Amph Comics in the classroom

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Books and Comics' started by rebelwookiee, Jul 31, 2007.

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  1. rebelwookiee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 4
    Hello everyone. I am a High School English teacher and frequent poster on the collecting board. I am currently involved in a research project involving literacy. I am focusing on using comic books and graphic novels to promote literacy in (and out of) the classroom. I plan to have a variety of materials available to the students and am looking for some suggestions. We will be examining characters, their motivations, predicting their actions, etc. and also looking at basics of storytelling--plot, conflict, etc.

    What I want to ask everyone is this: What are some titles you would suggest that are school appropriate, but appeal to a broad audience? I am biased towards superhero, sci-fi, and action comics, but for this project I need to include other types of comics that appeal to other interests. What might appeal to high school age girls? History/nonfiction fans? Sports fans? What about Manga? Basically I am looking for suggestions outside the superhero genre that I could use in class.

    Just to clarify, I'm not soliciting anything but ideas for my classroom. Definitely no profit to be made...in fact I'll probably have to pay for a lot of the material out of my own pocket because our school has no money. Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance for ideas!
  2. Katana_Geldar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    There's some really good comics about classics, like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as well as the ancient Greek myths.
  3. jacemathem Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 5
    Off the top of my head, you could use Marvel's recent Civil War storyline. It will provide a good topic of discussion on the subject of the superhero registration that starts the war. Plus, you can consider effects and aftermath by following Spider-man's storyline through and just after it, as he epitomizes the conflict.

    Recommended reads:
    TPB: Civil War (Civil War #1-7)
    TPB: Civil War: Amazing Spider-man (Amazing Spider-man #532-538)
    ISSUE: Amazing Spider-man #539
  4. Soontir-Fel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 18, 2001
    star 5
    You're kidding right? CW was horribly written and just a big comic event that are all focused on tie ins and money.

    Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Kingdom Come, and Sandman will be your best bests.
  5. rebelwookiee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 4
    Those are the first things I thought of, and they're fine...but I need variety. I can't see the girls in my classes going for any of that. Some of the guys are too "rugged midwestern" for the superhero thing as well.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
  6. s65horsey Otter-loving Former EUC Mod

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2006
    star 7
    There was one called Alias that dealt with Wonderwoman or Supergirl after they'd left the superhero world. I'm not sure how many issues there are though. So that would at least be one from a female perspective.

  7. Darth-Lando Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 6
    Fables.

    It should be easily identifiable with nearly everybody, boys and girls. It's about classic storybook characters such as Snow White, The Big Bad Wolf, and others, all living in modern New York. Plus, it doesn't hurt that it is extremely well written.
  8. NYCitygurl Welcome New Users and NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    I'm sorry I can't suggest any titles, but I just wanted to wish you good luck with this :)
  9. rebelwookiee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 4
    Fables might work. Another hurdle I'm going to face is money. I'd give anything to go back to last free comic book day and pick up some more stuff. I have small classes, so I don't need a lot. Single issues aren't that hard to get cheap around here, though. The real problem is getting graphic novels/tpb's.

    Anybody know a good source, like an online store, of cheap used graphic novels? Obviously I just need reading copies, not collector grade items.
  10. BartSimpson-SithLord Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2002
    star 5
    Runaways.

    It's very accessible to all ages, has a very identifiable cast, and deals with issues relevant to teens in a unique way. It's also conveniently packaged in digest form.


    Also: Look into the "Mary-Jane" books from Marvel. They're more romantic-comedy than Superhero. And while the most recent version, "Spider-Man <3's Mary-Jane", does feature Spidey and his career as a backdrop, it is still more like a teen comedy than anything else.
  11. darth_paul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    It's fairly sophisticated and I wouldn't use it with younger students, but Maus would be wonderful classroom material with older students.

    -Paul
  12. jacemathem Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 5
    QFT. Volume 1 and 2.
  13. LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Games Mod

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2002
    star 9
    rw - check out Amazon's marketplace for used TPB's/GN's once you have some titles in mind. If the issues don't have to be pristine you might find some good deals there. There's usually a link to marketplace sales on the page with the title/Amazon price info and on the search result page.
  14. rebelwookiee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 4
    Thanks for the advice. I hadn't even though of Runaways, but I think it will be great. And I'll check out Amazon--the books don't have to be anywhere near pristine. They just have to be readable.
  15. NYCitygurl Welcome New Users and NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    I've read both of them twice. Really good (scary) story about the Holocaust.
  16. rebelwookiee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 4
    I read Maus in high school. It's definitely high on my potential list. I've got to find out exactly how many students I'm going to work with, who they are, and how much (if any) money is available before any final decisions. The ideal situation would be to have one of my larger classes (only about 15 kids at this school) read a variety of graphic novels and share their reading in class activities. Alternatively, I could have a group analyze the same book.

    Anybody read "The Plain Janes"? I've seen references to it in my research, and I saw it at the comic shop, but I don't know much about it.
  17. Private-Caboose Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 11, 2007
    star 1
    I did my final paper for a class last semester on this subject. PM me if you're interested.
  18. NJOfan215 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2003
    star 5
    You might want to take a look at Midnight nation by jms, strang by jms, and orbiter by warren ellis. Hell world war hulk by greg pak might be worth a look also.
  19. Soontir-Fel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 18, 2001
    star 5
    Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis. Preacher by Garth Ennis.
  20. Darth-Lando Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 6
    I thought about recommending Preacher as well but I thought it may be too controversial for a high school setting.
  21. Lanky Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 2002
    star 4
    Tintin and the Blue Lotus. Follows a vaguely historical plot (the blowing up the Nanking railway, invasion of Manchuria, Japan walking out of the League of Nations) plus goes a long way in combatting early 20th century racism.

    ^^This would be even better if you contrasted it with some of Herge's earlier stuff like Land of the Soviets or Tintin in the Congo. The last one has some pretty racist caricatures (its from the mid 30's) but it would be useful I think to juxtapose it with Blue Lotus and show how those attitudes changed and why they were stupid to begin with.

    Plus Tintin is pretty sick, you really cant go wrong with him.
  22. RedHanded_Jill Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2004
    star 4
    the wonder woman comic right now is awesome! she is trying to find her way after killing lord and the 52 week thing and she is trying to be diana prince, and wonder woman, and daughter and she is having trouble figuring out where she is supposed to be.

    find a girl in your school that reads comics. or go to a bookstore and hang out around the comics and ask her. of course i love anything by frank miller, or about superman. not a typical girl.
  23. whisperjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 19, 2005
    star 2
    Coincidently, I took a "Comics as Literature 2209" Course last year @ college. It was not what I expected, and our instructors didn't really seem 2 know either. It was almost a brand new course (I took the 2nd. offical class.) We read Persipolis 2 and wrote essays on Watchmen. It was a recap of Comic book history, though our instructors put us into groups & "we" as students, researched: male/female stereotypes in comics, Dark Knight returns, Manga,Archie, independent/underground comics etc. then gave presentations 2 the class. I personally, thought this was just lazy on their parts or whatever.
    I think they're considering "Kingdom Come" and did "Maus" in the first course. One was a creative writing teacher & other was a Film instructor. This usually is listed as a "Pop Culture" or English option, Special topic specifically.
  24. Soontir-Fel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 18, 2001
    star 5
    The Vertigo Uncle Sam story.
  25. rebelwookiee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 4
    Thanks for all the responses.

    As for Wonder Woman--funny you should mention that. Many of my students are HUGE Jodi Picoult fans, so I introduced them to her run on WW. Personally, I didn't care for it, but it opened the door. The entire group agreed that IT WAS THE FIRST TIME THEY HAD EVER READ A COMIC BOOK. I was blown away. High School Sophomores, 15-16 years old. So there really isn't anyone to ask at my school. We're the smallest of the small as far as schools go, so I get a very good impression of what they're all reading.

    I picked up a copy of "The Plain Janes" tonight and read it. It's a little shorter than what I wanted to use in class, but it's got so much of what I'm looking for that I think it will be perfect with one of my classes. It has a set of unique (if slightly underdeveloped) characters, and plenty of commentary on our current "climate of fear" in this country. It's from a female POV, but it's "teen" enough that I think I can get the group I'll have interested in it as a class project. After that I'm going to give them a variety of things to choose from and explore.

    I'd love to do Watchmen (because it's the best thing ever written!) but I think it's too edgy for our school at this point. But I am going to try to at least get a copy of it and Dark Knight into the library, if our new librarian is cooperative.

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