Teachable Moments

A journal comic by Chris Pearce

3 notes &

This week, we’re going to look at Robotman: The Untold Story by Jim Meddick, published by Topper Books in 1986. 
I paid a quarter for this bad boy and truth be told, I’ve been looking for some Robotman stuff to talk about here for quite awhile. Robotman plays a minor role in the genesis of Calvin & Hobbes, my favorite comic strip ever… but I’d never read the strip before stumbling across this collection. Click over and check it out!

This week, we’re going to look at Robotman: The Untold Story by Jim Meddick, published by Topper Books in 1986. 

I paid a quarter for this bad boy and truth be told, I’ve been looking for some Robotman stuff to talk about here for quite awhile. Robotman plays a minor role in the genesis of Calvin & Hobbes, my favorite comic strip ever… but I’d never read the strip before stumbling across this collection. Click over and check it out!

Filed under thrift store finds robotman jim meddick monty united features syndicate calvin and hobbes

52 notes &

Here’s the third go-around where I’ll be bragging on my students’ work on their Romeo & Juliet movie pitches. Students were asked to come up with a modern spin on the classic tale.

The first one is kinda cool… this group imagined a Pixar-quality animated film where the contents of a fridge come to life and play out the story of Romeo & Juliet. They played careful attention to the feud aspect of the Montagues and Capulets by casting Pepsi products as one family… and Coca-Cola products as the other.

The next one is another reworking of an already-exisiting property: Romance Time, an Adventure Time take on Romeo & Juliet featuring many of the characters from the popular animated series. Seeing as I’m a pretty big fan of AT myself, I heartily approved.

Finally, in close up here are some examples of casting for one of the projects. You can see the though process of some of my students and their conclusions.

Filed under romeo and juliet student work student drawings

15 notes &

I am not sure who asked this question! I’m sorry! I hope I answered it though.
It’s also pretty “funny” I’m posting this today, as my morning routine for Thursday was completely undermined by a cranky 4 week old, a 4 year old who decided he was afraid of the dark at 3 in the morning, and our cat playing with the door to our room. I have no idea how I’m going to get through work today… 

I am not sure who asked this question! I’m sorry! I hope I answered it though.

It’s also pretty “funny” I’m posting this today, as my morning routine for Thursday was completely undermined by a cranky 4 week old, a 4 year old who decided he was afraid of the dark at 3 in the morning, and our cat playing with the door to our room. I have no idea how I’m going to get through work today… 

Filed under comics journal comics teacher comics education

5 notes &

Over the past two days, I mentioned in my comic that I had a strip I used to draw for my college newspaper. Here are a few examples of that comic, A Special Place in Hell.

The high concept was “your roommate in college is the devil” which I thought was a fairly universal thing to most people. I even thought I had a unique enough spin on it - while my comic did have the literal personification of The Devil as a character, over the three years the comic ran, it became pretty clear that The Devil was a wonderfully decent guy and the OTHER roommate (who was a stand-in for me) was the real jerk. 

The comic seemed to work best when I was using it as a commentary about the artifice of comics (bringing in new characters to goose interest, “guest” artists from elementary school) and eventually that’s what killed it. The characters were able gag machines, but it became almost impossible to tell real stories with them.

Eventually I spun off the Hector character to a comic I did my senior year, The Weekly Grind, and that was a more successful experiment.

I wish I had drawn these comics a little smaller - compared to my strips now, they’re GIGANTIC and I can’t scan ‘em… but since I was talking about the strip, I thought I’d show a few examples.

Filed under comics a special place in hell college comics

4 notes &

Hey! Check it out, I got my page of Bravest Warriors artwork from Mike Holmes! It’s the last page of issue #8! This will take a place on my wall next to my page of Raina Telgemeier artwork from The Babysitter’s Club! Super cool!

Hey! Check it out, I got my page of Bravest Warriors artwork from Mike Holmes! It’s the last page of issue #8! This will take a place on my wall next to my page of Raina Telgemeier artwork from The Babysitter’s Club! Super cool!

3 notes &

bigguy1077 asked: When did you first start writing and drawing comics?

I will be answering this question across TWO DAYS starting tomorrow. It’s sure to be an epic retelling of my origins as a comics hobbyist.

2 notes &

Earlier today, I wrote a little bit about my comic book finds at the Gem City Comic Con. Here are my toy purchases from the show!

So, my favorite finds from GCCC are these two toys from ToyBiz’s DC Comics Superheroes line: Robin and Mr. Freeze. This line was released concurrently with the 1989 Batman toys ToyBiz produced a few months ago. I talked about how much I loved that Batman toy as a kid even though objectively, it wasn’t a great toy. I also owned these two action figures as a kid. Both of these are based on Kenner’s DC Super Powers sculpts, just a little bit crappier… but as the only game in town on toy shelves in ‘89, I loved ‘em. The Robin toy especially was a favorite as it was to scale with the Michael Keaton Batman… and even though that movie was dark and morose, I always wanted to see Robin in those movies. These are pretty much pristine on card but I’m planning on ripping them out sometime soon.

As a Minimates collector, I had next to no interest in Art Asylum’s reboot of the classic 1980’s toy property Battle Beasts. As far as asthetics go, I prefer simplicity in my Minimates; when they more resemble a brick figure like LEGO or Kubrick, that’s hitting my sweet spot. Recent Minimate efforts have been more highly sculpted and I tend to avoid those… but these three Battle Beasts were marked down to $2 bucks apiece so I figures I’d give them a shot. Turns out, they’re pretty cool.

At that same “clearance” sale, I picked up these DC Pocket Heroes, an idea that seems now to be a little ahead of its’ time. During the late 1990’s, early 2000’s, DC Direct made a bunch of these ultra-simplified action figures, harkening back to the days of Mego and Kenner 3 and 3/4th inch toys. DC was able to make a fairly wide variety of characters because of how basic the sculpts were on these little guys. I picked up Lois Lane and Bizarro for $2 bucks.

Finally, I bought one of the ReAction Alien figures - I really love this idea Funko has of doing “lost” toy lines of the 1970’s and 1980’s and beyond in this simplistic style. It helps that these toys are based on the aborted Kenner Alien toy line of the seventies. I’ve run into a problem with this toy, however: The packaging is so wonderfully vintage, I haven’t been able to bring myself to rip it open! 

Filed under toybiz dc comics superheroes battle beasts minimates art asylum dc pocket heroes reaction alien funko funko reaction

8 notes &

Every time I go to a comic convention, I devote some bloggin’ time to showing off what I got. At last week’s Gem City Comic Con, I splurged on so much stuff, I thought I’d split these posts up: one about my comic buys and one about the toys I picked up.

This was a GREAT con for me insofar as it allowed me to fill in a bunch of holes in my comics collection.

Filed under Gem City Comic Con

61 notes &

Continuing to share my students’ awesome Romeo and Juliet movie pitch projects. In brief, students in my classes are assigned a scene from the last half of R&J and asked to create a modern take on the material for moviegoing audiences.

One of the things I believe made this year such a successful one in regards to these projects is my taking a slightly different approach to my role as a mentor. I asked students to think more this year about creating a believable “feud” dynamic than I ever have in years’ past. That work reflects itself in quite a few of these projects.

I received several “Marvel Comics vs. DC Comics” Romeo & Juliet pitches. I have to imagine the popularity of superhero movies lead students down this route, casting the R&J roles based personalities of the various hero characters. In both of these projects, independent of one another, the students cast Deadpool as Mercutio… which kind of fits, if you think about it. 

(FYI, the Batman/Spider-Man poster is not meant to lead you to believe those two heroes are the Romeo and Juliet of that pitch… although that is something of an unintended consequence.)

Also included here is another cool take using pre-existing characters: A Romeo & Juliet casting the major roles from the play around the eternal divide between Nintendo and Sega. I wasn’t even aware this particular feud was still going on, but I’ve been since assured it is. In this version, Sonic the Hedgehog woos Princess Peach.

More in upcoming weeks…

Filed under romeo and juliet william shakespeare education student work

13 notes &

I know it’s a total mug’s game to answer your online critics… but if a person is using Family Guy as a means of proving someone or something is racist, that’s shaky ground they’re standin’ on.

I’ve seen the episode. Here’s why it’s not a great way to prove this point. 

[[MORE]]

In the case being cited here, Brian Griffin is making an broad, generalized assumption about his students by raking up the classic “teach inner city youths through the power of rap music” trope. Brian hasn’t gotten to know his students. He hasn’t even really been in the classroom very long. Instead, he’s leaning on the hoary conventions of Hollywood, who seem to pump out one of those “dedicated Caucasian educator changes the world” movies every few years. I wrote about my annoyance with the trope here. Just assuming black kids like rap music by virtue of their skin color is, I agree, completely racist. 

However this isn’t what’s happening in my comic strip. In my comic there’s a clearly defined reason for the teacher to offer his student a book of poetry written by Tupac Shakur, rooted in the time taken to get to know the kid and realizing he might have an interest in reading about a contemporary of an artist he’s already flat-out said he likes. 

You use the word “pandering” and I wonder if you’re aiming true - pandering in part means you are exploiting a weakness in someone. I don’t see appealing to a student’s interests as pandering… or at least, it’s not pandering in a negative way. If you’re going to argue pandering than half of my curriculum is pandering - I could use a variety of texts to teach short stories, novel structure, and drama to my students. I choose Thank You M’am, Code Name Verity and Romeo & Juliet because I know from experience my students will enjoy them.

I’d further like to point out some of the details of that last panel. There’s a reason why I didn’t draw the student as being incredibly happy and excited about the recommendation. It’s not like giving a kid a book is a miracle curative for anything. The book is almost besides the point. The point is, the teacher is showing the student they see them, that they are trying to know them. Even if it’s a clumsy gesture (and I leave that up to others to decide but I certainly hoped the choices I made in that final panel were enough to keep it vague), I know from ten years of experience: Students appreciate it when teachers reach out to them beyond the curriculum.

(Of course, there’s the further problem that a Biggie fan might not necessarily want to read a book of Tupac poetry. Speaking from my own experience, students of mine have been far less interested in the East Coast/West Coast war than I ever would have thought in my years of using The Rose That Grew from Concrete in my classroom. Kids have heard of the East Coast/West Coast thing but they don’t know much about it. All the more reason for a Biggie fan to potentially be interested in TRTGFC).

I know it’s a total mug’s game to answer your online critics… but if a person is using Family Guy as a means of proving someone or something is racist, that’s shaky ground they’re standin’ on.

I’ve seen the episode. Here’s why it’s not a great way to prove this point.