Friday, December 28, 2007

Comics in the Clasroom

I recently began volunteering at The Short Stop Youth Center's after-school art program; helping the students there create their own comic strips and single-panel cartoons. Interestingly enough, I just came across this article in the December 26th edition of the New York Times:

At Public School 59 in the Bronx one recent afternoon, students clustered around tables, plotting out their own comic strips at one of the Comic Book Project’s after-school programs.

At one table, Jamie Collazo’s and his friends’ faces lit up when asked about their favorite activity: video games like Ultimate Spider-Man, Super Smash Bros. and Wolverine’s Revenge.

“I’m a game freak,” exclaimed Jamie, 11, saying that this was “when you collect a lot of games and you can’t stop playing them.” Reading, he said, “is kind of boring to me.”

But there he was, brainstorming a tale of three powerful gods who land on Nerainis, a planet between Neptune and Uranus.

Gabriel Cid, 10, agreed that “reading is kind of boring,” but said comics were different.

“Superheroes, comics, that’s when it gets interesting because you get to see all the cool stuff,” he said. “We get to do our own design, and we get to color whatever we want — create our own characters and stuff.”

Serendipity rocks.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What do Cincinnati Schools, Mainstream Press & Cartooning Have in Common?

There's an AP article about an art class at the University of Cincinnati making the rounds in newspapers & TV outlets. I always find it interesting to read how various outlets of the mainstream press present their reports on various aspects of the comics/cartooning community. They tend to believe their readers/viewers do not accept the art form a "legitimate" one.

For instance, up in Toledo (at the local CBS affiliate, WTOL), they present the report in this way: "CINCINNATI (AP) - For a long time, comic books and comic strips weren't considered college material. But now, things are changing. " And it goes on from there. Whereas in Friday's USA Today and Sunday's Canton (Ohio) Rep, Associate Press writer Lisa Cornwell gives that same conceit a more personal, softer approach, "As a fine arts graduate student in the early 1980s, Carol Tyler felt she had to hide her interest in cartoon drawing from teachers. An art form associated with comic books and comic strips wasn't considered college material."

Ms. Cornwell continues with a broader scope of comics in the classroom:

Now a professional cartoonist and graphic novelist, Tyler began teaching the University of Cincinnati's first comics art class last year.

Other colleges also have started such classes as critical and academic respect for comics has grown. Courses that began in 2005 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks are starting to draw professional artists and public schoolteachers. Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y., will start its first course this spring.

Applications have increased by at least 50% at The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vt., which was founded two years ago and won state approval this year for a master in fine arts degree.
It's nice that the article quickly details all the various opportunities students now have to learn the specifics of this wonderful art form.

The "Once upon a time, comics were only for outcasts... but now, things are different" shtick used to irritate me but I've grown so accustomed to most mainstream reporters hiding behind that conceit, it's kind of blended into the background. I imagine (or, at least hope) that the media will let go of that security blanket in a decade or so.

Anyway, it's nice that I'm provided with another opportunity to give the thumbs up to Carol Tyler. In doing a little background web surfing search for this post, I found that she's the faculty advisor to an interesting student organization down there at UC.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sunday Comix Joins The Conspiracy

What is this? Why would Sunday Comix (and by default, all its members) want to join The International Cartoonist Conspiracy?

The most fundamental goal of The Conspiracy coincides with that of Sunday Comix: to meet, interact and collaborate with fellow amateur and professional cartoonists on whatever comic related projects the members choose to pursue.

The Conspiracy has a wide and diverse membership of cartoonists from around the world, with active cells in Minneapolis, San Francisco,
Philadelphia and Montreal. Most (if not all) the groups follow the same basic structure as our group-- share our work, get feedback and pump out Comix Jams. Speaking of Jams, there's a great, informative site (The Monthly Montreal Comix Jam) with a boatload of info on Comix Jams:

Now that Sunday Comix is an official member of the Conspiracy
, the reach of our Mighty Mid West Comix community continues to grow...

Friday, December 7, 2007

The World Is Thinking... Comix!

Speaking of forums, I received the following email yesterday:

You have a great site and wonderful blog and it is refreshing to know that you are very passionate about the topics you discuss.

Here at we are passionate about bringing the best political, social and cultural content from the world's leading forums.

Today's feature video is titled "Cartoons You’ll Never See in The New Yorker Video" in which Cartoonist Matthew Diffee and New Yorker Cartoon Editor Robert Mankoff discuss the unique sensibility of the New Yorker cartoon and how the magazine's selection process works.

We would love for you to join in on this discussion over at and we can't wait for you to come look at our new site, if you enjoy this type of content.

Keep up the great work!

William Phung
I have embedded the video below (Chapter 4 features some unused cartoons deemed "unworthy" for the New Yorker).

So, What is ‘’? According to the site's FAQ,
The word fora is simply the plural of "forum." The dictionary definition of forum is: the public square or marketplace of an ancient Roman city that was the assembly place for public business.

There's a lot of cool content (archived video & audio podcasts) and features to be found on their site so if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go do some forum hopping.

Sunday Comix Forums: Open and Available

The fine folks (Okay, it's not so much "folks" as it is "fella;" as in Chuck Moore is a fine fella.) over at Comics Related have (has) been kind enough to host the official Sunday Comix Forums. Just as this blogspot site allows members of the group to announce and post Sunday Comix (and other related) goings on to the public-at-large, the forum pages enable anyone to join in the conversation (Sequentially Speaking, so to speak).

The Comics Related forums have a wide array of easy-to-use features (email notifications, friends lists, virtual directories, even a notepad) and they're personally monitored to keep `em spam-free. To be able to use all the features, registration is required-- it's free and only takes a moment to complete.

So register today and let's get the conversation going!