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(r)Evolutionary (e)Comics Midwest Popular Culture Association October 14, 2005 Dedicated to the memory of Byron Preiss 1953 - 2005 William Harroff McKendree College Lebanon, Illinois Charlotte Johnson Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Illinois Learning Outcomes

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R evolutionary e comics l.jpg

(r)Evolutionary (e)Comics

Midwest Popular Culture Association October 14, 2005Dedicated to the memory of Byron Preiss 1953 - 2005

William Harroff

McKendree College Lebanon, Illinois

Charlotte Johnson

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Illinois

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Learning Outcomes

  • Recognize eComics as the latest evolutionary stage in the extraordinary history of the (comic) book

  • Expand your definition of electronic comics beyond the narrow one accepted and propagated by most commercial publishers and the media

  • Understand the advantages, disadvantages and future impact of new formats

  • Review critically acclaimed digital publications

  • Consider significant issues such as the redefinition of the reading, writing and creative processes and the future of information delivery

  • Imagine the importance of the comic book to learning

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  • The Evidence for a Growing Crisis: Aliteracy

  • The Evolutionary History of the eComic

  • The Context Affecting Attitudes & Behaviors

  • The Revolution in Content, Authoring & Reading

  • Solutions: eLiteracy / Multiliteracies

  • Our Top 10 List

  • What’s New

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The End of Reading: Readers at RiskNEA

  • Fewer than half of Americans over 18 now read novels, short stories, plays or poetry

  • Just 56.6% read a book of any kind in the previous year, down from 60% a decade earlier

  • 37.6% of men were doing less literary reading than women (55.1%); Hispanics (26.5%) were doing less than African-Americans (37.1%) and whites (51.4%); but that all categories were declining

  • In 1982, 59.8% of 18-to-24-year-olds read literature; by 2002 that figure had dropped to 42.8%

  • In the 25-to-34 age group, the percentage of literary readers dropped to 47.7% from 62.1%

  • Of literary readers, 43% perform charity work; only 17% of nonreaders do

17,135 people surveyed - data was compared with similar studies from 1982 & 1992

The Survey of Public Participation in the ArtsCensus Bureau 2002

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Scribner’s 189419th Century eBooks

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Revolution in Reading

  • Evolution of Reading

  • New active readership

  • The “C” Revolutions

    • Computerization

    • Convenience

    • Customization

“an attempt to battle against the missionary position of reading”Donna Leishman,redridinghood

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Revolution in Content: eComics Rule!

How many comics can sing to you?… or…

Place the user in control of the content?

Allow content to be emptied & refilled?

Include metadata?

Tell you their own stories?

Demonstrate techniques?

Picture in unmatched color?

Link out to other resources?

Be distributed at the speed of light?

Sound out or spell each word or phrase?

Be made accessible to suit everyone’s needs?

Contain 1000s of additional works in the same space?

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The Context Affecting Attitudes and Behaviors: Rising Expectations

American children receive electronic books before they are able to walk, much less read. Stores are filled with publications for toddlers masquerading as toys before the traditional fragile media of paper is introduced to them. Even when print books are purchased, they often include embedded electronic chips, audio-cassettes, video games and related CD-ROMs.

With this type of introduction to reading, it is unrealistic to believe that more sophisticated digital publications will not be demanded by today's children, young adults and adults.

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Bembo’s Zoo Roberto deVicq de Cumptich


ISBN 080506382X

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Some Context Affecting Reading: Rising Expectations

  • Electronic book “toys”

  • Print books with electronic chips, audio-cassettes, and CDs

  • iPOD / MP3 music and audio devices

  • Game and media players

  • PDAs (personal digital assistants)

  • Laptops and tablet PCs

  • Smartphones (Cameras, Web browsers)

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Affordable PCs

Usable software

Faster operating systems

Portable media




Compact discs


Portable devices


Dedicated readers

Audio players Cassette, CD, MP3, MP4

DVD players



Smart phones

Multipurpose devices

The Solutions: The Revolution of the New

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The Solutions:Revolution in LiteraciesArt Spiegelman


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Comic Art Software plasq


The Solutions:Revolution in Authoring

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