Monday, November 30, 2009
Labels: 24 hour comic book day
Saturday, November 28, 2009
"Good Neighbor" Graphic Novel Idea
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
My NCTE Session Went Well
I look forward to our future conversations. Now, some down time to try to let my sinuses drain before a busy evening of comics-related presentation watching, publication talking, and general hobnobbing.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
It's Blue Grass, Dumb Ass, and a Text that's Crass (depending on your p.o.v.)! Grab your peanuts (no, I said "peanuts," gutter-head!) and enjoy!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Get Your "Philly" of Graphic Novels at NCTE 2009!
We'll be discussing "comics in the contact zone," which relates to Mary Louise Pratt's ideas on teaching and more generally refers to talk about how comics and conflict go hand-in-hand -- and how that isn't a bad thing!
Search NCTE's online program with key word "Graphic Novel" to see the rest of the exciting GN-centric sessions!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Bridging Ideas using Big Fat Little Lit, Best American Comics, Smithsonian Collection
Sunday, November 15, 2009
A quote from the report that is making the rounds: "...about 70% of adults who have read comics in the previous 12 months also bought at least one book. This is quite notable, given that only about 56% of the entire U.S. adult population buys books....."
Friday, November 13, 2009
"The school district averages about one complaint per year concerning library material, but this is the first time since at least 2001 that a book has been made unavailable to students.
A committee that reviewed the graphic novel said unanimously that it's inappropriate for middle school students. The book's editor says the cartoons are true to life and could help struggling teens and pre-teens understand that they're not alone," states an article on the event from ArgusLeader.com (see link above). Also, Ariel Schrag, who wrote the book centering on teen angst and issues of sexuality that young teens often confront, has defended the book while respecting the thoughts of parent Shelly Miller, who complained and drew attention to the text, apparently in relation to her sixth-grader's response to it.
A Scene from Persepolis/ AKA My Students are Cool
Here is a draft version of a "reader's theatre" based on one page of Marjane Satrapi's excellent graphic novel, Persepolis. The students even provide you with post-viewing discussion questions. They need to edit the text a little bit, but this still struck me as an intriguing clip that shows how knowing one form can help readers produce another. Enjoy!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I know I can't wait to read it. Click this post's title to learn more about the book, and be impressed by the multimodal efforts to draw attention to what is surely going to be an excellent addition to the growing body of work on teaching comics in the secondary classroom.
The ALAN Review Fall 09 Has 2 Articles on Comics
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This Week's NCTE Inbox Mentions Article on Manga Quoting Peter Gutierrez
Little Women, Other Alcott Stories Comprise Latest Graphic Classics Volume
I love the text because I see it as offering evidence that Mark S. Bernard and I were correct in our analysis of Moore's use of space-time relationships and 4th wall dynamics. But, I can see where someone not familiar with Moore's themes might see it as salacious. Not that I think that would merit someone embargoing the book so others couldn't see the images, nor that I think that I would ask people to pray for me just so the images wouldn't get stuck in my head. (There are so many other terrible things one can see that I'd rather not think about. That truck with the pictures of aborted babies I saw on campus at UVA one semester comes to mind).
I find it interesting that the whole "I was trying to save it from the eyes of a child" angle has given way to a sort of "I was trying to protect anyone from seeing these terrible images" slant from the librarian. Where will this story go next? Will basketball season be enough to pull Blue Grassers away from this enthralling story about the blue-haired moral crusader?
Monday, November 09, 2009
Texts I've Read Recently: Quick Reviews for What They're Worth
Ball Peen Hammer: Adam Rapp and George O'Connor's tale of an disease-ridden apocalyptica where people earn sway with power figures by killing live or bagging already-dead children is a swing and a miss for me, but unfortunately not for anyone under 15 who appears in this book. The text seems too condensed, too rushed, like there are scenes missing that really ought to be in there. Rarely do I say that a comics story might have been best represented via traditional print text ( I sort of see it as blasphemy, frankly), but I get the feeling this would work better as a YA novel or film script than it does as a graphic novel.
The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb: I'm only..... Well, shit, the book doesn't have page numbers, but I'm less than halfway through and am enjoying it thoroughly so far.
"And if you really consider how the pictures and words work together to tell a story, you can make the case that comics are just as complex as any other kind of literature," says University of Illinois researcher Carol Tilley.
Why The Beat suggests people will listen to her over the scores of previous and current other researchers, I don't know. I wouldn't be opposed to it happening, though! :)
Click this post's title for more of Dr. Tilley's findings.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Fightin' Fallacies Again: Mythbusting with Bucky
1. Talk about how graphic novels match up with local/national standards is moot because of the new CORE standards being developed by the National Governors Association and the CCSSO.
I have seen much hubbub about how the CORE standards being developed under the Obama administration are going to obliterate any and all other lists of standards available nationwide, and while the CORE documents will certainly influence state and organizational standards, I think it might be a bit of hyperbole (at least I hope it is) to suggest that states will drop years of work on crafting standards to adopt the CORE standards. Rather, what I think we'll see is that the CORE standards will be suggested as THE BARE MINIMUM, and states will be encouraged to adapt -- not adopt -- them to the standards documents they've already crafted.
As for standards like those for the English Language Arts that have been published by NCTE/IRA, I have it on good authority from a representative at NCTE that these standards are not being updated in response to the CORE standards, not yet anyway.
Several recent and upcoming publications deal with how comics and graphic novels can be used to meet state and national (NCTE/IRA) standards. Brian Kelley recently published a document relating to New Jersey's ELA standards. Michael Bitz's recent book and his upcoming book, as well as a couple of his articles, reveal how using comics as composition meet many of New York's state ELA standards. Katie Monnin will soon publish a book that deals explicitly with NCTE/IRA's standards for ELA. All of these are and will be valuable to teachers and will help make the case for comics' worth in America's school rooms.
I've also heard folks try to make a distinction between having standards and the phenomenon of standardization. The problem is in interpretation. Too often, once standards are set, they become the rationale for standardization of curriculum. This leads to stolid curricula that focus more on the standards than on best practices, and after time, this also forms a sort of indoctrination that state education leaders accept and then feed their teachers. The "cure" for this, of course, is trusting teachers to be intelligent enough to see any set of standards as a bare minimum rather than the "gold standard" and having leadership that finds ways to assist teachers in being critical thinkers and experts in their fields.
2. Graphic novel proponents seek to supplant traditional print-based literature with graphic novels.
I think I can speak for most of my colleagues who advocate for using graphic novels and comics in the classroom when I say we probably all support a supplemental or complimentary approach, one where graphic novels are integrated into the ELA classroom along with traditional-based print texts.
I get it from both ends, it seems. I've read criticism of my edited collection Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels that suggested I and my contributors wanted to replace canonical texts with graphic novels. This isn't the case -- not in every possibly exigency, anyway. On the other hand, folks wonder if I and my co-writers aren't suggesting that comics and graphic novels aren't good enough, strong enough, to stand alone and be taught on their own. I think folks need to give comics-in-literacy scholars and teachers the benefit of the doubt (and read their texts more deeply).
I think most of us seek a balanced approach, where comics are used in pre-existing curricula where they fit best and with students who they can best engage (read "all students" on one level or the other) and only replace a text when a teacher was already looking to do so before considering a sequential art narrative as the replacement.
I think most of us do feel that certain graphic novels are good enough to be taught in their own right. I just think most of us are knowledgeable enough as pedagogues to know that teaching any text in isolation is not the most effective means of teaching.
3. The argument has been won. There is no need to continue work that falls under the rubric of "graphic novel advocacy."
There are so many of us using comics in the classroom now, so many blogs, so many books coming out, so much attention from MLA and YALSA and the ALA and NCTE, etc., and so many articles on sequential art in the classroom that it may seem that everyone has gotten the message. Especially for those of us who live and work in progressive environments where all or most of the people we see everyday are the kinds who readily accept comics' place in the classroom, this is dangerous thinking. Your world may not be my world may not be the world of a teacher in rural Wyoming or even in Washington, D.C.
As someone who lives in Texas, as someone who has, since 2000, taught in the states of Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi, Virginia, and Texas, and as someone who travels the country talking with teachers about comics' use in secondary education, I can tell you that it is a Manhattan-sized assumption to think that everyone everywhere -- whether "everywhere" pertains to state, k-12 school, college of education or university English department -- is on the same page or at the same level of their development when it comes to graphica. Austin is not El Paso is not Houston is not San Diego or New York.
While I get as frustrated as anyone when newbies try to reinvent the wheel regarding comics terminology, use, and advocacy in the classroom, especially when they do this in print (and especially when that print doesn't cite previous writing that has established a groundwork), I accept that, nationally, we see a range of acceptance of the form, ranging from elective courses on GN's at the high school level and courses focusing on them at colleges like Stanford, MIT, and Yale, to fogies still afraid to accept the form as viable for their sixth graders and considering it a threat to literacy, intelligence, and quality living.
The battles are still being fought in k-12 and university departments near you, whether it seems that way or not. So, there's plenty of room for more advocacy work regarding the sequential art narrative, and any work that deals with it in a positive light, even if it is crafted by those who believe the good fight has been won, might be said to be advocacy literature anyway.
(*draft. I may revisit this for edits later)
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Wolvie Knows the Tropes
Peter Coogan knows what I'm talkin' 'bout. Les Daniels does. Bradford Wright too. Yeah they do.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Labels: R. Crumb