James Sturm has proven that baseball and graphic novels mesh well, and the racial/class under currents would make for interesting talk about about progress in the US. I think it'd be an awesome undertaking.


Interesting Post on The Lack of Black Super Villains

Recently a discussion on a comics list serve talked about how minorities were often villains in the early super-hero comics, and someone even mentioned that African Americans were frequently villains. I then spent quite a bit of time trying to think of black super baddies and could think of none.

Funny how things come up: The link embedded in the title of this post will take you to a blogger's thoughts on why there are so few black super villains.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Reviews of _Life Sucks_ and _Incognegro_

I have managed to read two graphic novels so far this summer, as most of my time away from the family has been spent catching up on New Literacies and Comics Theory readings.

Jessica Abel’s Life Sucks, a story about a convenience store night clerk who eschews his vampire nature until forced to make a choice between his often compromised-by-necessity lifestyle choices and his desire to see a young woman freed from similar bonds, is a fun, light read. If Twilight hasn’t already covered the same ground, I can see teen girls liking this one. It has a nice blend of slice-of-life mixed with 1990s and 21st century soft counter culture. And it has vampires. Vampires are cool. Even ones who could star in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, as could the aforementioned store employee.

Mat Johnson’s Incognegro, with art by Warren Pleece, is another story about passing, but while Life Sucks is a fun romp into adolescent malaise, blood sucking, and puppy love, Johnson’s story has much greater resonance and relevance.

"Incognegro" is the pen name of a famous black journalist, an octoroon who passes for white in the American South of the 1920s and 30s. He goes undercover to investigate lynchings, gathering as much personal information as he can about each one’s participants – including photographs of them – on the scene. His journalism is nationally syndicated in black-owned and predominantly white-staffed papers, so his work is important in showing the nation its true colors even as he, a man of color, passes as one “without.”

But Incognegro, whose home base is in Harlem, NY, longs for recognition of his skills under his real name, wishing to enjoy his part of the burgeoning Harlem Renaissance. He is just about to give up his successful beat when news comes that his brother is being held for murder in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Reluctantly taking along with him a friend who can also pass, the reporter, with some intervention from a duplicitous white woman, unravels a murder mystery at the eleventh hour. There are many twists and multiple manners of passing in the novel, and how passing becomes intertwined with agency in race and also beyond it is quite fascinating, startling, and, at times, even a little satisfying.

I won’t give away any more than that. I will say, however, if I was still teaching my “Contemporary Trends and Issues in Graphic Novels” course at the university in Hattiesburg, Mississippi (about 4 hours from Tupelo), this graphic novel would be on the reading list for oh-so-many reasons.

I don't think I'd be able to convince any pre-service teaching majors in the class to actually teach the book, though I think it could be done and ought to be considered. There are some tantalizing Shakespeare and Great Chain of Being connections waiting to be explored in the graphic novel's themes, to only touch on the text's curricular possibilities.

Take or leave Life Sucks, which is fun but not ambitious, nor seemingly trying to come off as such. But I strongly suggest reading Incognegro, which is skillfully written and, though a work of fiction based in multiple truths and realities, as telling as it is playful.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What Will National Education Standards Mean for Teaching Graphic Novels?

According to the Washington Post, 46 states and D.C. are on board with plans to craft national standards of learning for each grade in k-12 education. The experts working on the plan are currently doing so clandestinely, which is worrisome to me, but the idea of common reading and math standards for each grade across states and districts seems practical and, if administered correctly, smart.

So long as the standards represent a bare minimum of what to do and do not get too directive in how to do it, I think I can support the notion. As I tell my students, the problem with "standards" is that we ought to think of them like we think of a standard automobile, not like we think of a gold standard. In other words, standards should represent the bare minimum of what teachers and students should be doing. The problem is that the bare minimum has become the gold standard in public education, so we have schools and teachers over-hyped about students passing annual standardized tests when the students' doing so should represent only the base level of the growth they've attained over the year/s.

According to the Post article, "There will be no prescription for how teachers get there, avoiding nettlesome discussions about whether phonics or whole language is a better method of teaching reading; whether students should be drilled in math facts; or whether eighth-graders should read The Great Gatsby or To Kill a Mockingbird."

What does this mean for those who want to use comics in the classroom? Assuming the above quote is accurate, doing so should be just fine. It seems the national benchmarks will help inform teachers of what they need to teach but leave them the freedom -- or as much "freedom" as their individual school districts will allow them -- to get there as they wish and as they deem effective.

Comics-and-literacy proponents will want to keep an eye on this. Here's a link to the Post article.

Diamond Bookshelf Interviews Katie Monnin

Dr. Katie Monnin from the University of North Florida will soon be publishing a book on teaching graphic novels. Diamond Bookshelf chatted with her about comics and teaching. Click this title's post to see the interview!

Graphic Novel Sales Up Again in 08, According to ICV2

From the story: "In spite of the horrendous contraction in the U.S. economy in fourth quarter of 2008, sales of traditional graphic novels grew by 5% to $395 million up from $375 million in 2007..."

Monday, June 08, 2009

Another Real-Life Teacher Talks About Using GN's in Her Classroom

This time it is Leigh Brodsky from Watchung Hills Regional High School, Warren, New Jersey, sharing how she does it! Check out her thoughts by clicking the title to this post, which will take you to Mrs. Brodsky's op-ed at Graphic Novel Reporter.com.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Good to Know I'm Not Alone on this "Crash!" Thing

Just happened upon some folks' responses to the recent Carol Jago white sheet over at Noise-In-Formation. The conversation was pretty intelligent and compelling, so I've posted a link to it in the title to this here post.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Real-Life Costumed Heroes Roaming America's Streets

I had seen the stories from smaller media outlets, but when CNN reported on the growing number of costumed vigilantes taking to the streets of America, I knew it was time to post something. There is a hero-tracking website called Superheroes Anonymous, even, where one can learn more about local lads and ladies patrolling the 'hood.

I'm sure this is a sign of the times somehow. CNN has it's take,which you can read by clicking the title to this post. Mine? I'm still up in the air on it, but that's because my super hero persona, the chubby guy who protects a few city blocks of West El Paso, can fly. ;)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Textus/Praxis Revisted!!

I was thrilled today to find, after doing some web surfing, that an interactive project that I created back when I was a doc student has been revived/archived and is accessible again to the general public.

The project was created in a class under Dr. Margo Figgins, to whom I'm eternally grateful for putting the pages back up after an absence.

The project is entitled Textus/Praxis and details my early thoughts on textuality, reading, literacy, and how they can all intersect -- through graphic novels and via a revisioning (or, as the New London Group might call it, a "redesigning" -- though I might suggest that textus/praxis is both a deconstruction of familiar sign systems and discourses as well as a revisioning of them, making it a re-de-signing) of how we view students' literacy skills.

It's also where I discuss my three-pronged definition of textuality, and was an early and primary source for the students in my comics as literature courses (and it will be again, assuming its address sticks this time!). It has its rough edges, but I'm proud of it to this day. Recently, I was thinking about updating it and recreating it via old files I've got saved somewhere, but I like the option of clicking it in the above post title much better.

Check it out! Be awed at my sense of critical literacy and critical thought! And -- as you read -- consider that this was crafted before I had read a shred of multimodal/new literacies materials!

LOC's Sara W. Duke Interviewed on Acquisition of Amazing Fantasy #15 Original Art

The Library of Congress has a huge cartoons and comics repository. In this video, Sara W. Duke, the LOC's curator for the Popular & Applied Graphic Art Prints & Photographs Division, talks about getting the original art to Spider-Man's first appearance. Click the post's title to find the video, and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Joyful Stories Press to Publish 50 Biographical Manhwa

From ICV2:

"The Korean publisher Dasan Books has set up a U.S. subsidiary, Joyful Stories Press, to publish English versions of more than 50 biographical Manhwa starting with The Obama Story: The Boy With the Biggest Dream, a 200-page full color biography targeting kids from 8-12 that is available now."

"Manhwa," for the uninitiated (like I was until just a few seconds ago) is the Korean terms for comics, single-panel cartoons, and even animated cartoons. Manhwa is therefore distinctive from Japan's Manga in that Anime and Manga are not synonymous terms, though there may be Manga based on anime series and anime series based on Mangas. They're read, when they are in print form, like American comics. also distinguishing them from their Japanese counterparts, though the success of Manga in America does seem to be what is fueling the growing Manhwa presence in the States.

I've also seen the term spelled "Manwha," as in "Man, What?!?" which is what someone might say when they realize here is yet another form of sequential art about which they can learn. :)

Assuming "Manhwa" is the proper spelling, I'll probably be phonetically pronouncing it "man-hah-wa" to help me from getting confused.

Monday, June 01, 2009

San Jose Library Holds Graphic Novel-Making Contest, Announces Winner

From Mark Clegg:

The Tully branch of the San Jose Public library system has concluded their system-wide “Graphic Novel Making Contest,” with the winners announced at a well-attended ceremony last Friday, May 29, 2009.

The contest was open to people between ages 12-19. They were to independently create their own “Graphic Novel” with a maximum length of 10 pages. First prize was a $100 gift certificate, second was $75,third was $50, and fourth was $25. There were 24 valid entries turned in by the submissions deadline of May 8.

.... As might be expected, 23 of the entries were strongly influenced by Manga, which is basically the only comics the entrants were familiar with. They showed much love and enthusiasm, with skills reasonable for their respective ages.One though was different. The winning entry can be seen in a PDF that can be downloaded at: http://tullybranch.googlepages.com/VitusbyJaneLiu.pdf

Great idea from the Tully branch! Good to see libraries taking readers' love of sequential art to the next level: not just getting the books on the shelves, but acknowledging young people's desire to create and compose in the form as well!

BEA News Starting to Trickle In

Most reviews of the latest Book Expo America are indeed reviews of the show rather than a discussion of sales numbers of books and their growth or decline over the last year. This article from ICV2 does mention that the market for all books was down 1.5 % this year, but there's not discussion on readership of graphic novels or Manga as far as percentages of increase or decrease over one year or the next. The last two years have seen significant growth in sales of sequential art while other books have struggled. If I get any hard data, I'll share it here ASAP.