Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Damm Förlag! (Babymouse in Swedish)

No, that's not an expletive. Babymouse: Queen of the World and Babymouse: Our Hero have been translated into Swedish by publisher Damm Förlag.

Aww... isn't that cute? "Lillmus!"

Still waiting to see copies, but the logotype is heartening.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Stumptown Comics Fest ... missed it again!

Once again, I missed the Stumptown Comics Fest. I am just so not plugged into any community—comics, literature, kidlit, Web design... I never even knew that Brian Michael Bendis is a Portlander!

Whatcha gonna do. Try again next year.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Using Graphic Novels in the Younger Grades: Matthew Holm's TLA 2008 Companion

If you attended my program, "Using Graphic Novels in the Younger Grades," at the 2008 Texas Library Association Conference on Wed., April 16, 2008 (or even if you didn't, but just want to prove to your administrators that you didn't goof off the whole time you were in Dallas), here are some links from my talk:

"Graphic Novels 101: FAQ" By Robin Brenner (From the March/April 2006 issue of The Horn Book Magazine) This lays out the basics of some terminology, as well as some myths about graphic novels/comics.

"Graphic Novels 101: Reading Lessons (PDF)" By Hollis Margaret Rudiger (From the March/April 2006 issue of The Horn Book Magazine) This PDF walks you through several nearly wordless comic-book pages to describe some aspects of the visual language (pacing, camera angles, which panel to read in which order, etc.) of comics.

Toon Books Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly's (Maus and Little Lit) new kids' graphic novel imprint

Maryland Comic Book Initiative: Background

Maryland Comic Book Initiative: Sample Lesson Plans Two PDFs of sample lesson plans: one on reading comics, and one on creating comics

Diamond Comics Bookshelf The world's biggest comics distributor, Diamond, also has some excellent educational resources at their "Bookshelf" site, including basic definitions of comics terms, recommended reading lists, and links to many lesson plans.

Owly Lesson Plans Owly creator Andy Runton has created his own lesson plans for the popular series.

ComicsintheClassroom.net A truly impressive number of reviews of comics/graphic novels, plus links to even more lesson plans and articles about teaching with graphic novels

School Library Journal: "Graphic Novels Rule! The Latest and Greatest for Young Kids" By Michele Gorman (3/1/2008) I hope that all of you are signed up to School Library Journal's e-mail list, because they have regular coverage of comics and graphic novels, like this recent list of recommended titles.

School Library Journal: Overview of H.W. Wilson's Graphic Novels Core Collection Wilson's Graphic Novels Core Collection is a database for librarians that lists information about more than "2,000 recommended titles with descriptions, annotations, and cover art for some of the most popular graphic novels published. Through the WilsonWeb interface, subscribers can search the database by author, title, subject, genre, and grade level.... Annotations provide users with a brief description of the content, review excerpts, and any awards that the title has won. Ratings by age appropriateness within the entry are strictly applied..."

No Flying No Tights: Sidekicks Reviews of graphic novels for the pre-teen crowd

Flummery.com Many lesson plans and handouts

... and that's all for now! I'll see about posting my PowerPoint presentation in the near future; it may be too large to do so practically.

UPDATE: I've posted my PowerPoint presentation on-line (though some of it may seem a bit spare without the accompanying commentary). You can download it here:

UPDATE (07/21/2008): I'm adding the lesson plans that accompany the Children's Museum of Indianapolis exhibit, Comic Book Heroes. Download the PDF of the lesson plans here.

Marty Gray #073

Marty Gray #073

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

French Cartoonist cries, "There's No Such Thing as a Graphic Novel!" World yawns.

Comics creator Cyril Pedrosa apparently filled his guest-blog quota over at First Second with the ponderous entry, "There's No Such Thing as a Graphic Novel."

Okay. Whatever you say. And there's no such thing as a "movie," there is only "CINEMA!"

Like Marjane Satrapi's absurd objections, this is all sound and fury, signifying nothing (to coin a phrase). You know what? There is no such thing as a COMIC BOOK! What about those "sequential art" works that are not funny in the slightest? No comedy there, hence "comic book" makes no sense. It's something the marketers thought up. Let's scrap it.

In fact, if we're going all the way back to the Bard with "sound and fury," we may as well fight this stupid hair-splitting, word-parsing non-issue by bringing "comic" and "comedy" back to its Shakespearean sense, meaning a story with a 3-act structure (though often 5 actual acts) that starts happily, proceeds to disarray in the middle, and ends happily. Does every "comic" unfold in this fashion? No. Many of them are tragedies. Many unfold with little or no narrative structure at all, let alone a comedic structure.

So, perhaps there is no such thing as a Graphic Novel in France, but I can confidently say that there are such things as Graphic Novels in the USA, and elsewhere. I know. I make them.

Marty Gray #072

Marty Gray #072

Sorry for the cartoon delays. We had some family emergencies that had to be dealt with.

Marty Gray #071

Marty Gray #071

Marty Gray #070

Marty Gray #070

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Babymouse Fan Art

A lovely rendering of Babymouse and her homework-eating locker by young Gracie (daughter of author/illustrator Aaron Zenz):

This scene of a pig being kicked out of the house (from another tale; check the whole thing out) is excellent; she has a great grasp of figure and movement!

Also be sure to check out her siblings' drawings, including her brother's rendering of Lloyd Alexander's Horned King, which is super-scary!

Marty Gray #063

Marty Gray #063

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Something exciting coming from John Ralston's "The Hole in the Wall?"

I noticed with dismay the other day that John Ralston's strange odyssey of a cat-comic, The Hole in the Wall, had vanished from Flickr. But now I see over at Ralston's site, A Year in Comics, that all is not lost:

For secret reasons that will become clear in a few weeks, I've taken down "The Hole in the Wall". Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Exciting! A collection, perhaps? We'll see...

Jennifer L. Holm interviewed by Shannon Hale

[Sorry for the formal title ... I'm experimenting with better, more informative blog entry titles for the benefit of search engines and the world at large. See, "Jennifer L. Holm interviewed by Shannon Hale" makes a lot more sense when you read it on Google than does "Jenni on Squeetus!" No?]

Anyhoo, Jenni on Squeetus! Jenni's apparent doppelgänger (read the article), Shannon Hale, interviews Jenni. One thing:

[JENNI:] I guess the question I wish someone would ask is: why does Ginny's older brother communicate to her in comic strips? Answer: because my brother Matt (illustrator of BABYMOUSE) did this when we were kids. I still have a bunch of comic strips he drew for me.

Huh. I don't remember these! I don't doubt it--I drew a lot of stuff--but I just don't remember these comics. I'll have to check them out next time I'm back East.

Also, check out the paperback cover of Penny from Heaven:

Marty Gray #062

Marty Gray #062

Frito! At last.

Note that we are now getting into the more "9:30 PM" sort of primetime material. Put the kids in bed. Or turn on Noggin or something.

Also, we are going to spend our time in New Orleans from here on out--and it's not the PC, save-the-restaurants-and-jazz-musicians sort of post-Katrina New Orleans we have today. Think back to 1996, instead, when the city was home to 350 murders in a single year, and it had less of a halcyon glow.

Side note: Frito looks a lot like Frylock from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, doesn't he? Putting a goatee where it doesn't belong (smooth-skinned alien, floating box of french fries, etc.) is just comedy gold.