A Public Service Announcement! ;)

A Public Service Announcement! ;)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Reminder: _SANE journal_ Has first 3 Calls For Papers Posted

CFP: The first three issues of SANE journal: sequential art narrative in education (ISSN 2153-2613)

SANE journal is now seeking submissions for works of research, practitioner-based articles, reviews, and rationales regarding its first three themed issues.

Information about this new peer-reviewed, open access interdisciplinary journal covering all things comics-and-education-related, from pre-k to doctorate, can be obtained by visiting http://www.sanejournal.net/.

For more information, e-mail James Bucky Carter: jbcarter2 at utep dot edu.

V1.1 (late 2010 release or per article as considered ready by review board): “Comics in the Contact Zone.”

Mary Louise Pratt defines the contact zone as “social spaces where cultures meet, clash and grapple with each other, often in the contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today” and where those involved in the educational experience may “reconsider the models of community that many of us rely on in teaching and theorizing and that are under challenge today.” Texts are social spaces, of course, and the comic book may be the best indicator of this fact. How do you see comics as meeting, clashing, and grappling with social issues in your classrooms when you teach them? How do comics illustrate contact zone precepts such as speech acts, transculturation, unsolicited oppositional discourse, autoethnography, and safe houses? How does the integration of comics themselves set up contact zones in the classroom? Which texts do you teach to get at notions associated with contact zone pedagogy? How does teaching a comics course set up a contact zone with professional colleagues, departments, university officials, etc? Articles should make explicit mention to contact zone theory and its component concepts. Deadline July 2010.

V1.2 (planned 2011 release or per article as considered ready by the review board): “Teaching the Works of Alan Moore.”

Alan Moore may be the most influential and controversial comics writer of the 20th and 21st centuries. How do you teach his complex, multilayered works in your high schools classrooms, your college courses, etc? What are the challenges associated with teaching his texts or specific texts and how do you and your students address them? Can they be addressed? How does his output “fit” with notions of literature, literary, canon, etc. as you teach them in your courses? Articles may cover several of Moore’s texts or focus specifically on one. Deadline October 2010.

V2.1 (planned late 2011 release or per article as considered by the review board): "Why Teachers Should Care About Graphic Novels: Teaching IRA’s Emphasis on 'Visualizing' and 'Visually Representing'"

Featuring guest editing by Katie Monnin of Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom (Maupin House, 2010), this issue's call can be found here. Deadline January 15, 2011. While Katie has addressed her call to a specific set of scholars in the first part of her call, it later reads such that anyone meeting the criteria she sets forth can and should feel free to submit using the stated methods.

James Patterson To Give Comics a Go

Another author from the print-based world decides to try his hand at comics. Read his thoughts on the process of thinking "comics writing" by clicking the link embedded in the title of this post.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I got yer "Airbender" Right Here!

For those of you wanting more on this The Last Airbender casting stink, you should visit the original link in the title a few posts down and read the growing comments. They pretty much cover the bases of how one might view this occurrence. I finally saw a commercial for the film yesterday and thought it looked pretty cool. I still won't run to the theatre to see it, but it does look like a strong effort.

I keep thinking about the assumption that Asian characters can't carry a film of this kind, and that seems so foolish to me, whether based in a racism or a reaction to an apparent racism. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon anyone? Hero? The Forbidden Kingdom?

I also wonder if casting all-Asians for the movie would have subjected it to the criticism that it was just another action movie with magical nasty yellow people fighting one another while making semi-erotic vocalizations and hitting on a host of other fringe fetishes.

So, isn't there a way to look at this where the film's casting decision makers can't win for losing?

I'm sympathetic to virtually every argument being made regarding the casting for this movie, but I also wonder if some fuss could have been avoided at all.

Lagos Bros Interviewed about _Sons of Liberty_ GN

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Inner Kanye Says, "Gene Yang Doesn't Care About White People!"

Sorry, my inner Kanye got the best of me for a moment.

The link embedded in the title of this post actually refers to Yang's thoughts on the upcoming movie, The Last Airbender (which should have been called Avatar, but some small independent film that debuted last year and nobody ever saw had already claimed that title). The movie directly and overtly cast white people in roles that should have gone to Asian actors, in Yang's opinion. This made him upset, so he did a comic about it.

I find virtually every aspect of this phenomena interesting, but I'm not ready to come down on a side yet. I'm not a viewer of the cartoon the movie's based upon, but Yang makes me want to watch it. On the other hand, I think Yang is putting some words in the mouths of a group of nebulous, apparently white Americans.

Yang certainly has a lot of pull right now, especially among teachers. I'm very interested to see if his argument gains ground, and, if so, whether it'll be lauded or critiqued. I'm also interested to see what else this "shakes out" regarding people's honest opinion about things.

Me? I hadn't planned to see the movie in the first place.

The 7 Best Comics Schools

As of yet, this list actually refers to the best 7 schools in comics, as in fictional schools, but I liked the title's phrasing better.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Schulz Talks Shop in 1975 Family Circle Mag

Thanks to Spurge for giving some attention to this very endearing article from 30 years ago in which the Peanuts creator discusses his characters.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Erin Hicks' Wolvie Short Making Rounds, Bringing Smiles

Spurge and Heidi have both covered this at their respective sites, and since it is cute and chuckel-inspiring, I thought I'd post the link too. Click the title of this post to see Hicks' slice-of-life take on James "Logan" Howlett's experience at the Xavier Institute.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

This November: Wimpy Kid Cinco!

No, this doesn't refer to my pending appearance at NCTE. Diary of a Wimpy Kid book 5 is set to drop near Turkey Day, 2010.

Friday, May 21, 2010

God Giveth; God Taketh Away

I've come to see all professional organizations and the peer review process in general as whimsical Greek gods with chronic flare-ups of schizophrenia. Sometimes you are deemed worthy by them, but you're just as likely to be ignored altogether, even if you worship them dutifully (play on words there with "duty," as in "pay your annual dues") or to be unequivocally fucked with, smote with little regard to what might seem like logic.

To wit, almost 24 hours after learning that my edited collection has become an NCTE bestseller (gods giveth), I learn that an article I submitted to a high-end NCTE journal will not be published (gods taketh away) -- despite 2 of 3 peer reviewers giving it positive marks.

But, two editors plus one negative review =3, and 2 positive reviews makes the score 3 to 2, right?

What makes this more frustrating is that this is not the only time a major NCTE entity has turned down work of mine by agreeing with the more aberrant opinion of peer reviewers while ignoring the more consistent remarks of others.

The upside is that at least I did receive evidence of the article being peer-reviewed, which sometimes isn't even the case with certain journals, which will send you a sort of "Dear John" form letter listing the possible reasons your article didn't make it.

And, with two positive reviews, I feel the article will find a home somewhere good. The editors even suggested I could resubmit the article to their journal again if I wanted to revise in ways that gelled with the one reviewer's opinions (but ignored the other two's, apparently). Further, every review tells you something about your work or how people see it (or choose to see it) and the different scholarly agendas that are available and being privileged.

It just bothers me that I have multiple experiences with the same general entity where I've sent work through the peer review process only to get results that seem to negate the experience and purpose of peer review to begin with.

I think that is a fair complaint.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bestseller Status!

I'm not sure what this means, but as of 9:04 Mountain Time on May 20, 2010, Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels: Page by Page, Panel by Panel is listed in the "Bestseller" section of NCTE's books pages!

I have lots of things I want to say about this -- after all, it's been over 3 years since the book's publication, so I've had some time for reflection -- but I just ain't sure what to make of this.

Is this status ever-changing like Amazon'com's rankings (highest ranking I ever saw for BLCWGN:PBP,PNP?: 12,000)? Has the book been on the list for a while now, or did my ego search (hey, we've been sick at Casa Carter all week. I needed a pick-me-up) hit at the right time? I definitely think NCTE should send authors an e-mail once their book hits bestseller status if not.

Till I know more -- and I may just choose to remain blissfully ignorant on this -- I'll just consider this a happy accomplishment and leave it at that.

***Oh, one more thing: I haven't required the text for a course since Spring of 2009, so it's not just my students buying all these copies. ;)

***One more thing: That last statement reminds me that I should thank everyone who has purchased the book or used it in your classes. THANKS!!!!!!

NYC Kids' Love of Manga Threatened By Library Cuts

Monday, May 17, 2010

Graphic Classics Releases Revised Poe GN

Press Release:


Eureka Productions is pleased to announce the revised 4th edition of GRAPHIC CLASSICS: EDGAR ALLAN POE, the first volume in the GRAPHIC CLASSICS® series of comics adaptations of great literature.

GRAPHIC CLASSICS: EDGAR ALLAN POE returns to print in a greatly revised edition, with 40 new pages. New comics adaptations are "The Pit and the Pendulum" by David Hontiveros and Carlo Vergara, and "William Wilson" by Rafael Nieves and Dan Dougherty. Plus "The Raven" in a revised adaptation by J.B. Bonivert, with "Annabel Lee" by the same artist as a new companion piece. Returning from previous volumes are "The Black Cat", The Tell-Tale Heart", "The Fall of the House of Usher" and four more terrifying tales.

GRAPHIC CLASSICS are available in bookstores, comics shops, or direct from the publisher at http: ⁄ ⁄ http://www.graphicclassics.com/.
Reviews of the Graphic Classics series:

“The [2009] Discovery of the Year, for me, is Eureka Productions' series of Graphic Classics.”— R.C. Harvey, The Comics Journal

“A splendidly inventive series.” — Malcolm Jones, Newsweek

“In short, every volume is highly recommended.”— Paul Buhle, Rain Taxi

2010 Glyph Award Winners Announced

Saturday, May 15, 2010

_Diary of a Wimpy Kid_ To Get Film Treatment -- Again

Big profits combined with low expenses regarding the first film make it a no-brainer for the studio to return to the psuedo-graphic novel series.

Friday, May 14, 2010

TOON Books Launches Blog for Emerging Readers

Press Release:

NEW YORK, May 13, 2010 – TOON Books has created a Benny and Penny blog for emerging readers on its website. The interactive blog features the mice characters from creator Geoffrey Hayes. Hayes, author and illustrator, is the 2010 winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for Benny and Penny in the Big No-No!

The content on the blog is designed specifically for emerging readers. The vocabulary, visuals, and activities target the needs of early reading and writing. Parents and children can tune in every Monday for a great new story with Benny, Penny and their friends in a weekly comic strip. Visit the blog every Wednesday for a new cartoon featuring a caption contest. The author will post the best captions the following week.

Additional fun activities:
*Write to the author in the comments section and he will personally answer them.
*Click on the weekly comic strip to download and print out for coloring.
*Cut the panels out, scramble them up and put them back in order.
*Read and reread the archives anytime.
*Brainstorm ideas for captions.
*Send us your drawings and writings and the author will highlight them on the blog.

Hayes is looking forward to meeting his fans on the blog:

“It broadens Benny and Penny’s world and gives children something to look forward to,” said Hayes. “It’s a great way for the kids to be in touch with the author and learn and have fun at the same time. It’s also something that parents and children can do together on a weekly basis.”

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Forthcoming Articles/ Appearances

It's been a slow week for the type of news I try to cover here, which suits me fine as I'm grading finals and doing averages this week while also attending to some annual medical stuffs.

But, to keep the posts current, here's some news:

This fall I have an article co-authored with Katie Monnin and Brian Kelley appearing in the award-winning journal Inland. Inland serves Washington state and Idaho NCTE chapters. You may recall that I was a speaker at the Idaho Council of Teachers of English a year or so ago. The article considers "visualizing and visually representing," two of the 6 English Language Arts defined by NCTE/IRA and illustrates how the use of comics and graphic novels in the classroom attend to them and to many of the NCTE/IRA standards. Look for the article in Inland some time in September 2010.

Then, in November, see another co-authored article of mine on blogging, American Born Chinese, and special needs students. California English teacher Cheryl Gomes and I teamed up for this one, which is slated to appear in a volume of English Journal which focuses on revisioning disability.

I also have two other big projects underway that I need to tell you about, both of which have been alluded to in this blog as of late, but I'll keep you waiting on these details. :)

Speaking of one of those projects, though, you can learn a little about what it might be by searching the NCTE Annual Convention Program once it is available on line. At the November convention, I'll be joining a group of teachers and teacher educators to talk about censorship issues regarding schools, libraries, and graphica.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Maybe there is some evil in _Tin Tin_

Click the title for an article that talks about Tin Tin's publishers suing academics who use Herge in their works. Has no one ever heard of fair use?????

Thursday, May 06, 2010

_Tin Tin in the Congo_ Case Going to Atleast May 12

The article linked to in the title of this post suggests the publisher will be called to give testimony on May 12, so perhaps reports that a decision would be made by the ruling body to ban Tin Tin in the Congo, which depicts Africans in very poor light, were premature. I'm trying to follow the story as best I can and have already weighed in on my support for keeping the texts available for anyone who chooses to read them.

Perhaps I'm getting more conservative in my old age, having seen my son move all four of his appendages in an ultrasound taken when he was only 2 months developed; having seen leftists with whom I used to identify reveal as much of a fascism as those on the far right; having seen those who espouse equal rights seem to really just want to replace the current power structures' personnel with people of their own best liking, focusing on the race or gender or sexuality of the participants rather than really changing the systems in and of themselves; having lived in a city where I'm a minority but still regarded as a majority figure; and, most recently, having seen folks unable to figure out what "illegal" means.

But, I feel that banning texts, language, etc. with unfortunate imagery and connotations from the past serves a terrible ironic purpose. If we make sure no one can experience these things, we may forget they ever existed, and then -- just like every generation of teenagers thinks they're the first to discover kinky sex -- we'll figure that if there's no evidence, it didn't really happen, stop thinking about it all together, or worse, since it hasn't really happened, begin to think that perhaps it's about time we started to put our stamp on it.

What's the old adage: Study history so it doesn't repeat itself? While I don't believe there's as much wisdom in that as there should be, as evidenced by human society's proclivity for doing the same stupid shit over and over again for thousands of years, I believe there is more wisdom in the phrase "censor your dirty realities and be unprepared when you begin to relive them."

UPDATE: Tom Spurgeon found more news on this case.

_Kick-Ass_ Tops Adult GN Sales Charts

The graphic novel version of Kick-Ass is riding high on the sales charts following the release of the movie, selling well over 100,000 copies now. I finally bought a copy of the GN and have to admit to liking the movie treatment better.

This sales ranking is good news because it offers some evidence that graphic novels sales might experience a mini "Watchmen bump" that might help the industry have a productive quarter again.

I'm also very frustrated that folks keep comparing Kick-Ass's box office take and sales-driving abilities with that of Watchmen. As a film, Kick-Ass is probably a better piece than Watchmen, which I think has aged well and may eventually be considered a better film than critics originally labeled it, but as comics, Kick-Ass is nowhere near as important or as good a text as Watchmen. So, the comparisons -- just because both take on the "What if supers were real" aspect and have an indy feel to them -- are bogus and unfair.

Watchmen: one of the most important books of the 20th century. Kick-Ass? Fun fanboy candy with an introduction by Rob Leifeld.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

_Teaching Graphic Novels_ Continues to Rack Up Recognition!

In addition to being a book of the year finalist for ForeWord Magazine, Katie Monnin's Teaching Graphic Novels (Maupin House) has now also been named a finalist for the Association of Educational Publishers' Distinguished Achievement Awards for grades Curriculum & Instruction, grades 6-8.
I'm so happy to call Katie and colleague and friend and to be working with her on several GN-related projects, one of which is also slated for release from Maupin House, which really knows how to market its books and to make sure people take note of their excellent quality. Teaching Graphic Novels deconstructs the form so thoroughly for teachers, it is no wonder it is being honored. I like it so much, I've got two copies on my shelves!
Rock on, Katie!

Review: _Benny and Penny in The Toy Breaker_

The latest Benny and Penny book features Bo, an infamous toy breaker, visiting our mousy friends for some playtime. Of course, the siblings want to keep everything from him, and in so doing assist him in destroying several of their favorite playthings. Everything works out in the end, though, once Bo shows remorse and Benny and Penny stop worrying so much about material things.

Of all the books in this series, this one has been my least favorite. It seems odd and embarrassing to say a children's graphic novel has too many words, but I often felt as though the actor mice who played Benny, Penny and Bo had haggled with writer Geoffrey Hayes over how many lines each of them had in the script. However, I'm not the target audience for this book, but, as I've mentioned before, I have my own test market at home: my oldest son (4).

He enjoyed it. The parts with onomatopoeia and naughty behavior tickled him the most, and he didn't seem to mind my tripping over myself time and time again when adding exposition like "said Bo," or "Benny said" to help him keep up with the characters (which was tedious for me). He was able to predict the pattern after a while (see toy, play with toy, fight over toy, break toy), and he knew when I prompted him via question that Bo, who had been teasing the kids about calling our for their mother, yelled "Mommy!" when he gets stuck in a fence hole. Whether he recognized the word or the story structure, I am not sure, but that was an impressive moment for us both, and he genuinely seemed to love the irony. So, Benny and Penny and the Toy Breaker pass the son test, but this one will be a book I hope he doesn't ask me to read over and over.

It comes to mind that some might be interested in knowing how I read comics to my son. While some claim to have done research that says kids can't put images in a sequence until a certain age, my son seems to have caught on quickly to filling in the gutters and reading comics. He actually seems to have regressed a bit on this lately, to be honest. We have some wordless kids comics thanks to a friend at :01 that my son loves very much. With our help, he's learned the gist of these books and that it is also acceptable to read the story differently from time to time. With kids comics with words, we do the same as we do with wordless comics: we point to specific panels and items within each panel, explain or narrate, then move to the next panel and specifics within it. When there are words, we point to the word balloons and the characters speaking and often fill in with "said X" or "Y exclaimed." We then attend to specifics that the images reveal and make comments, ask questions, or prompt him to respond somehow, often with "what do you think will happen next?" or other prediction-based prompts.

My son finally seemed to get into Free Comic Book Day this year, and he's been toting his comics around everywhere, immune to his younger brother's destruction of the covers, which upsets me but no one else in the house ("Honey, don't you want to bag and board that between readings??" :) ), and he's been wanting us to read them to him at bedtime rather than his other storybooks. He's most interested in learning every character's name, then what they can do (in super hero comics), then in reading and rereading the story. The best is when he "reads" the stories back to us, which he immediately wanted to do with The Toy Breaker.

Tin Tin Hearing Set for Today!

Will Tin Tin in the Congo be banned in Belgium? We'll know soon enough...

Gallery of Images of Folks Reading Comics Back in the Day

Thanks, Spurge! Everyone else: go enjoy these images.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Spider-Man Stops Comics Thief -- No, Really!!

Sometimes God smiles upon you. After almost getting ran over by a crazy lady pulling out of her driveway this morning, I learn about this story (thanks, The Beat!) and life is full of wonder again.

This instance recalls the story about the Asian autistic kid caught in a burning building. He would have died had someone not mentioned his obsession with Spidey. A local man just happened to have a web-slinger costume handy, so he put it on and was able to get the child to come to him.

What is it about Spider-Man that brings out the hero in all of us? Maybe Movie Version Aunt May had it right: "There's a hero in all of us."

Except for that crazy ****** who almost killed me and my dog.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Macbeth in Several Panels

Thanks for drawing this to our attention, Heidi!

Electron Boy Saves Day in Seattle, Thanks to Make A Wish And Hundreds of Volunteers

Ah, the power of comics to inspire the young mind/ the power of the young to inspire the best in minds.