Teacher Tap


The Comic Boom

mausHaving grown up reading comic books like The Archies and magazines such as Mad, I've wondered about the recent surge in popularity of this format. Why now?

Multimedia Tie-ins. From Spiderman to X-Men and Iron Man, traditional comics are being tied to video games and hit movies.

Major Awards. Graphic novels have begun to win major awards for both adults and young people. Maus: A Survivor's Tale Volume 1: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman got the ball rolling in terms of awards for adult publishing. Read the Teacher's Guide. Then, American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang won literary awards for young adult literature such as the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award.

Japanese Influence. Manga is a hit with young people. American children are wild about Japanese cartoons, comics, and graphic novels. Many companies such as Toyopop have a Kids Manga section.

thief of alwaysNotable Authors. With the introduction of Stephen King's Dark Tower in a graphic novel format, mainstream authors are beginning to see the role of graphic novels in the publishing industry. The Young James Bond is coming out in graphic novel format.

Timely Topics. Graphic novels such as Persepolis and Pride of Bagdad have brought world topics to the forefront. The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation provides an accessible alternative to the Commission report. Also check out In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman.

Child-Centered. Clive Barker's The Thief of Always is a page-turning graphic novel that explores what happens to a boy that reaches beyond his boring, everyday life. Go to Clive Barker's website for example pages.

ConiferComic Life. Easy-to-use tools such as Comic Life have made it easy for anyone to create their own, high-quality comic. Check out the Conifers example.

ratingIf you're selecting materials for young people, look for labels. Many will indicate that they are for ALL AGES or just for MATURE AUDIENCES. Manga books sometimes use the following system: A for all ages, Y for youth, T for teen, OT for ages 16 and up, and M Mature 18+.


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