A Public Service Announcement! ;)

A Public Service Announcement! ;)

Friday, April 30, 2010

More Censorship: This Time Global

Thanks to The Beat for drawing my attention to this story about a Belgian trying to censor Herge's Tin Tin in the Congo by having it banned in Belgium due to its racist imagery.

While I can't defend how Africans and blacks have been portrayed in comics at times, these comics are very important artifacts, and it seems to me that removing them from view is more about controlling people's collective sense of themselves rather than giving them the opportunity to face historical facts, their faces and the faces of their artists.

"It makes people think black people have not evolved," said the Belgium.

Wrong. It reveals that you think readers are too stupid to realize the text is situated in a specific time and takes on a specific assumption set that, as appalling as it may be to many of us now, was prevalent for a few hundred years.

Another complaint is about an African woman bowing to a white man and saying, "White man great! White mister is big juju man!"

Here's a comment that will make me unpopular: White man is great. White man has had and still has big juju.

Black man is great too. So is brown man and yellow man and whatever. Each has had their imperialistic moments. Each has contributed great goods and great evils to society throughout history (to channel my inner Johnny Cochran, my point is that "Good and Great do not always Equate!"). Even if one confronts versions of power and realities in texts that one has the right not to read if one so chooses, censoring evidence of these facts is just plain stupid, like what Herge's characters and contemporaries might have thought about the intelligences of Africans-level stupid.

REMINDER!: Saturday, May 1, 2010: Free Comic Book Day

Look for gratis grabbies featuring Shrek, Mouse Guard , Archie, Disney, G.I. Joe, Iron Man and more!

I Know the Teacher of the Year!

Sarah Wessling is the national teacher of the year! She just met Obama! She helped organize the Iowa Council of Teachers of English conference even at which I was a featured speaker a few years ago. I am not at all surprised to see her honored.

If yer lissnin or readin, Sarah: CONGRATS!!! :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Campfire Books (Steerforth) Releases Time Machine, other Adaptations

If I'm not already on record as being worried about the recent spate of graphic novel adaptations of canonical texts, I need to establish the fact here: I feel their accessibility makes it too easy for teachers to cop out on considering graphic novels, allowing educators to limit their research on the form and focus only on supplemental titles at best rather than finding the true quality stand-alone original narrative gems that really set the medium apart.

However, I have a soft spot for H.G. Wells' The Time Machine in traditional and pictoral form for several reasons. When I was in college, I found a great illustrated pamphlet version of the text, which it appears I've lost now, much to my regret. As well, in the only time I was ever able to teach upper classmen exclusively, which was during my student teaching in Pisgah, NC, I taught the novel to a group of mostly male reluctant readers, and we loved it. We drew pictures of what we thought the time machine looked like. We considered memories as time travel. I got to share with them a not-so-subtle penis joke. (Curious aren't you? Well, after the Time Traveller seems to have developed some feelings for Weena and has come to depend on her as a lifeline of sorts, he loses her and feels utterly alone and scared. To iterate this point, I dramatically exclaimed, "Imagine the loss he must feel! The sense of isolation! After all, can there be anything worse than to be a man without a Weena?!?") Everybody laugh. Curtain fall down.

So when Steerforth sent me an adaptation of this title from their new Campfire series of graphic novels, which cover classics, mythology, biography and originals, I took note. Lewis Helfand adapted the text serviceably, but the art (pencils by Rajesh Nagulakonda) was exceptionally striking, especially the coloring (by Manoj Yadav). The morlocks looked more like Golem than they did the hulking, hairy monsters I'd envisioned, but that was the only major flaw I found in this adaptation, which could be used to frontload a reading of the print text or as a quick-read supplement to thematic units on Imperialism, -topias, Science vs. Conscience, etc.

The adaptation also featured a bio of Wells and some information about technologies being developed in the Wells era.

Kudos to Campfire for such a fun effort with such a fun story. With 33 other titles hitting the market over the next two years, distribution through Random House, and brilliant art in each based on the previews I've seen, I expect Campfire to become a major player in the graphic novel market.

Archie Series introduces Gay Character

The "Hot New Guy" in the Archie books won't be interested in Betty and Veronica, not romantically anyway. In yet another move to make the Archie comics more contemporary, an openly gay character is being introduced in Riverdale.

Kevin Keller is not the first gay character in comics, nor is he the first to be openly gay, as some headlines seem to suggest. So, Keller's sexual orientation might be new to Jughead (or it might not. Keller is the first out of the closet gay guy in the series), but not to those who keep up with comics in general. Sadly, no one has told Veronica yet, as this image makes abundantly clear.

An article in the local paper (thanks, DM!) suggests these books might soon be influenced by the "reality" series "Jersey Shore" and that other pop culture flashes in the pan might also be an influence in the comics.

My suggestion? Start inserting those little voice boxes that come in certain greeting cards, fill them with music, and start working on a "Glee"-inspired Archie book. Imagine a rendition of "Ol Man Riverdale" or the "I Want Your Sex" number in the "tribute to George Michael" issue, where Kevin is revealed to have been that transfer student back in elementary school who performed a silly pop song at the talent show wearing blue and white short-shorts, then disappeared for a while, yet no one put two and two together until he resurfaced years later going solo and unclosetted himself.

OK, OK. I'm being silly. I admit to wanting to title this post "Archie Just Got More Fabulous." In all seriousness, though, this is a big step towards freshness for these comics titles, and equally serious: here's hoping that "Jersey Shore" idea flops in editorial.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Lovely Bone!

According to a District 196 representative, Bone will stay on the shelves of the district's local school libraries!!

The secret ballot vote in favor of the decision was 10-1. The voters consisted of five parents, three teachers, two media specialists and a principal.

The source tells me that media specialists used some quotes from my letter to the district as well as a personal letter from Jeff Smith (cool!!!) to help make the case for keeping the books. The complainant was also able to make a presentation.

The entire process was described as respectful and professional, which is nice to know as these things can get ugly quickly.

So, while we can, let us bask in this victory for the graphic novel and for freedom of choice and access in public schools!
UPDATE: We probably broke this news first, but now others are catching up. Here's the link to the story in the MN paper. And click here to see what the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund had to say about the decision. Tom Spurgeon covers the story too.
UPDATE UPDATE: ICV2 covers the story as well!

Monday, April 26, 2010

April 27, 2010: Fate of Bone Series in MN School District 196 Decided Today

After a parental complaint, officials have met to prepare their respective cases, and by the end of the night, we'll know whether Jeff smith's critically-acclaimed series of graphic novels Bone will remain on the shelves of a certain elementary school. Will district 196 blow the text a Bone-crushing defeat, or will they throw the almost-all-ages series and its interested readers a Bone? Will they take some sort of middle ground and move the books to a middle school library? Will that be a victory?

We'll know soon enough.......

Free Comic Book Day Is May 1, 2010!

The annual event returns!

News Broadcast on Comics and Literacy, circa 2008

With the decision on Bone's future in District 196 due by tomorrow night, I thought it might be nice to post some pro-comics-and-education videos found over at YouTube.

You go, Mr. Wales and students!

p.s. "Like the Peanuts" gets me every time!!!

Ray Bradbury Learned to Read and Write Through Comics

(from the San Diego ComiC Con, 2009)

In a Move that Should Surprise None..

The Los Angeles Times Book Prize for graphic novels has been awarded to Asterios Polyp, perhaps the best graphic novel of the last 5 years, maybe the best of the aughts.

YouTube Video of Stumptown Comics Fest 2010's Teaching Comics Panel

This is an interesting video, though I'm not sure why. I think it tells me two things: 1. Oregon seems to be a good place for comics studies, which is important information for me as I learn whether some of my goals at UTEP can be met. 2. There are folks thinking about comics and education at the college level, but not so much about the pedagogy as much as on the very fact that people are teaching comics-related classes at the college level. (to be fair, perhaps the direct pedagogy talk just didn't make it in this video).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Review: _The Road to God Knows..._

Marie Levesque is a pudgy, awkward Canadian teenager in love with a pair of tag-team wrestlers, barely keeping up with her school work, and dealing with a difficult homelife with few who understand her circumstances.

Her mother is schizophrenic, depressed, and suffering from a trauma only alluded to. As her mom goes in and out of "good days" and in and out of the local mental ward, Marie tries to get a sense of her mother's current and future life while working to figure out her own place. Thank goodness she has Kelly, her one friend who tries to help her through, but even this relationship has its trade-offs, as her schoolmates tease the two for possibly being lesbians.

Part The Tale of One Bad Rat, part Ghost World, Von Allan's graphic novel The Road to God Knows... is not a masterpiece -- it often lags through exposition during mundane moments only to give too little time to poignant ones -- but it is a worthy book that takes on the subject of mental illness and how it affects those living with it and young people living around it. Even the unbalanced punctuated equilibrium I mention in critique serves the purpose of illustrating that moments of reprieve are often to be savored and moments of real happiness are often too short for kids who must navigate such uncertain terrain.

The title suggests not knowing, a gawky journey with no clear end, and Allan's overtly ungainly poses for Marie -- whether she's walking, standing, or sitting -- work to further illustrate a certain floundering that permeates the characters and themes of this text. A happy ending means the mom pulls out of her "slump;" Marie finds a niche; everybody succeed. Everybody happy.

But that's not the reality of mental illness or adolescence; certainly not the unquestioned reality of the two combined. In the end, we do get a happy moment: Marie and Kelly have worked to earn money to attend a wrestling event featuring the pair Marie has a crush on. The girls seem to woot in delight as the action starts. But this end is just a reprieve, no end at all, really, as any adolescent who reads it and is living under similar circumstances will know.

Yet, the lesson is that moments of happiness are OK. Kids need breaks from life and deserve joy just like anyone. There's no shame in enjoying one's self. It doesn't change anything about one's character or how much one loves their struggling parent.

The Road to God Knows... works well as a young adult novel. It has its slow spots in plot and stumbling points in page layout and art that keep it from genius, but it has a utility that makes it a worthy read and a facility with dealing with a tough subject to talk about for many young people that makes it a title that teachers, guidance councilors, and students should know. This graphic novel is adroit enough to offer points of contact and conversation for young readers who may be experiencing similar feelings and realities as Marie.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hope Larson Adapting _A Wrinkle in Time_

Hope, you better get it right! That's one of my favoritist books ever, babe! From one North Carolinian to another, represent that thang, girl!

Anyway, funny how things sometimes come in bunches. The first part of the week saw me lamenting a lack of comics censorship cases for selfish reasons, only to unearth a bevvy of them. Today, it seems the theme is comics adaptations of prose work of all kind.

Page 100 Project

Thanks to Tom Spurgeon for giving this internet phenomenon some face time. The idea is to do a comics page adaptation of the 100th page of your favorite prose novel. Sounds very cool.

Commentary on Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel Series

Jaime Hernandez Featured in Village Voice

How many uppity VV readers in El Paso will read the article and say, "This guy sounds pretty cool and important. Bet he'd never come to El Paso."


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Boy finds Boob in 23 yo Comic

Damn. When it rains, it pours. Here's a great story (thanks, Richard from UNL!) about a parent reacting to finding a comic with implied nudity in it not by calling the store where the comic was purchased, but by immediately calling a news crew.

You gotta read the story linked to in the title of this post. It even has video! From the article:

"I seen the naked lady and I got mad." Ten year old Sheldyn Conley loves comic books but knew something was wrong when he opened "The Spectre." He says, "I just turned the page and I seen the naked ladies so I handed it to a grownup and said, 'Look at this.'"

While the parent may have been right to have worried about the nature of the comic in question, which she bought for her 10 yo son and wouldn't have been able to preview without taking it out of its packaging, why not go to the store rather than the local media, right? That's what the news crew did, and the manager of the store where the comic was purchased pulled the comics and said she'd alert her bosses about the problem.

Kudos to the kid for seeing something he didn't know how to deal with and seeking out adult guidance on the issue, though.

Side note: my oldest son is 4; my youngest is 2 and hasn't been weened yet. Their response to seeing the "naked lady," who had her "naughty bits" covered by steam, would not have been anger, rest assured. But, they are their father's sons. ;)

Press Release from District 196 (Bone Censorship Case)

Press InquiriesTony Taschner, communications specialist
April 13, 2010

Committee will hear request to remove book series from elementary libraries

ROSEMOUNT, Minn. – A District 196 Reconsideration Review Committee will meet April 27 to consider a request from a resident to remove a book series from the district’s elementary school libraries. The public is welcome to attend and observe the meeting, which will begin at 4:15 p.m. at the District Office in Rosemount.

An Apple Valley resident submitted a written request that the “Bone” series of books by Jeff Smith be removed from district elementary schools that currently have them as part of their library collections. The resident believes the books are not age appropriate due to references regarding drinking, smoking and sexual innuendo. Twelve of the district’s 18 elementary schools have at least one of the “Bone” books in their library. The books are available for students to check out but are not used for instructional purposes as part of classroom work.

District policy provides that a district resident, parent or guardian of a district student, adult student or district employee may request reconsideration of any instructional resource. If the person challenging the material requests that the resource be excluded, restricted or included for students other than his or her own children, it is reviewed by a Reconsideration Review Committee. The committee, which is assembled when needed, includes three teachers, five parents, an elementary principal, an elementary media specialist and a middle school media specialist. The committee will be facilitated by Steve Troen, director of Teaching and Learning, and Renee Ervasti, elementary curriculum coordinator.

Committee members will review the “Bone” books in advance and will discuss the series at the April 27 meeting, taking into consideration criteria used to select instructional resources for students and the quality of the material as a whole. At the meeting, the resident making the request and a district media specialist will each be given 15 minutes to present their positions on the reconsideration. After discussing alternatives, the committee will decide the acceptability of the book for elementary school students.


District 196 serves approximately 27,500 students in early childhood, K-12 and special education programs combined, and offers community education programs for residents of all ages. District 196 includes all or part of Rosemount, Apple Valley, Eagan, Burnsville, Coates, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville and Empire and Vermillion townships. For more information, visit www.district196.org.

The Graphic Novel Institute at Northwestern University

Remember that IRA pre-conference institute on the graphic novel that I was part of that got cancelled? Well, after I had cancelled my hotel reservations and flight, the event got reorganized and will now be held on the campus of Northwestern University. While I won't be there, I hope anyone in the area will think strongly about attending the new iteration of the event.

Details below from Josh Elder of Reading with Pictures:

Reading with Pictures

The Graphic Novel Institute at Northwestern University
"Teaching Reading with Graphic Novels"

10 AM-4PM
Sunday, April 25th 2010
Northwestern University
Evanston Campus
Annenberg Hall

The explosive growth of the comics medium and the graphic novel format is providing a unique opportunity to explore their use as an 'alternate route' in achieving literacy. This program is designed to provide an overview of how this has occurred, how it works and how the format can be applied and defended in the classroom environment.

Come join us for a day of insightful and invaluable conversation with the educators, media specialists, academics and authors willing to share their perspective and experience.
Academic presenters include Dr. Michael Bitz of Columbia University, Prof. David Rapp of Northwestern University and Prof. William Ayers of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Comic creators and graphic novelists in attendance include Jane Yolen (Foiled), Josh Neufeld (A.D.: New Orleans), Geoffrey Hayes (Benny and Penny), Jerry Craft (Mama's Boyz), Aaron Renier (Spiral Bound) and Josh Elder (Mail Order Ninja).

Program Schedule will consist of two presentations, followed by four unique breakout sessions, and then a Meet the Authors event and catered reception. Attendees do not have to attend all the scheduled programming and can arrive or leave at any point during the day.

*Admission is free, but seating is limited. Please confirm your seat via RSVP to info@readingwithpictures.org

Another Strange Censorship Case

According to ICV2, the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance wants Bluewater to withdraw their bio-comic on Ellen DeGeneres because proceeds from the book might go to the American Human Society.

Top 10 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009

Monday, April 19, 2010

Comics White Paper Reveals Stats

Milton Griepp has released his "status of the industry" white paper. According to his figures, graphic novels sales no longer account for the sole area of publishing seeing gains. In fact, sales have declined 6% for 2009.

Now, with past years' showing growth of 12 and 15% , that's not necessarily a sign that graphic novels are a "fading trend." After all, we are in a national recession. Though, GN sales did decline more than general book sales, which fell 3%. Again, though, no need to sound any alarms. Watchmen sales have dropped off since they hit a high point (even becoming Amazon's #1 seller for a while) along with the release of the movie, so the declining numbers are a bit skewed.

Further, there are signs that point to good numbers in future quarters/years, such as the Twilight graphic novel and possibilities that Kick-Ass movie-goers might spur sales of the graphic novel version of that title.

One very interesting tidbit to come from the report: "sales of of Kids and YA-related graphic novels were up over 50%....." Looks like publishers' efforts to hit that k-12 market hard now that so many of us are talking about comics and education are paying off.

Friday, April 16, 2010

MN Parent Complains About Bone

I hate to admit it, but due to a certain project I've got in the works, I've been waiting on a good comics censorship story. To date, 2010 has been pretty dull regarding libraries and schools and comics being questioned. But now? Now comes word that -- of all series -- Jeff Smith's Bone is being called into question.

Yes, the same Bone that me and many other educators feel is a great entry-level series for just about anyone old enough to read.

Ramona DeLay feels the graphic novel is not appropriate reading for her son, who attends Southwest Elementary and checked out the book from the school's library. DeLay wants the book withdrawn from the library because she feels the imagery, use of tobacco products, sexual tension between characters, gambling and alcohol use make the book too mature for her son.

No word on whether DeLay then went home and let her child watch the Shrek movies.

What is known is that on April 27, a review committee will meet to decide the fate of the title in this little Minnesota town. If the book can't be removed, DeLay would like to see some sort of rating system in place in her library, which mean she probably hasn't looked over the book as well as she's implied. Certainly, she doesn't seem to have checked out any of the many online and print sources that not only recommend the book but suggest audience levels as well.

To the credit of the school system, no one seems to be panicking. There are procedures in place, and no one is rushing to remove the text simply to placate the parent. Indeed, there seems to be some knowledge about Bone's reputation as an exemplar text, which is refreshing.

Tom Spurgeon has some commentary on the topic here.

I need to decide if I'm going to write a letter to the school board. I often do in cases of comics controversies in the schools. At the very least, it looks like I need to keep an eye on this and update the introduction for a certain CD-Rom project regarding censorship and graphica that should be available in the fall of 2010......

Kick-Ass Movie, Well....

..kicks ass!!!!

I am less than thirty minutes removed from seeing the last credit roll, and I am pretty impressed. There are many critics out there calling this movie a satire of the super-hero genre. The joke's on them, and on anyone who buys into their misunderstandings. The awesome thing about Kick-Ass the movie is that it might appear to be satirical because it overtly tropes so many conventions of the capes and cowl films, but the references are so clear -- heroes are mentioned by name and their mythoi explained or critiqued in script -- that it really is more of an homage to the genre than a satire.

Anyone who looks at teen super-heroes, cracked-out villains, predictable origin stories that set up a sequel, and bloody violence in this film and suggests it all pokes fun of the genre is missing the point that the movie is still a stellar exemplar of the genre.

Sure, the film takes on the question of "what if people tried to be super-heroes in real life?" but don't be fooled: you're still entering a fantasy world. That's the big trick of Kick-Ass: it tricks the tricksters, pulls the wool over the eyes of the folks who want to make us all feel they're the smart ones keeping our eyes sheep-hair free. It's a straight up bad-ass super-hero movie, make no broken bones about, and it lives up to its name.

** This commentary relates to the film only, as I've still not read the GN. :(

**** I still think the guy who plays Kick-Ass looks like senior-year-of-high-school-Bucky-Carter. ;)

Graphic Novel Reporter Updates

Graphic Novel Reporter has some great entries in its latest update. Comics-friendly English and Drama teacher John Weaver talks about how he used comic book elements in conjunction with a production of Faustus at his Pennsylvania high school. There's a feature on the new non-profit outfit Reading With Pictures (of which I am somewhat associated), and former "El Paso in the Comics" keynote speaker Jaime Hernandez is interviewed by Peter Gutierrez about the new book The Art of Jaine Hernandez, which reminds me that I need to follow up on some things....

Minority Representations in Comics

This video is a good resource about how minstrel figures, picanninies, yellow-skinned demons and other non-white characters have been represented in comics.

Once I teach another comic course, I'll probably use this video. I often ask students to visit the Grand Comic Book Database and look at minority representations in old covers of Captain America, Luke Cage, Tarzan, etc. It's an eye-opening experience.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Scorsese on Hugo Cabret Film Project

Yep, you read right. Coming at you in 3-D too, sometime 2011.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kick-Ass Reaches 100K Mark, EP Bookstores Still Suck

The Beat has this article on how the Kick-Ass graphic novel has sold over 100,000 copies. The argument: those that say comics aren't anything but story boards for films might be right. That's a little silly and over-stating things, of course.

Me? I've been scouring my local Barnes and Noble for the last few months waiting for this title to be available. Either they're selling out faster than I can get to them, or this is another piece of evidence that my local chain ain't all that great. Of course, with no Borders or Books-A-Million around for competition, why strive for excellence? Sigh......

Fat People Unite!

Hear me, my brethren! In ye above title is yon post to a tale most befitting our stupendous waistlines and how the evil sky dragons treat us!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Teaser: Middle-Aged Anthropomorphic Mechanically-Inclined Tourtoise (and Son)?

Review: _Prime Baby_

Gene Yang's Prime Baby, recently collected into graphic novel form after being serialized in The New York Times, is a cute, clever, and endearing story about young Thaddeus' childhood megalomania and how it connects him to his family, especially his new baby sister, who just happens to be an interdimensional portal for peacenik aliens intent on bringing smiles and happiness to the Earth.

In Thaddueas one can see a deep-rooted sense of sibling rivalry dueling with the desire to be loved. He's at once a disturbing little boy with an alarming adolescence-level egocentricism and someone with whom anyone with brothers and sisters -- anyone who has ever wanted to be the center of the universe, really -- can relate easily.

This undercurrent of allegorical depth (in Prime Baby, wrapped in the tension of Thaddeus as exceptional while also archetypal "everychild") in otherwise seemingly mundane stories is beginning to be part of Yang's signature. It's certainly apparent in The Eternal Smile. Yang is adept at taking the ordinary and giving it a little symbolic "umph!" While no other work he's produced has been as multifaceted or as meaningful as American Born Chinese, which is beginning to stand as the exception rather than the rule in his repertoire as Yang publishes more work to a wide audience, it is comforting to know that Yang is established enough now that we can see braided threads in his storytelling. I'd rather see more of the complexity inherent in ABC than the essentially playful, "oh, isn't that interesting to note" levels of relevance in the rest of his opus (that I've read to date), but it is important to point out that Prime Baby represents earlier work from the artist rather than an evolution of his craft.

Fun, relatable, worth reading, but not life-changing or particularly exceptional, Prime Baby offers hints of complexity in a storyline otherwise relatively innocuous.

University of Houston Course on Graphic Novels

Making me all the more sad that I hardly ever get to teach a 100% comics-centric course anymore...... (sniff, sniff)

Though with the ignorance being displayed in the response to the article, maybe I'm better off not to teach those once amazingly popular, one student even called them "legendary" comics classes I used to teach at my previous employer (That's a lie and I know it. I'd teach a comics course at the drop if a hat, resistance be damned. Hell, I've done it before... ).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Psy-Op Comics!

You mean the U.S. uses comics as propoganda during war efforts? Get outta here!! All those red, white, and blue- colored heroes and heroines just so happened to gain traction at the start of WWII, right? And even if the gubmit did use comics to build patriotism, advertise rationing techniques, etc., they stopped after WWII, yes? NO???

Thanks to University of Nebraska librarian Richard Graham for drawing my attention to the link embedded in this post's title. The site's a great one to reference.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

2010 Eisner Award Nominees List Announced

NPR Blogger Talks Comics and Vocabulary

Glen Weldon has a fun little piece about what comics taught him when he was a 6-year-old in 1974, three years before my existence on the planet earth. Weldon talks about learning words like enigma, heist, nemesis, rogues, mountebanks, yeggs, invulnerable, exoskeleton, cowl, tunic, and a host of other neat-o words from reading super-hero comics.

The comments section is just as intriguing to read as the article. Check it out.

And why might the article have me happy? Well, who is to say I'm not working on a comics-and-vocabulary project as we speak??? ;)

Hugo Award Nominations Posted

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

May 2010 Booklist focuses on GN's

More Golden Age/Victorian Era Comics Online



Digital Comics Museum Launches

Looking for scans of Golden Age comics? The Digital Comics Museum is for you! You'll need a program that will let you read .cbz files. Mac users can use the SimpleComic app. Others may need to look for StuffIt online.

MoCCA Offers More Spring Classes on Comics Making

Press Release:

Press Contact: Ellen Abramowitz eabramowitz@moccany.org


New York (April 5, 2010) - The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art - MoCCA is proud to announce two new offerings from its Education Department. Organized by Senior Vice-President of Education, DANNY FINGEROTH, the department's next amazing classes will be:


Course details:


4 sessions, MONDAYS April 19 & 26, May 3 & 106:30-9:00 pm
$275 tuition $250 for MoCCA members

Understanding the way the body looks and works helps illustrators and cartoonists draw their characters so that the artwork conveys personality. This course will teach students how to create real or imaginary characters-in any style-that are consistent and believable.Through PowerPoint presentations, in-class exercises, and at-home assignments, students will learn to see and draw the structures and tissues that give the body shape and character. Willberg will-literally!-draw on live models to trace muscle groups and bony landmarks. Sikoryak will demonstrate the application of anatomical understanding to any cartooning style. Students will practice drawing from live models in class and learn to apply the lessons to their own characters.

Note: Students will need to bring drawing materials-see MoCCA website for details. This is a life-drawing class; nude models will be employed.

R. SIKORYAK is the author of Masterpiece Comics (D&Q). He's drawn for RAW, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Nickelodeon Mag, The New Yorker, The Onion, MAD, Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse, among other media giants. Sikoryak teaches in the illustration department at Parsons School of Design. He has presented his cartoon slide show series, Carousel, around the United States and Canada.

KRIOTA WILLBERG teaches anatomy for cartoonists and illustrators at The Center For Cartoon Studies, pathology and massage therapy at the Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences, and anatomy in the dance department of Marymount Manhattan College. Willberg is an interdisciplinary artist, a filmmaker, and a lecturer and blogger about film and medicine.


4 sessions, TUESDAYS April 20 & 27, May 4 & 116:30-9:00 pm
$245 tuition $225 for MoCCA members

DANNY FINGEROTH will lead a hands-on workshop in writing comics and graphic novels. This is a four-week class whose aim is to teach students, in a supportive atmosphere, how to structure and write comics and graphic novel stories of professional caliber. Combining lectures, assignments in class and at home, and roundtable critiquing, the class will cover writing for all kinds of comics, including autobiographical, historical, “indy” and superheroes.

DANNY FINGEROTH was the longtime group editor of Marvel's Spider-Man line and the writer of comics including Darkhawk and Deadly Foes of Spider-Man. He has taught comics writing at NYU, The New School, and Media Bistro. Danny created and edited Write Now magazine, the only how-to publication dedicated to comics writing and writers. He is the author of The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels and co-author (with artist Mike Manley) of How to Create Comics from Script to Print. He's also written the books Superman on the Couch and Disguised as Clark Kent. Danny serves on MoCCA's board of advisors and on the board of directors of the Institute for Comics Studies.

And there are still a few spaces available in the third and final session of:

Tuesday, April 13, 6:30-8:30 pm: DENNIS O'NEIL
$40 $35 for MoCCA members

All classes held at MoCCA594 Broadway, Suite 401New York, NY 10012

For more information on all these courses, and to register, call 212-254-3511 or go to http://www.moccany.org/.

And don't forget:

April 10 and 11, 2010
The MoCCA Festival 2010!
69th Regiment Armory
68 Lexington Avenue (between 25th & 26th streets)
New York, NY

Tables are still available!

Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art
594 Broadway, Suite 401,
New York, NY 10012

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art - MoCCA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts education organization dedicated to the preservation, study and display of all forms of comic and cartoon art. The museum promotes greater understanding and appreciation of the artistic, cultural and historical significance of comic and cartoon art through a variety of events, exhibitions, and educational programs. The museum is located at 594 Broadway (between Houston and Prince Streets) in New York City. MoCCA is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays from 12:00-5:00 pm. Suggested donation to the museum is $5 but free for MoCCA Members as well as for children 12 and under (when accompanied by a paying adult). For more information about the museum and MoCCA events, exhibitions and programs, visit the museum's Website (www.moccany.org).

Monday, April 05, 2010

Michael Bitz's _When Commas Meet Kryptonite_ Available Soon!

While ELA teachers might have found some excuse not ot read Bitz's Manga High: Literacy, Identity and Comic of Age in an Urban High School, his second effort to spin out of the Comic Book Project deals more specifically with notions of composition, mechanics, linguistic exploration and awareness, and all sorts of Englishy goodness.

A Must-Read, this book is set for an April 2010 release date, which means you can get When Commas Meet Kryptonite from publisher Teachers College Press any day now!

Friday, April 02, 2010

GNR Interviews TOON BOOKS' Francoise Mouly

Daggnabbit! A day after sending off an academic article in which I mention how TOON BOOKS could do a better job explaining how it determines ratings for its books, Graphic Novel Reporter posts an interview where the amazing Francoise Mouly delivers at least a bit of the answer. Ah well, it's an easy edit/footnote if the article gets accepted.

The interview is a good one. Worth the read. My favorite line is "Art and I used to say comics aren’t just for kids, we now have to say comics are not just for adults." Take that, ye who say we need to be careful of appropriating "youth culture" for our own purposes when it comes to sequential art!

TOON BOOK is a great line, and FM is certainly a major reason why. If you're not familiar with her place in the comics world, this interview is as good a starting point for you as any. Then head over to http://www.toonbooks.com/ and check that out.

Also in this GNR update: A story on the Texas Library Association's efforts to promote graphic novels via their Mavericks list.

Sebastian Stan to Play Bucky in Upcoming Movie

Plot: After a hard childhood, a wayward North Carolina boy with a steely determination and an iron-clad resiliency becomes the first member of his family to go to college. Ultimately, after shitty jobs and eye-opening life experiences, he gets married, gets fat, gets nut cancer, earns a Ph.D., and becomes a university professor. Then, eventually, he dies from the accumulated weight of his life's experiences, tempered by his blatant, almost autistic honesty and sincerity, which makes him the bane of all who know him (the perfect blend of Linus from Charlie Brown and Linus from Lost, ) or by a heart attack since he just can't put down the burgers. Yeah, probably by heart attack, or stroke. That's a possibility too. Or the cancer. We can't forget the cancer. That gets everybody at least once or twice, right?

Where was I? The link embedded in this post's title is actually about James "Bucky" Barnes, Captain America's sidekick, and the actor who will play him in the upcoming Cap movie. Still, throw in a guest appearance by Steve Rogers in that first description, and, well, you've got a scene about the main character reading comic books...... ;)