A Public Service Announcement! ;)
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
We (cartoonists, comics scholars, and comics-and-literacy advocates) fight SOOOO much ignorance, even from otherwise "educated" people. Thank goodness we get a mix of ideas here.
Eh? More like "Yeh!"
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Thursday, December 08, 2011
One day enough people will catch on such that articles like this will simply be entitled "Duh: Here We Go Again." But, hey, researchers, keep those studies coming.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Below are the very kinds words that I'll be adding to my files very soon. Thanks again to all the great folks in Albany!
Ironically, this news arrived to me on the very same day that I learned my tenure as a Co-sponsored speaker with NCTE has expired and that there seems to be little interest from NCTE in extending my position as a speaker at this time.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
The issue features thoughts and ideas on teaching Moore Classics like Watchmen and V for Vendetta, but it also explores Promethea, Lost Girls, and other texts from Moore's amazing opus.
Three articles, three rationales, and one review make up the table of contents, which features scholars from Northwestern University, The University of New Mexico, and even a practicing high school teacher who uses Watchmen with his upperclassmen.
Click here to visit the journal, and here's to happy reading and fun learning! Warning, you might get tachyons in your eyes or find yourself in a flux resulting from rifts in the space-time dimension!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
From the Publisher's Weekly story:
"Renowned comics writer and novelist Chris Claremont, best known for his many years writing Marvel’s X-Men and Uncanny X-Men series, has reached an agreement to donate his archives to Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library. During his 17 years writing for the series, Claremont is credited with both developing strong female characters as well as introducing complex literary themes into superhero narratives while turning the X-Men into one of Marvel’s most popular series.
Click the link embedded in this post's title to get the rest of the article!
Monday, November 14, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
What I find interesting is that Rage Comics, a popular meme, integrates comics with logographic ques. Certain images come to signify without words. Wonder if students would get a kick out of taking notes via the Rage Comics??? Hmmmm....
Monday, November 07, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
From the website, with my bolds:
"Teen Read Week started in 1998. This year's theme is Picture It @ your library®, which encourages teens to read graphic novels and other illustrated materials, seek out creative books, or imagine the world through literature, just for the fun of it. Libraries across the world celebrate Teen Read Week with a variety of special events and programs aimed at encouraging teens to read for pleasure and to visit their libraries for free reading materials."
Teen Read Week ran from October 18-22.
Friday, October 28, 2011
The two-thirds curse.
The two-thirds curse has affected me in this way: I write a book proposal, an article, or a conference proposal, and 2 out of 3 peer reviewers have something very positive to say. The third is either not positive or downright damning, and the publishing house, journal, or conference editors or higher-ups decide to side with the minority opinion.
For example, see the reviewer feedback for the GN/CC proposal:
Proposal: Grading Form for Graphic(a) To the Core: Comics, Graphic Novels, and the Common Core
- Comments for Submitter
- 1. The proposal gives a lot of background information on graphic novels and their importance, but does not describe what the attendees will "do" in the session.
- 2. Very relevant and provocative and timely session! Well written proposal - clear, substantive objectives!
- 3. As educators "scramble" to understand the Common Core Standards every strategy that is presented is worth examining. The conversation about student achievement, teacher performance and the Common Core takes classroom instruction to the level that has not been thought of in previous years. Hopefully with the method presented, the audience will grasp a clearer understanding of the Common Core and see its alignment with students academic achievement.
Some will say it is unprofessional of me to share this information, but I've established a record of peeling back the curtain on academia since I've established this blog, and I won't stop now.
I think I'm also going to start putting my money where my mouth is. Conferences are so expensive anyway, and so are membership fees. Add in the costs of journals that my university library already subscribes to or can get me through ILL, and I have to wonder why I keep shelling out dollars and getting a frustrating "return" on my investment.
Ah, the duality of the academic: complaining about not getting into a conference while simultaneously complaining about how much it would cost to attend it!
But, one has to show affiliations to national organizations in academia. It's just sort of a fact.
Maybe it is time for me to seek out a new one and let IRA be for a year or so.
Any takers? Maybe I should just shop myself around to different organizations like a free agent and see if they'll take me. My guess? 2/3's of their membership would be glad to have me, but the key decision-makers will have reservations about associating with someone so clearly exhibiting "self-destructive" behavior like letting the cat out of the bag....
Heck, maybe this is just a little birdie's way of telling me now is the time to get involved with ALA, YALSA, and their new graphic novel subgroup. And haven't I been thinking about joining a middle school-centric organization for a while anyway?
Plus, isn't this the sort of thing that led me to founding SANEjournal? Seeing that a process seems to be broken and instead of *just* complaining about it, trying to do something about it? Yeah, it is.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Thanks to all who attended my keynote on comics and character education and to the folks who attended the seminar on comics and composition. Thanks also to the conference organizers. I felt well-treated and well-respected the entire time and hope I was worth the trouble! ;)
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
M-F 8:00-12:00 March 14-25, Summer 2007
James Bucky Carter
357 Liberal Arts Building
Office Hours:________________________________ and by appointment
This is a 3 credit hour, undergraduate course that is a requirement for English Education students but may not be a required course for other students. It is your responsibility to know if this is a required course for you. We will be exploring what pedagogical research and practice has to say about using graphic novels in the secondary (grades 6-12) English language arts classroom, and we will be sampling from a number of graphic novels that are worthy of strong consideration for use in our future classrooms.
Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels: Page by Page, Panel by Panel
James Bucky Carter (Ed.) NCTE 2007.
Going Graphic: Comics at Work in the Multilingual Classroom.
Stephen Cary. Heinemann 2004.
The Amazing True Story of a Single Teenage Mom (on reserve); American Born Chinese; The Best American Comics 2006;Big Fat Little Lit; Beowulf; Bone: One Volume Edition; A Contract with God; Deogratias, A Tale of Rwanda; Electric Girl (or Queen Bee, whichever is at the bookstore); Fagin the Jew; Goodbye, Chunky Rice; In the Shadow of no Towers; King; Maus I; Maus II; Pedro and Me; Persepolis I; Persepolis II; Pride of Baghdad; Pop Gun War; Rose; The Tale of one Bad Rat; Runaways; Truth: Red, White, and Black (on reserve); Ultimate Spider-Man Vol.1; Unstable Molecules; The 9/11 Report; 300.
As well, you will be required to read a number of articles and book chapters, all of which are on reserve at the library. Most are available for digital download via any computer with an Internet connection.
Getting Graphic: Using Graphic novels to Promote Literacy with Preteens and Teens.
Michele Gorman. Linworth 2003.
The Power of Reading. S. Krashen. Heinemann 2004.
Reading Don’t Fix No Chevy’s: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men. Smith and Wilhelm. Heinemann 2002.
CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK ADDRESSED IN COURSE:
This course “Frees the Power of the Individual” by helping pre-service teachers come to understand the need for choice, access, and time in reading literature and also the importance of knowing how to assess and increase their students’ literacy skills. The course has the power to transform its students’ preconceived notions about reading and literature and gives them the tools to transform or inform their students’, peers’, and administrators’ notions as well. Students have ample opportunities to experience various ways they and their students can work in small group communities and engage in New literacies, Multimodal literacies, critical literacies, cultural literacies, and functional literacies. The course seeks to inspire its students to transform and inform themselves and those around them via communal activities and discourse and to be able to apply their experiences such that they can inform, transform, and inspire their students’ reading habits and attitudes.
COURSE OBJECTIVE(S): Students will…
• Increase their interest in and knowledge of literature for adolescents via traditional texts as well as newer forms which correspond with notions of “New Literacy.” (NCATE/NCTE 3.4.1, 3.6, INTASC 1)
• Survey graphic novels and books written for and read by adolescents. (INTASC 1)
• Accrue first and second-hand knowledge about these books for the purpose of making informed recommendations along the lines of student interest. (3.5, INTASC 1)
• Develop skill in evaluating, discussing, and writing about adolescent literature in traditional and virtual environments. (3.1.3, INTASC 2,3,4)
• Increase their knowledge and expertise in helping students become better readers. (4.9, INTASC 3,4,5,7,8)
• Learn how to help adolescents discover and develop their own reading interests.(4.0, 4.9, ITASC 5)
• Learn the NCTE/IRA standards for English language arts and learn about NCTE’s statements on Multimodal literacy
• Read an array of articles on using graphic novels and comic books in the classroom.
• Attend every class
• Read every assignment
• Make a concerted effort to actively participate
• Keep a journal in which you reflect on each of your readings and your thoughts on graphic novels before, during, and after the class.
• Create a 3-page, inked and lettered comic entitled “How I Became a Reader.”
• Write a 5-page paper on how you see graphic novels linking with NCTE /IRA English language arts standards and the NCTE statement on Multimodal literacies.
• Complete the “Assessment Days” final exam activities over the course of the final two days of the class.
• 15% -- Attendance and ACTIVE Participation
• 20% -- Journals: You will journal about your thoughts on graphic novels as they stand/stood before, during, and after the class, and you will write reactions to your readings.
• 20% -- “How I Became a Reader” 3-page comic, inked and lettered.
• 20% -- 3-5 pages on how you see graphic novels matching up with NCTE/IRA standards and statements on Multimodal literacies.
• 25% -- Complete participation and completion of activities during “Assessment Days Final Examination”
GENERAL GRADING RUBRIC:
100-90 – Work is completed on time and meets the requirements of the assignment or goes beyond it in insightful ways. The work is mature in thought, clear grammatically, and shows exceptional application of ideas brought forth from readings, discussions, etc. Attendance is not an issue.
89-80 – Work is completed on time and meets the requirements of the assignment for the most part and has potential to be an exemplary effort but falls just short due to lack of clarity. In other words, it is good work, but could still use some work. Attendance is not an issue.
79-70 – Work is completed on time but fails to clearly meet the requirements of the assignment. It appears to be perfunctory, just completed to be completed, with little major insight into ideas brought forth from readings, discussions, etc. Attendance may be an issue.
69-65 – Work is completed on time but does not meet the requirements of the assignment, may be grammatically unsound or very murky in clarity and very shallow in depth and application of ideas brought forth from readings, discussions, etc. Attendance is an issue.
64-0 – Work is most probably late and shows little to no respect for the assignment and appears rushed or, for lack of a better term, “thrown together,” with very little connectivity to anything stemming from the assignment, class readings, discussions, etc. Attendance is an issue.
Plagiarism will not be tolerated. By staying enrolled in this class you understand that I have the right to take every necessary action to make sure your work is yours and your sources are properly cited. Plagiarism will result in a zero in the course. Be sure to educate yourself on what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it by visiting http://www.lib.usm.edu/research/plag/plagiarismtutorial.htm and taking the Plagiarism Tutorial. You will need the understanding in order to complete the writing assignments.
WRITING CENTER NOTICE:
The Writing Center offers free tutorial service to all students and on all writing projects, in order to help students meet the demands of university writing. It also houses instructional resources such as handouts, reference guides, with some limited access to word processing and internet. The Writing Center is located in the LAB and usually opens for business during the second week of classes. For more information, call ### 4821.
If a student has a disability that qualifies under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and requires accommodations, he/she should contact the Office for Disability Accommodations (ODA) for information on appropriate policies and procedures. Disabilities covered by ADA may include learning, psychiatric, physical disabilities, or chronic health disorders. Students can contact ODA if they are not certain whether a medical condition/disability qualifies. [Contact information followed.]
5/14 – Introduction. Initial writing activity. “SANE” presentation. Comic Book Show N’ Tell activity. HW: BLCWGN Chs. 1 and 11; Cary Chs.1-2; Cadiero-Kaplan; Morrell1; Goodbye Chunky Rice; Ultimate Spiderman Vol.1; Big Fat Little Lit.
5/15 – Discussion and activities. HW: Maus I and II; Persepolis I and II; BLCWGN Ch. 3; NCTE/IRA Standards for English language arts, available here:
5/15 (continued) -- HW: NCTE statement on Multimodal Literacies, available here: http://www.ncte.org/about/over/positions/category/media/123213.htm ; Brown Maus; Maus Crown Heights.
5/16 – Discussion and activities. Share other 9/11-related comics. HW: The 9/11 Report; Pride of Baghdad; In the Shadow of No Towers; Bitz; Gallo; Leckbee; Bruggeman.
5/17 – Discussion and activities. HW: American Born Chinese; Truth (on reserve); Fagin the Jew; BLCWGN Ch. 8; Versaci; Using Student Generated..
5/18 – Discussion and activities. HW: King; Pedro and Me; Unstable Molecules; BLCWGN Ch.2; Schwarz1 and 2; Bucher and Manning; In the Middle Chs.2-8.
5/21 – Discussion and activities. HW: A Contract with God; The Tale of One Bad Rat; Amazing True Story of a Teenage Single Mom (on reserve).; Mitchell & George; Jacobs; BLCWGN Ch. 4; Begin reading Bone.
5/22 – Discussion and activities. HW: BLCWGN Chs. 5-6; Deogratias; Beowulf; Pop Gun War; 300.
5/23 – Discussions and activities. HW: Bone; Rose; Electric Girl or Queen Bee; Reid Manga; Links to Other Articles.
5/24 – Discussions of readings. Begin Assessment Day Final Exam Activities. “How I Became a Reader” comics due. Come prepared to work in groups for your final exam. “Leveling” activity; Rationale/write-up activities; Thematic analyses; Pairings and Units activities. (More information later)
5/24 – Continue Assessment Days Final Exam Activities. Journals due. Papers due. Come prepared to work in groups for your final exam. “Leveling” activity; Rationale/write-up activities; Thematic analyses; Pairings and Units activities. (More information later)
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
"So many women 'toonists/ Are in the YA GN biz!/ Tom Cruise's wife isn't./ But I heard her agent is!"
Forgive my placeholder, yo!
Monday, September 12, 2011
Friday, September 09, 2011
If you're in the area, stop in, spend some cash, and enjoy!! Click here for more info. Chewbacca's gonna be there! Cosplayers! Billy Dee Williams! Local talent from both sides of the border!
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Minero is one of UTEP's student magazines.
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Some VERY intriguing findings!! :)
Friday, September 02, 2011
Thursday, September 01, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
What are you waiting for? Mench up and stop being a putz! Go read it! ;)
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Several people emailed me different links, so it it looks like the Associated Press picked up on the story, hopefully meaning it might have gotten some national attention. With such a neat comics scene in El Paso and El Paso Comics Convention coming up soon, that timing is great, and Jaime certainly deserves some recognition for his efforts to capture part of the history of this area.
What? You didn't know Dallas Stoudenmire was a real person? Time for you to visit what the kids call "The Google." ;)
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Apparently a film adaptation or two is underway as well. We'll see how The Hunger Games fairs as a film franchise and will keep an eye out for these Uglies GN's and films too as studios tray to catch the Harry Potter series lightening in a bottle.
So, humor me a bit as I continue my childhood desire to feel like these characters were meant to speak to me when I share this image with you:
Why is Steve Rogers apologizing to me, and why does it cause me emotion as I consider the words? First, I'll give you some options for answering the former query:
1. He's apologizing for not being able to avenge Bucky Barnes' (second) death, if not for not being able to save him.
2. He knows I've been buying the last year's worth of Avengers even though it's been nothing but talking heads a la Bendis at $4 a pop.
If it is true that Captain America is a zeitgeist figure for our country at any given time, I have to feel that he's apologizing to me, and that if you go buy your own copy of Avengers # 16, he'll be offering you an apology too.
He's saying he's sorry for the selfishness of so many of the Baby Boomers and their ingenues. He's apologizing for the Hippies who became Yuppies who have been thinking they have all the answers and have never been wrong about anything since they've been 16 years old.
He's apologizing for the stupidity of our falling for the bipartisan traps that have been put before us and for the country's leadership slowly moving away from Democracy toward a cold Capitalism that cares little for government beyond economy.
He's offering condolences for the terrible job market and for the death or perversion of the American Dream.
And you know what? If that's what he's offering, I'll take it. Who else who supposedly embodies the spirit of America has the gumption to offer apologies without blaming an "other side?"
I suggest you take it too, because you're not gonna get it from a greater American that Steve Rogers, and it's just a crying shame that he doesn't really exist.
But, if he's willing to take some responsibility, I should too, eh? Maybe he's apologizing to help me wake up and try to do more to make a difference. Or maybe he's apologizing because he knows I'll think that, and things are so bad that making a difference can't even make a dent anymore.
Anyway, if you'be been as disappointed with leadership as I have been for the last 12-16 years or so, please feel free to join me in thinking that Captain America speaks to us directly.
Here's a short description in his own words:
The "Chain World" Comic Book Experiment is, with the endorsement of several comics industry professionals, aimed at producing one artisan-designed hardcover slipcased 200-page comic book/"graphic novel" with a full-color wrap-around cover, beautifully illustrated initial page of story, and...199 pages left blank.
Call it the most aesthetic chain letter ever, call it the most beautifully tangible campfire "continue-the-story" game, or call it the oddest "jam comic" to ever come down the pike: This whole Experiment is about creating and releasing one book -- only ONE -- to find its narrative destiny unchecked. The book would be passed quietly from one artist to another, never discussing the ongoing story and likely never seeing the book again. Kickstarter donors would be contributing to a social experiment but also becoming part of something simultaneously exclusive and covert.
Sounds cool, eh? To learn more about the project, view a film about it, and help fund it, click here.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
But when Anya falls down a well and discovers the spirit of a girl about her age who died at its bottom, a typical teen angst narrative takes a tantalizing turn for the weird and creepy. By story's end, Anya has to grow up a bit and realize what is most important about family and self.
Or, to put it in cheesy film preview language, "A girl so worried about her weight is about to get some exorcise!"
Vera Brosgol's Anya's Ghost (2011, First Second) has been compared to Gene Yang's American Born Chinese, and surely Brosgol is paying homage to First Second's most commercially successful graphic novel to date. While the story is creepy cool and Anya is an attractive, relatable main character who deals with similar feelings as did Yang's, I do not see this book earning a National Book Award nomination. Maybe a Printz, and most-likely high praise from ALA.
Neil Gaiman has called the book a masterpiece, and certainly its themes and integration of the uncanny appeal to him. They appeal to me too, and I do think this is a very good, well-written, compelling graphic novel that meshes elements of the typical teen bildungsroman, the immigrant narrative, and the ghost story. While I do not think it will come to be seen as one of the best graphic novels ever published, as many consider American Born Chinese, Anya's Ghost holds its own and may be even more interesting to read to its target audience than ABC.
But, you know, there's nothing wrong with not being considered the best by everyone but still being considered among everyone's favorites. And as end-of-narrative Anya will tell you, even that isn't all that.
Comparisons to other texts aside, Brosgol has crafted an engaging narrative that nails the teen experience while adding a supernatural twist that should keep this graphic novel on the minds of adolescents and teachers for years to come.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Right? It was the most urgent thing on your list of urgent things. Remember? You 'member!
Now sink your teeth into "Aligning the IRA/NCTE Standards to Graphic Novels: An ELA Pedagogy of Multiliteracies," co-written with Katie Monnin and Brian Kelley, which is appearing now in InLand 28.1.
Both these journals' summer issues explore YA literature, and there's plenty more good readin' beyond the the stuff from the professor in the West Texas town of El Paso.
Interesting to see that Marvel's retcon of Captain America in Truth:Red, Black and White seems to have pulled from Captain CSA's mythos in that in both stories it is revealed that the Captains gained their powers from a serum that was tested on African Americans. Guess Marvel, which published some of Captain Confederacy back in the EPIC days, thought the idea was a good one.
Thanks to Tom Spurgeon for wishing a big "HBD" to the series' writer over the Comics Reporter, which spurred me to look into the series on a whim today.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
I'll also be a keynote speaker for one of the days of the New York NCTE affiliate in October and will be part of a panel of NCTE in November. Both appearances deal with comics, of course. Maybe I'll even introduce some graphic novelists at this year's ALAN, like I did last year.
I've got the "Comics" entry in the upcoming Encyclopedia of Adolescence, and I've published articles on graphica and education in Theory into Practice and Inland this summer.
I'll also be working to publish the second issue of SANEjournal. You may recall that the theme is "Teaching the Works of Alan Moore." We have some good articles lined up, and I can't wait to get back to this aspect of my advocacy for comics and literacy.
Then there are the things "in the works" that I want to talk about but probably need wait before doing so. Suffice it to say, by the end of the semester, I expect to announce a major library-based addition to the UTEP stacks.
And, if things fall right and I find evidence of equitable treatment to my liking, I may be making a professional milestone soon too.
I do need to get to writing new material and to sending out more proposals, etc. But, due to working with others, I'm not on empty there either.
Here's to a great Fall 2011 semester and beyond!
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Anyway, there are some neat titles on this list, some reportage and some history and some science. Teachers will note that suggests multi-curricular appeal!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
And that's cool... but do we need to paint Peter Parker as whiter than the lilies now? I mean, just because he died fighting one of the few green people in his world doesn't make him a racist. ;)
And that's my problem with the story surrounding this new character. It's not about the character at all but about the meta-narratives surrounding his appearance. You may have heard that Glen Beck blamed the First Lady for this change. "Blamed?" Come on. The subtexts surrounding Miles' new role are disturbing to me, even if it is easy to gloss over some of their substance and focus on the "feel good" aspect of "diversification."
Let me explain:
Consider this article from WNYC:
Comics writer Brian Michael Bendis is quoted as saying " Wouldn't it be cool if Spider-Man was biracial? Somebody different than the comic book norm -- who represented New York more."
Sorry, hard working, loyal, conflicted, over-achieving everyteen Peter Parker. You just didn't represent your city. Sorry all white people; your time has come and gone. You have no place in the New York of the 21 century. Or, if you did, your incredible whiteness was so glaring, it was mucking up the metaphor.
Jeff Yang of the San Francisco Chronicle is quoted in the article as saying, "This is definitely progress....It's always great to see when the faces behind the masks -- the iconic characters we grew up with -- are finally starting to reflect the world around us."
So, progress is replacing white people with people who are of non-white backgrounds, because all white people are the same and have a singular homogeneous culture that is at odds with reality?
The next example comes from Cheryl Gladstone, a biracial citizen of Brooklyn, who says, "Being different is a superpower."
Again, is the intimation that all white people are the same, and all people who are non-white are different. Just people of biracial identity break the mold? A white, milky mold?
Don't get me wrong. I haven't been keeping up with the Ultimate Spider-Man character for a while now and probably won't read the new book either. Am I glad that this new Spidey might connect with new generations of readers? Absolutely. But, in my mind, that includes white readers too.
Diversification is not simply about exchange, about pitting one ethnicity against another as if "white" is old and everything else is "new." And, though I know more than a few of my liberal friends will probably think it, I don't mean to come off as a stodgy, out-of-touch white guy upset that the world around him is changing and he's getting left behind.
(Insert word balloon on above image of Green Goblin: "Crackers be hatin'!!")
Well, actually, some of that is how I'm trying to come off. True progress, true multicultural acceptance means not erasing white identities, but bringing them and all other possible identities along for the ride. Working together rather than against, with resistance being applied to paradigms of divisive difference.
In a world where that is understood, I can't help thinking we'd have media exalting the character of Peter Parker and praising his accomplishments in his fictional universe while excited about the newcomer's ability to exemplify all the best of what Spider-Man represents, which, as the article points out, to its credit, has never been about race, but actions and decency and respect and the constant struggle to improve one's self and one's world.
That is not and should not be construed as a racial prerogative; it's a human one. But in our universe, that message seems to be getting lost.
Peter Parker is about to become an absent presence for Miles Morales, similar to how Ben Parker and Peter's dad were absent presences for him. I hope that Miles shares with his predecessor the common core value of judging people not on the color of their skin or the ethnic or cultural heritages from which they come, but on the quality of their character.
One of the most common teaser images on the web right now, in which an exhausted Morales lifts up his mask and thinks, "Maybe the costume is in bad taste," reveals to me that Miles is as deep a thinker and worrier as Peter, which is heartening. We might be getting it wrong, but maybe Spidey keeps getting it right.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
In addition to reminding folks about my first edited collection, the award-winning and best-selling Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels: Page by Page, Panel by Panel, this week's NCTE Inbox has links to 3 articles about comics and literacy:
1."In the Fight for Better Literacy, Comic Books Are Teachers' Secret Weapon" from This Magazine
2."Wondering (Worrying?) about Graphic Novels" from the Tempered Radical blog which features a lot of unfounded idiocy from, where else, my home state of North Carolina? When it comes to North Carolina teachers, I just can't stand stupidity. Guess it comes from having worked in the North Carolina public schools for 3 years. Anyway, I gave a pretty fiery reply to this one....
3."The Literacy of Gaming: What Kids Learn from Playing" from PBS. The James Gee is quoted.
OK, the third is more about video games, but still.
OK, I'm gonna go fume about... wait, what is this?? Tempered Radical's Bill Ferriter has already updated and seems to backtrack a bit, acknowledging that he needs to do some research?? Maybe there is hope for teaching in the Old North State yet!
In the name of fairness, and since I blasted the guy without seeing the new post -- seriously, I actually told him to "read a f------g book!" -- I feel I must share the link to the"Lessons Learned" post about graphic novels as well.
Wow, that was about 10 minutes of roller coaster for yours truly. I started out excited but curious about NCTE's focus on comics, then furious at the second link they shared, then a little cooled upon noticing the update from the second source.
Anyway, if you want to subscribe to the NCTE Inbox weekly, free newsletter, click here. I guess I'm now living testimony that it will thrill, chill, elate, and anger you.
for more info on PNCA, click here.
Melissa Burke-Marquart, an 11th grade English teacher at St. Thomas More High School, a small Catholic high school in Champaign, Illinois, has been teaching graphic novels in the classroom on and off throughout her career. A lifelong comics fan and experienced educator, she says, "Years ago, I used superhero comics with my freshmen when I taught them the elements of fiction. I hear back from many of them—they're now grownups with families—that that was their all-time favorite lesson. We created a class superhero and then I grouped the students into creative teams; they wrote and created a comic and short story starring the class hero."
I could have used Melissa when I interviewed at a university in Normal, IL, a few years ago and a classroom teacher who was part of the hiring process told me that the curriculum was so full that at best, high school teachers could probably only use one graphic novel per year. The intimation was, of course, that my field of study was too limited to be of much use.
Live and let live, though, eh?
Monday, August 08, 2011
p.s. Brannon, if you're reading this, thanks for the shout-out! :)
Saturday, August 06, 2011
I was very happy to see Krazy Kat, Little Nemo in Slumberland, Maus, Watchmen, and Locas in the top ten.
But I'm happy to announce the company is literally adding a "class" component. My friend and colleague in comics-and-literacy, Chris Wilson, of the popular blog resource The Graphic Classroom, has signed on to produce lesson plans for the company's nonfiction titles. I think this is a very smart move for Blue Water.
Click the link emdedded in this post's title to learn more, and, if you're reading, congrats on the gig, Chris!
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Monday, August 01, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Don Quixote Part II,In Defense of the Realm, The Wright Brothers, The Good Neighbors: Book One,Stolen Hearts: The Love of Eros & Psyche, The Swiss Family Robinson, Call of the Wild, Amulet Books 1-3, and The Babysitters Club: Kristy's Great Idea.
Author: Miguel de Cervantes
Wordsmith: Lloyd S. Wagner
Illustrator: Vinod Kumar
Colorist: Vinod S. Pillai
Publisher: Kalyani Navyug Media Pvt. Ltd.
Publication Date: August 9, 2011
Don Quixote: Part II begins after Don Quixote has returned home from his many adventures. He spends his days in solitude and remembrance until he is convinced by his friend and squire, Sancho Panza, and the bachelor, Samson Carrasco, to embark on a new adventure. His journey with Sancho Panza begins in high spirits but is crushed when he finds his love, Lady Dulcinea, has been enchanted and turned into a peasant woman who no longer recognizes him.
The journey continues with many high points for the Don Quixote and his squire, most of which occur during a long stay with a duke and duchess. The Duke and Duchess create elaborate pranks for Don Quixote to work through, all without his knowledge. When Don Quixote and Sancho Panza continue on their adventures they are confronted by a knight who challenges Don Quixote by declaring his lady is more beautiful than Lady Dulcinea. Once Don Quixote loses the joust he returns home with instructions from the victor to stay there for a full year. However, after returning home Don Quixote becomes ill and passes away in his bed surrounded by his friends and caretakers.
The humor was entertaining, and the illustrations were captivating. Even if the reader has never heard of the classic novel written by Miguel de Cervantes, this graphic novel gives relevant information on the classic novel and is constructed artistically so as to potentially peek enough interest on the character of Don Quixote for readers to want to read the longer text. However, being that the protagonist is an older knight, and the journey seems to be doomed to fail from the start, young adults reading this text may have difficulty relating to Don Quixote and his mission.
There are a couple of the characteristics present in the best examples of young adult literature in Don Quixote: Part II. The reading of the graphic novel is fast paced. It quickly takes the reader on the journey alongside Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. The language is mostly simple but does include an occasional higher level word. For example, the word “vanquished” is used several times throughout the text, and the word “bravado” is used on page 28 to describe Don Quixote’s behavior with a lion he wishes to fight. The graphic novel is fast-paced in that it moves from action to action with little to no lull time between.
In addition to being fast-paced, Don Quixote: Part II‘s character, Don Quixote, is overly optimistic most of the time. There are very few instances where he is not optimistic. In the very beginning of the novel when he decides to leave for more adventures, he is not concerned about his age or about the rumors that he is mad. He says, “Within four days, my dear friend Sancho, we shall be on the road again, doing good and combating evil” (10). There are times when Sancho is not as optimistic as Don Quixote, and Don Quixote is quick to point out his friend’s fear. “It seems to me, Sancho, that you want to be perched on that tree to watch the bull fight without danger” (22).
Don Quixote: Part II is missing many of the characteristics that define the best young adult literature examples. The most obvious missing characteristic is that it is not written from the point of view of a young adult; furthermore, the protagonist is a much older, past-his-glory-days, mad knight, making it difficult for young adult readers to identify with him. While Don Quixote is quick to take credit for his perceived accomplishments, a characteristic of the best of best in young adult literature, his accomplishments are not really his. Every time he believes he has accomplished a grand victory or deed, it is actually out of folly or prank.
For instance, on page 62 Don Quixote believes that he has defeated Malambruno, thus removing the beards from the duennas when, in actuality it was a grand prank produced by the Duke and Duchess. The text does not have various genres and subjects. The text contains only a few basic ideas and they do not change during the course of reading. The graphic novel also fails to include a diversity of ethnicities and cultures in both text and illustrations. Another major missing characteristic is that it does not deal with emotions that are important to young people. There are many emotions included and experienced: Don Quixote’s desire to accomplish more great deeds, he becomes depressed when his “so-called” loved one does not recognize him, he is boastful when he believes he has been victorious, and remorseful when he is defeated.
Though Don Quixote moves through all these relatable emotions, it is all done so out of folly and humor, distancing the feeling of relation between the reader and the character. A reader may relate to the feeling of depression when rejected by a lover, but Don Quixote’s rejection was because the peasant was not his real lover. That mistake made by a mad man makes the feeling of depression no longer relatable.
I would recommend this book as an introductory text to the classic novel originally written in 1605 by Miguel de Cervantes. Though the character of Don Quixote is not relatable, he is entertaining and amusing. Being that the graphic novel adapted by Lloyd S. Wagner was also enjoyable and comical, it would be a great introduction to the waggish qualities of Don Quixote and humorous adventures that Don Quixote and Sancho Panza experience. For teachers this would be a recommendable addition to a classroom library for middle and high school aged readers in both English and History classrooms.
Author: Sanjay Deshpande
Artists: Lalit Kumar Sharma, Illustrator; Jagdish Kumar, Inker
Publisher: Kalyani Navyug Media Pvt. Ltd.
Publication Date: Copyright © 2011
The graphic novel In Defense of the Realm by Sanjay Deshpande is a cautionary tale of the dangers of waging war without the use of strategy. It demonstrates how a leader should exercise his or her power when making decisions that can either enhance his subjects’ lives or destroy their lives to the extreme outcome of death.
I found that the story centers around two main characters, Prince Meluha and Princess Kundalini. Both characters are on a journey from adolescence into adulthood. They are characterized as model teenagers (or the perception of what an adult would consider a model teenager). Struggling to cope with events that are happening around them, both characters are innocent, honest, naive, confused, and, above all, scared in the face of uncertain futures. They are on the verge of either ruling their perspective kingdoms or of utter failure. They seem to take very different journeys to their destinies.
In contrast, as far as meeting the best of the best criteria for graphic novels, it seems to fall short. I didn’t get the feeling that the story was written from the point of view of an adolescent. As I stated earlier, it was written from an adult perspective of how we think an adolescent should be, not actually how they are.
In conclusion, the narrator comes in from time to time, giving the reader historical facts about life in the Indus Civilization. This is an attempt to educate the reader, one of Deshpande’s main objects. However, I don’t think that it was consistent enough to be effective. I just didn’t get the feeling that the story was written from the point of view of an adolescent. With that said I would definitely recommend this to students interested in ancient civilization especially to those who are interested in India’s history.
Artist: Sankha Banerjee
Publisher: Campfire Graphic
Publication Date: June 28, 2011
From an early age, Orville and Wilbur Wright were encouraged by their parents to learn as much as possible in the classroom as well as to seek knowledge outside the classroom. Their father wanted them not to be content with just the knowledge from school; he figured there was a lot to be learned outside the classroom too. The boys got their mechanical interest from their mother who had made a few appliances that she used at home. The boys also inherited their curiosity from their father, who used to travel throughout the country and brought back gifts from far away places which, encouraged their adventurous spirit. Their father introduced them to a small printing press in which Orville took interest.
The story follows the two main characters of Orville and Wilbur Wright and shares what these two brothers were like growing up. The graphic novel covers the main points of their lives, allowing the reader to see that not everything was perfect; they had their struggles along the way but were able to succeed. They found obstacles and people that did not believe they could accomplish such a task as flying. The Wright Brothers graphic novel provide interesting facts and the graphics making it easy to follow. Young adults could follow along without any problem because the text is easy to read and the graphics help to follow along.
The Wright Brothers graphic novel covers most of the characteristics of a graphic novel. It might not be part of the “best of the best,” but it does have the elements of a good graphic novel. Most of the book is good, but the story of the Wright brothers in this book is more of a summary of the Wright brother’s lives. There is minimal dialog in the book. The author summarized the story in 68 pages. The Wright Brothers book is an interesting one, but the author could have made into one of the best of the best if he would have put more effort into it. Young adults are intrigued with real life stories of people succeeding. Unfortunately the author cuts the readers short.
After reading this graphic novel, there were a few things that I learned about the Wright brothers. The book does meet the criteria as young adult literature book. I felt this graphic novel kept my interest, and it would be a good book for young adults around the ages of 8-12 to read. Prior to reading this book the only thing I knew about the Wright brothers was that they had been the first ones to fly a plane, but there is more to it. What young adults can learn from this book goes beyond inventing a plane. What it teaches is what was mentioned on the first day of class: “A hard worker would outwork a smart person.” This is precisely what the Wright brothers were able to do while there were many distinguished scientist were trying to be the first ones to fly.
I would recommend this graphic novel to students from grades 4th through 8th. The Wright Brothers is a positive story. It is very encouraging for young adults who aspire to be successful. The Wright brothers might not have finished high school and might not have been the brightest students, but they had the desire, determination, and work ethic to make their goals come true. The road to success was not a smooth one; they encountered many difficulties on their way to accomplishing their goals. If students are able to grasp the concept of hard work than this book is a success.
The Graphic Novel The Good Neighbors Book One: Kin is an introduction to the story of Rue Silver, which brings two different realms together. The realm of faeries is starting to slowly take over the human realm and Rue Silver may be the only one who can stop it. Furthermore, Rue’s father is accused of murdering a college student named Sarasa Narayan.
This book is great for young adults that are interested in mysteries and fantasy. It would keep young adult entertained and wanting to finish the series to see what happens and how it will end for Rue.
Author: Ryan Foley
Artists: Sankha Banerjee, Prince Varghese
Publisher: Kalyani Navyug Media Pvt. Ltd.
Publication Date: 2010
This graphic novel depicts the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche as told to a young woman to teach her the lesson of how a conflict between a mother and daughter-in-law unfolds. The novel describes the clash between Eros’s mother and Psyche, which develops as a result of Aphrodite’s jealousy of Psyche’s beauty. Aphrodite sends Eros to set a trap for Psyche; however, love develops between the two. In response, Aphrodite condemns Psyche to forever be miserable, which in turn causes Eros to deprive the world of love. A compromise is made in which Psyche is isolated from the world in a castle, where a man visits her at night. Unknown to her, that man is Eros; however, she is not allowed to see his face as part of the compromise to avoid her knowing who he is.
Psyche is induced to break her promise by her sisters, who encourage her to see his face. As a result, Eros leaves her. Psyche begs for help from Aphrodite, who places four conditions on her assistance. Psyche manages to meet three of the conditions despite their apparent impossibility. She fails on the fourth condition, but Eros realizes her efforts, saves her, and asks the gods to immortalize her. His wish is granted and they are allowed to live happily ever after. Overall, the novel does a good job of introducing the storyline and setting up the reader for what follows, but fails in that a reader without prior knowledge of the Greek myth would have a hard time filling the gaps in the story.
This graphic novel posses various elements of young adult literature. Among the ones present are that the young person is free to take credit for her accomplishments. Psyche is responsible for resolving her mistakes and is given credit for doing so. The novel is also fast-paced. The novel is also basically optimistic in that Psyche learns and matures as the story progresses, and it has a happy result. The novel also deals with emotions that are important to young people such as love, learning from mistakes, and believing in yourself to succeed.
The graphic novel is missing several characteristics of young adult literature. The novel is narrated by an adult and therefore is not written from the point of view of a young adult. The novel does not include a variety of genres and subjects because it is constrained to Greek mythology. Also lacking is a diversity of ethnicities and cultures. Perhaps because of the timeframe of the original story, the story is removed from reality in that other cultures are not present in the story. Also, while it touches on emotions that might be of interest to young adults, it may be difficult for them to relate to gods and other unfamiliar situations.
I believe the text could be of interest to young adults, especially those with an interest in Greek mythology. The colored dialogue boxes are very useful in helping the reader follow the story and identify who is speaking. The novel also gives a face to the characters of Greek mythology, which are normally described in text only. While it does not fit perfectly into the definition of a young adult piece, it has enough of its elements to qualify as one. For those that are not familiar with the original Greek story, it may be a way to introduce them to a new medium. However, for those that dislike Greek mythology, this may not be a book of interest to them.
I would recommend this book to young adults for the reasons mentioned above. The novel has enough of the elements for a good young adult piece to draw their interest and provide for a good read. For those already very familiar with the original Greek story, I would caution them to remember that it is a slightly different version that does not remain completely true to the original. I would recommend it to young adults especially for its lessons of love and of determination.
traveling on a ship from England to Port Jackson, located in New South Wales. Their journey
on the ship becomes disastrous when they encounter a catastrophic storm.
I thought this graphic novel was great and effective for several reasons, including:
the easy flow of the dialogue, the sequence of events was timely, and the illustrations
were very effective. These were demonstrated on (pgs.44, 73).
In the graphic novel the character Fritz is the oldest of four sons, and appears to be a young man of sixteen. Fritz is able to take credit for his accomplishments on
several occasions. Most notable was when he felt his fate lay in the mouth of a shark. Young
Fritz had only been on the island for one day, and unaccustomed to shark attacks. The shark wasswimming towards Fritz when he was transporting the animals from the ship. As terrified as
Fritz was, he was able to shoot and wound the shark on his father’s command (p.29). Another
accomplishment was when Fritz captured and tamed an wild eagle (p.45).
The Swiss Family Robinson graphic novel is fast-paced because the events happen
quickly. In the beginning of the story, the family is on a ship. By the middle of the
story the family is on a deserted island, and at the end of the story, the family has
survived all their trials and tribulations. The fast pace of a graphic novel is important
because it keeps the readers attention. It also keeps the reader wondering and guessing
what will happen next.
The story is optimistic, because through it all, the family survives. They
overcame a lot of obstacles when the ship was caught in the storm by remaining calm and
patient. Their demonstration of optimism came through when the family prayed, “ Our heads
were soothed by the comfort of childlike prayer, and the horrors of our situation seemed less
terrible.” Their faith and family unity helped strengthen their ability to remain optimistic.
Time and change were demonstrated when the boys first arrived at the island:
They were young boys, and vulnerable to their surroundings. They then changed into
men after being on the island for ten years (p.53). They spoke with optimism just after
their father had completed making each of them a pair of boots (p.41). “ Yes, we’ve had a
pretty eventful time since we landed here all those months ago” (p.42).
The family’s fate of leaving the island once seemed hopeless. But now the family
has a choice to leave or remain on the island. Each person chooses to seek their own
happiness and fulfillment. This is witnessed at the end of the graphic novel,
when the boys are deciding what the future holds for them. Fritz, now a man of twenty-six,
has decided to marry Montrose and move to England. Ernest the second oldest, who appeared
to be thirteen in the first part of the story, now probably a young man of twenty-three,
has chosen to remain with his parents on the island, and continue to study science. Jack the
third oldest son, who appeared to be ten in the beginning of the story, also chooses to remain on
the island as a rider, and shooter.
The Swiss Family Robinson graphic novel deals with the emotions that are important to
young people. The novel demonstrates fearful situations and being able to overcome them. Most young adults at some point in their lives experience fear. In the novel there were incidents of the boys experiencing fear on the ship when the storm first came (p.5). They overcame their fear by going to the lower level of the ship where it was quiet, warm, and dry. Jack experienced fear
when he opened the closed captain’s door on the ship, and the attack dogs rushed towards him
and knocked him to the floor. Jack’s response was to hide his fear and remain calm and
everything worked out fine (p.10). Another important feeling young adults experience is
older brother Fritz. Ernest wanted to go hunting with them, but was not allowed because they felt he was too young. So one day they allowed Ernest to go hunting with them. Although the hunt was unsuccessful in capturing an animal, Ernest could not have been happier. He proved he was quite the hunter with his sharp instincts, and keen eye for spotting the wild animals. From then on Ernest, was always included in the hunt for wild animals. Young adults need to be able to read a graphic novel that deals with similar emotions they can identify with to maintain their interest and to be used as a teaching lesson.
The element missing of the young adult literature is the point of view of the of the young adults for the writing because the graphic novel was written from the point of view of the father. Another element missing is the absence of diversity of ethnicities and cultures because the family lived alone on the island for ten years. This graphic novel does meet the criteria for being considered young adult literature because it offers simplified words throughout the story. The quality of characters and setting are realistic and it reflects on the age of innocence embarking on a unfamiliar journey. The illustrations command your attention as does the story itself.
family unity and a coming of age story. The novel makes good use of dialogue. The
sequence of events follows suit. The illustrations are very graphic and detail oriented.
This would be a great book for children ages eight through fourteen.