Friday, October 31, 2008
Go Kill Some Aztecs, Why Don'tchya?
Just ask Hernan Cortes, who, according to the graphic novel Hernan Cortes and the Fall of the Aztec Empire, used Montezuma like a stooge and then cleaned up the mess his Number 2, Pedro De Alvarado, made when Alvarado staged an attack on the Aztecs that really just sort of pissed them off. How'd he clean house? By taking his armored men with their guns and swords and essentially killing off an entire city and culture. Tenochtitlan fell, but Cortes built Mexico City on the site. Politics, money, land -- that's frightening stuff.
Yeah, it's simplistic, but this is a graphic novel for younger readers. It's a good supplement to a traditional text book, but oh does it does need supplementing. Did Cortes call the city Mexico City? Why, if the land was considered New Spain? A glossary of terms and a timeline are in this text and help younger readers, but this graphic novel isn't one of those sources that can stand on its own. Sometimes things are simplified to the point of raising more questions than they resolve.
But, hey, if you're still looking for a scary Halloween costume and want to be original, try going out as a conquistador. Having just read this tiny graphic novel on Halloween, I think Cortes would make a fine addition to your trick or treat parade.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
New Conference on "Graphica" in the Classroom
Lincoln Center Campus: New York, NY
The inaugural Graphica in Education conference is designed to open a discussion among educators about the place of graphica in the field of education. It will serve teachers, instructional designers, administrators, librarians, and other interested individuals who would like to explore the use of graphic novels and other graphica in the classroom. Participants in the conference will have the opportunity to hear from authors, teachers, and researchers about the nature of writing, reading, and teaching graphic novels. The conference will offer a full day of workshops to complement a keynote address and panel discussion. The conference will also include sponsor presentations and exhibits. Lunch will be included with conference registration.
Invitation to Respond to the Call for Proposals
Proposals should include:
* The type of presentation (e.g., paper presentation, teaching demonstration, panel discussion)
* A brief description (50 words or less) of the presentation or workshop
* A summary (500 words or less) of the workshop, including rationale/theoretical grounding, practical application, and participant involvement (the benefit to participants)
* The name(s), contact information, and affiliation of presenter(s)
Proposal submission deadline: December 1, 2008
Proposals should be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conference Registration Presenters for accepted proposals will receive free registration to the conference.
For More Information For more information on the proposal submission process or the conference in general contact Kristen Turner at email@example.com.
Nate Fisher Back To Work Teaching Kids
PAPERCUTZ Brings Back Classics Illustrated
In January, kids will reluctantly return to school. Luckily, Classics Illustrated will join them. Generations of students have been introduced to the great classics by this legendary series of comics, their appetites whetted for the real thing.
CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED PRESENTS: The Invisible Man
Taken from the vaults of the great quality line of short adaptations tried by First Comics in conjunction with Berkley back in the eighties, this adaptation has not seen the light in quite a few years.
And since then, Rick Geary has slowly but surely made quite a name for himself. Winner in 2007 of an Eisner Award (the comics’ industry’s Oscars) for his revival of Gumby comics with Bob (“Flaming Carrot”) Burden, he has also been recently published by Hill & Wang, with a biography of J. Edgar Hoover.
The main series Geary has become increasingly recognized for is the Treasury of Victorian Murder (NBM Publishing). Meticulously researched and comprising 9 volumes, it has presented that era’s most famous murders, from the Lizzie Borden double axe murder to the one of Abraham Lincoln, not to miss Jack the Ripper. All with tongue firmly in cheek.
And this adaptation injects a good deal of whimsy as well into the horror classic by the great Wells. The story is of a scientist who discovers the secret to making things invisible. There’s only one problem: he cannot undo it! As a result, he becomes stark raving mad and seriously dangerous.
Papercutz’ new line is actually two: one regular collection of which this is the second volume, the first one being Geary’s Great Expectations, and a Deluxe collection which presents much lengthier adaptations such as the first volume which had Plessix’ The Wind in the Willows. Saying “The Wind in the Willows has met its Michelangelo,” Newsweek went on to set the challenge: "Papercutz has set very high standards for its new series." The Deluxe series also has recently brought out a collection of Grimm Tales.
6 ½ x 9”, 56pp. full color hardcover, $9.95, ISBN 978-1-59707-106-2, publication date: August. Distributed by Macmillan.
Classics Illustrated’s Grimm Fairy Tales: Papercutz offers all-new comics adaptation
"If the first two, “Great Expectations” and “Wind in the Willows,” are any indication, Papercutz has set very high standards for its new series.” -- Malcolm Jones, NEWSWEEK
Classics Illustrated has introduced generations of students to great literature. These comic-book editions of novels, plays, and poems sold about 200 million copies from 1941 through 1998. Tales of the Brothers Grimm is the third volume in Papercutz’s revival of the line.
I got some PAPERCUTZ: Great Expectations in the GN Form
Geary has won the 2007 “Best Title for a Younger Audience” Eisner award (the comic-book Oscar) and the National Cartoonists Society’s Book and Magazine Illustration Award. His Treasury of Victorian Murder graphic novels have inspired praise such as:
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Now to get ready for my presentations on graphic novels at the national NCTE conference in San Antonio! :)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I JUST VOTED DURING TEXAS' EARLY VOTING PERIOD
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Review of Pitch Black
Check out The ALAN Review 36.1 (Fall 08)
The Education of Hopey Glass
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Students from SVA Comic Book Storytelling Workshop have compiled a graphic anthology of his works, including stories like "The Green Door" and "The Whirligig of Life."
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
"Looks Good To Me:" I Live Here
Visit the official site
Join the cause on Facebook
Order your copy here Happy Reading!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Powell's City of Books (Portland, Oregon)
Imagine being a bookstore that encompasses and entire block, one with graphic novels on shelf after shelf, from the floor to twenty feet above your head -- and that was just *one* section of GN's. Powell's had several sections -a couple of Manga sections (one for general Manga, another for adolescents favorites), an adult graphic novels section (not what you think, but they probably had a section of those too somewhere), and a kids graphic novel section.
Twas bliss. Never have I been in a bookstore so big, they give you a map of the place when you walk in the door. And despite the inexplicable absence of copies of Maus I (II was in abundance), the graphic novel section was impressive. If only I could visit Powell's again as easily as I do that bookstore in my dreams...
Sunday, October 12, 2008
One more keynote to go (North Carolina) before my appearances at the national NCTE conference in San Antonio!
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Political Fun w/ Microsoft Publisher
(Surely I'm not the only classic car buff to have noticed the muscle car undertones of the recent political campaigns. My thoughts? As the cartoon clearly implies, "Nobody ever bought a Maverick if they could afford a Mustang!")
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
I Found This Stimulating (Intelectually): Portillo's Gabriel
That’s not fiction. It is interesting to me as I learn more about El Paso and the comics scene here to note that there are comic creators in the region who are actually exploring this reality in their work. Take, for instance, Jaime “Jimmy” Portillo’s recent graphic novel Gabriel. A mature title that won a Xeric Foundation grant, Gabriel suggests that the motive behind many of the killings may not be greed or drugs as the news media is reporting, but hunger.
Portillo’s eponymous character is introduced to readers as a decent enough fellow who has a penchant for hanging out at goth bars and taking in the scenery, which is often exotic, dark, and beautiful. But he doesn’t appear to be the go-getter type. He comes off as a “safe” fellow, the eternal friend, until he hooks up with a very attractive young woman who turns out to be a vampire. As they copulate in her car, she turns him and informs him of his new powers, weaknesses, and desires. It takes little time for him to accept his new situation.
Indeed, along with an excessive wordiness that often manifests in the form of repetitive phrases, Gabriel’s quick transition from “anyman” to mass murderer feels like a weakness of the text. Perhaps this is a sign of a young author, or perhaps Portillo is making a statement that given the proper positioning and power, mankind is not a particularly benevolent species. Even as he meets his end, Gabriel has no regrets for killing, maiming, and raping scores of young women. “Of course not, I’m a fucking vampire,” he states several times. It’s as if being a vampire is what we all really aspire to, deep down.
No, this Gabriel is not an angelic messenger from God. Or, if he is, the message is not a pleasant one. Indeed, even though the power-lusting blood sucker dies, the spirit he seems to have imparted over the region lives on as corrupt officials, thugs, and police officers copycat his tendencies and further cement a murderous legacy that is revealed to have super-natural roots from the beginnings of the region’s reputation as a lawless Western oasis for outlaws and renegades.
Crafted using Ka-Blam’s print-on-demand digital services and utilizing heavy photo-manipulation, the visual tone, layout, and feel of the graphic novel is impressive. The saturated and inky feel of the photos translates well into black-and-white and help to make Gabriel seem familiar yet distanced from his readers. At any moment we feel we are a part of his excitement, the thrill and eroticism of his hunt and kills but are just as likely to be his next victim.
And Portillo does do the vampire sub-genre justice. As noted, the sexual element associated with vampires since Stoker and before is very apparent, especially in a scene in which Gabriel meshes cunnilingus schemata with the vagina dentata mythos. Gabriel has the typical vampire strengths of flight, even teleportation, and the standard aversion to sunlight and heart-piercing stakes.
"Stop Staring at Me, Swann!"
Contact Martha Kennedy with questions at 202/707-9115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Maus by Art Spiegelman
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Bone by Jeff Smith
The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot
Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 1 by Marvel
American Born Chinese by Gene Yang
Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda by J.P. Stassen
Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan and Marvel
Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan
Pedro and Me by Judd Winick
Now, I often rotate titles in and out of my ten favorites, and these represent middle-and high school-friendly titles. If you want more titles and more mature titles, just ask.