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  1. A Super-Villain Ate My Homework Using COMICS IN THE CLASSROOM

  2. Nick KremerColumbia Public SchoolsUniversity of Missouri nkremer@columbia.k12.mo.us

  3. Comics - Overview

  4. THE LINGO: • Sequential Art Narrative: a series of pictures (with or w/o text) that tell a cohesive story • Comic Strip: ~6 or less frames, on-going series • Comic Book: ~24 pages, on-going series • Graphic Novel: Full stand-alone book/album

  5. THE PEOPLE: • Writer – writes the script (story + dialogue) • Artist – draws/lays out the script • Letterer – adds text to the drawings • Inker – darkens the pencil drawings • Colorist – adds color to the drawings • Editor – the proofreader and business manager

  6. THE HISTORY: • History: Cave Painting, Heiroglyphics, Stain-Glass Windows, Wood Carvings, Illustrations, Political Cartoons, etc. • 1896: Richard Outcalt: Voice Bubbles + the Funny Pages (The Yellow Kid, Krazy Kat, Pop-Eye) • 1929: Picture Adventures (Dick Tracy, Tarzan) • 1932-45: Golden Age of Superheroes (Superman, Batman, Shazam, Wonder Woman, Captain America) • 1945: Rise of the Rest: Horror, Romance, Western, Crime, “Adult Themes” • 1950s: Seduction of the Innocent + Comics Code • 1956-69: Silver Age of Superheroes (DC Revivals: Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Marvel Origins: Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Hulk, Spider-Man, X-Men, Daredevil) • 1970s: Underground Comics + Weakening of the Code, Civil Rights • 1980s: The Graphic Novel (A Contract with God, Maus, Watchmen) • 1990s: The Gimmick Age, Image Comics (Spawn), Vertigo (Sandman) • 21st Century: Corporatization and the Comic Book Renaissance

  7. Comics: Troubleshooting

  8. Comics aren't intellectual!!

  9. BUT REMEMBER… • Stereotypical comic books are only one genre within the large medium of Sequential Art Narratives • Texts rich in popular culture and varying formalist choices are misleadingly complex

  10. Looking at Comics isn’t reading!!

  11. BUT REMEMBER… • Images have to be “read” using critical literacy skills in the same manner that words do • Research shows that comics can help improve literacy with struggling readers

  12. Comics are misogynistic!!

  13. BUT REMEMBER… • Comics are products of their culture and reflect the social values found therein • While some comics misrepresent various demographics, others empower them

  14. Comics are too expensive!!

  15. BUT REMEMBER… • Class sets, grant money, “sampling,” and scanning are cheap solutions • Comics can also be studied in single images or excerpts

  16. Comics Don’t Fit into My CURRICULUM!!

  17. BUT REMEMBER… • Contemporary curricula stress skills, not specific texts, in an era of abundant global multimedia • Comics are rich sources for literary and writing lessons

  18. Comics: Literature Lessons

  19. #1) Literary Elements • Comics offer short, accessible stories with lots of concrete examples of abstract literary concepts [Ex: Symbols, Point of View, Character Types, Plot Structure,…]

  20. #2) Denotation vs. Connotation • Use comic images to practice visual literacy skills: what literally do you see, what does the image suggest, how/why does it make you feel?

  21. #3) Deconstruction • Comics provide a visual context for discussion on how artists elicit intentional responses from readers using conventions

  22. #4) American Mythology • American comic books reflect our own cultural values + hero myths and should be studied alongside ancient mythology

  23. #5) Dystopian Literature • Graphic Novels are a popular medium for contemporary dystopian literature.

  24. #6) Classic Adaptations • Comics provide visual references for classic texts (Ex: Shakespeare), aiding in student comprehension and engagement

  25. Comics: Writing Lessons

  26. #1) Descriptive Writing • Students can practice attempting to capture all the details of a picture in words, or having pictures drawn from their writing

  27. #2) Storyboarding a Paper • Students can create storyboards to help organize their writing and visually chart the flow of their papers

  28. #3) Dialogue • Students can use comic scripting as practice for incorporating dialogue into their prose writing.

  29. #4) Hero Narratives • Comic Books provide models for students to design their own hero myths: origins, powers, battles, personal lives, etc.

  30. #5) Sequential Art Narratives • Incorporate interdisciplinary learning into your Language Arts classroom by having students create their own comics or adapt existing literature.

  31. Comics: Resources

  32. Instructional Texts • Understanding Comics – Scott McCloud • Comics and Sequential Art – Will Eisner • Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know – Paul Gravett • Drawing Words and Writing Pictures – Jessica Abel/Matt Madden • The Comic Book in America: An Illustrated History – Mike Benton • Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels – Dr. James “Bucky” Carter

  33. The Comic Book Project <www.comicbookproject.org>

  34. The Graphic Classroom <http://graphicclassroom.blogspot.com >

  35. National Association for Comic Book Educators <http://www.teachingcomics.org>

  36. EN/SANE World <http://ensaneworld.blogspot.com>

  37. Comics: Reading Lists


  39. Maus Art Spiegelman

  40. PersepolisMarjane Satrapi

  41. Safe Area GoraždeJoe Sacco

  42. The 9/11 ReportSid Jacobson


  44. WatchmenAlan Moore

  45. SandmanNeil Gaiman