Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanks 2016

     As with all Thanksgivings (and all other days in the history of days), there is plenty to be grateful for and plenty not to.  Recently, a little less than half of voting Americans decided it was time for this country to, shall we say, reinvent itself.  Whether this fills you with unease or relief, you're probably grateful that the divisiveness of the campaign is behind us and eager to get to work building a future, however you might individually envision it.  As in Thanksgivings past,  here are few things to make some of your downtime from the building more enjoyable and even, perhaps, more insightful.

The Songs of Johnny Cash - I happen to have heard part of Hurt running under the trailer for the movie Logan.  The sense of longing and melancholy that rode so powerfully in the lyrics and Mr. Cash's voice made me curious to investigate his entire oeuvre.  It has, so far, proved most rewarding, both in its dark, searching depths and its funny, twangy highs.

Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye by Gerard Way, Jon Rivera and Michael Avon Oeming - One of the titles in DC's new Young Animals imprint, a line of comics founded on the tone and outlook of Grant Morrison's seminal Doom Patrol run.  Cave Carson is well and truly bonkers in the most delightful way, as the retired underground explorer (and obscure DC Comics Silver Age character) Carson is pulled back towards his former life in a particularly gruesome way.  Filled with wonder and darkness with a lovely and complicated father-daughter relationship at its heart.

Haunted by Leo Braudy - A cultural study of what we're scared of and why, tracing the lineage of our monstrous archetypes back through the centuries, searching for the historical events and currents that made certain horrors resonate so deeply in our collective unconscious.  Dense and extremely well-researched, this is not a light read, but it is loaded with fascinating insights into the things that truly make us tick.

     Happy Thanksgiving.  Be sure enjoy a good Turkey joke with your meal.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Action: Captured Again

     The BookFest continues to provide interesting material.  Here is an article from Publisher's Weekly that covers the entire day in depth.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Action: Captured

     With thanks to panelists Jorge Aguirre, Raul Gonzalez, Deb Lucke and George O'Connor, last Saturday's Capturing the Action panel at BookFest was a delight (speaking for myself, at least).  Have a look at pictures of the whole day right here.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Capturing the Action on KidLitTV

     Capturing the Action: Graphic Novels and Visual Literacy, the panel I'll be moderating for BookFest@Bank Street on Saturday, is going to be live streaming on KidLitTV.  If you can't join us in person, please have a look via the link above.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Capturing the Action

     I will be moderating the panel Capturing the Action: Graphic Novels and Visual Literacy at the Bank Street BookFest 2016, which takes place on Saturday, October 22nd.  The entire event runs from 9:00-4:00 P.M.  The panel itself takes place from 2:05-2:50 P.M. and features Jorge Aguirre, Deb Lucke, Raul the Third and George O'Connor.
     If you are in the area, please join us.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Talking with Don Brown

     The September 2016 issue of Booklinks features an article by yours truly which includes an interview with the children's author and graphic novelist Don Brown, a short reading list of his works and several suggested classroom activities.  Have a look here.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


     Here's something I heard once: no one ever finishes writing a book, they just stop.  It's appropriate, but also a bummer, that it takes as much discipline to be done with a book as it does to put down those first words on a blank page.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Batman v Superman v Joy

     Seldom has a creation so founded on joy been rendered so joylessly as the superhero has in the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  While it has suffered a non-stop fusillade of critical slings and arrows, it still feels like the most troubling point hasn't been fully raised yet.  So calculatedly grim and brutal, no one is ever going to walk out of this movie -- certainly no children if, God help them, they were ever made to see it -- with a sense of hope or inspiration. 
     It's not that you can't use superheroes as a lens through which to view adult issues.  All you need to do is look at a few actual comic books to be assured of that and certainly Captain America: Winter Soldier balanced political issues with fun as the soon-to-be released Captain America: Civil War promises to do.  Indeed, Batman v Superman almost does it, by setting up an interesting question about the democratic deployment of power.  It then elects to literally blow it up, though, in favor of crushing violence and the imagery of superheroes breaking necks and gunning people down.        
     Ultimately, what superheroes are about is offering a sense of our best selves, they are meant to inspire us to reach higher, accomplish more in both individual and collective terms, and most poignantly, they were originally built to offer this sense of hope to kids.  Batman v Superman feels like it has fully turned it's back on hope and joy and left what is best and most worthwhile about the superhero miles behind.     

Thursday, April 7, 2016

In Action

     This is an "action shot" from my recent talk at New York Public Library's Columbus Branch, demonstrating a point about sequential art as illustrated in Shaun Tan's Arrival.  The picture was taken by photographer and writer Miriam Berkley and, I'm pleased to say, I'm in very good company among the many subjects she's captured images of over the years, as you can see for yourself by visiting her website.  Many thanks to Miriam and everyone who attended the presentation.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Graphic Novels: Where They Come From and How They Work

     As I posted a few weeks ago, I will be speaking at the New York Public Library's Columbus Library branch on Saturday, March 5th for a program titled Graphic Novels: Where They Come From and How They Work.  For a full run down on the event, have a look here.  It takes place from 11:30-12:30.  If you're in the area, please drop by.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

New York Public Library Event

     To celebrate Will Eisner Week, I will be speaking at the Columbus Branch of the New York Public Library about comics and graphic novels, touching on a pivotal moment in their history and delving into the the codes and symbols that make the form work, ending with an activity to bring the experience of comic creation closer to home.
     The event takes place from 11:30-12:30 on March 5th at the Columbus Library, 742 Tenth Avenue.  If you're in the area, please come by.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Multicultural Graphic Novels

     The January 2016 issue of Booklinks features an article by yours truly on the subject of multicultural graphic novels, including a reading list and suggested classroom activities.  Have a look here.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


     Regarding a post from just before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens: bravo to everyone involved, though most directly actress Daisy Ridley and director and screenwriter J.J. Abrams.  If art can be a force for social change, then they just set off an atomic bomb of gender role subversion in the middle of the biggest blockbuster in mainstream Hollywood history.