Comics: The Next Generation

I'm trying something new with my juniors this spring: having each one read a different graphic novel (or two collections of longer series) and do a PowerPoint presentation on an aspect or aspects of it.

Whether this will work I don't know yet, but I tried to get our library to set out a reserve shelf of the most interesting comics in our collection.  While some gems were left on the shelf (Gene Yang's American Born Chinese, Howard Cruse's Stuck Rubber Baby, Kyle Baker's Why I Hate Saturn, etc.) and at least one (Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell's From Hell) never even got picked up (due to its immense size, I suspect), the guys ended up selecting what I think will be a good set of books to discuss next week:

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Death: The Time of Your Life by Neil Gaiman & Chris Bachalo and At Death's Door by Jill Thompson
Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman & Andy Kubert
Sandman (Books 1 & 2) by Neil Gaiman et al.
Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer & Rags Morales
Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller & David Mazzuchelli
The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill
Swamp Thing (Books 1 & 2) by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette & John Totleben
V for Vendetta by Moore & David Lloyd
Watchmen by Moore & Dave Gibbons
Bone (Books 1 & 2) by Jeff Smith
Fables (Books 1 & 2) by Bill Willingham et al.

I'm not surprised that the books chosen tended to be from the super-hero, science fiction, or fantasy genres, or that those featuring characters or stories that have been made into movies were generally favored (with the notable exceptions of From Hell and Persepolis).  Still, I have to feel happy that so many kids were interested in exploring the work of Alan Moore & Neil Gaiman, I'm pleased someone went for Bone, and I'm thrilled to death that a junior at an all-boys school thought Fun Home would be his best option.

I've spent a lot of time this year helping our new librarian find good graphic novels for our collection; I think all of the above were purchased on my recommendation, though in the case of Watchmen the recommendation came several years ago.  I'm sort of viewing this unit as a chance to see how the boys respond to all our hard work, as well as to expose some of them to the opportunities provided by the medium of comics.  (I've had to explain to several of them how to read a comics page, which I was prepared for, but still find a bit astonishing.)

After I get a look at their presentations next week, I'll let you know just how they responded and whether they're likely to take advantage of their opportunities.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on May 13, 2009 8:00 AM.

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