12 March 2015

What types of comics classes do YOU want to see?


A few weeks ago I posted that I was teaching a class on comics for Library Juice on "Comics, Literacy, and Standards" and I have a couple of more in the works. But honestly...I don't think there are enough classes on comics in the world and I want to create more of them!

Now, while I have plenty of ideas on what types of classes I'd like to offer, I'd love to hear what you're interested in learning about!  So if you can take a few minutes to fill out my survey that would be most helpful.  And stay tuned to find out what classes are coming next!

10 March 2015

Update on Fund Raising Goal

If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that I'm currently pursuing my dream of completing an MFA at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Applied Cartooning, with the goal of working with libraries and the community to help them connect to comics.  To help me towards this goal, I launched a fundraiser in December to help me out with the upcoming school year.  Since I launched it I've gotten support (thank you!) and some criticism....but I wanted to provide an update on what's going on and a bit more information on why I'm fundraising.

So here's the deal. The Center for Cartoon Studies is a fantastic and great school and is accredited by the state of Vermont, but not nationally. This isn't an issue at all, but for one thing...it limits where I can get loans from to pay for school to one place. This one place offers great rates, but does require a cosigner on the loan. I put a burden on my parents to have them cosign for me this year, which I greatly appreciate, but I can't ask them to do it again. 

Now, could I leave the school, find a FT job, and save money to come back and finish later?  I'm sure I could. But...I can't. For a lot of reasons, including health reasons, I need to keep on this path on finishing the degree on time.  Thus why I started the fundraiser for this upcoming year.  

Now, as of right now I do have two PT jobs that will cover most of my living expenses and I've arranged to do a payment plan with the school, so I'm starting to get things covered a little bit.  But there are things on the horizon that will complicate things a little bit.  Plus the fact that I would really like to put some money down for the school.

So what do I need?
  • If you can contribute to my fundraiser that would be great.  Any money raised will go towards paying for tuition for next year.
  • Want to help your library, school, place of business better understand comics and how you can use them?  Hire me.  
  • I'm going to be teaching classes on comics, sign up to take them.  Here's the first one at Library Juice.  Others will be posted on this blog as they're posted.
  • Looking for an artist for reports, portraits, or just for an idea for comic and books?  Take a look at some of my work and let me know if we can work together.
The deal still remains that I will create a unique piece of original art for every person that helps. It may take some time, but I promise it will happen. 

So that's the deal.  If you can help out that's great. If you can offer support that's great to.  I'm making the dream happen and I'm glad that y'all are along for the ride.

18 February 2015

Time to bury the word Normal

"You should cut your hair. You should wear nicer clothes. Those are toys for girls, you should play with toys for boys.  Don't you want to fit in? Don't you want to have friends?"
"Don't you want to be NORMAL?"


It's a word that we all use.  One single word.  Just one.  But what a horrible and deadly word it is.

We use it to describe our day. To describe someone else...or to describe how we want to be.  Society encourages this.  All while telling us to be embrace our uniqueness and differences, it tells us that we should strive to be NORMAL.  To fit in.  In school, in work, in church...wherever we go.  Society tells us that we should all strive to be NORMAL.  That it's better to be NORMAL.  NORMAL is an ideal.  And that ideal is absolute and total bullshit.

I heard the word NORMAL a lot growing up.  Hell, I heard it a lot even after I was done growing up.  People tossed the phrase at me like it was candy.  "You need to look like them.  You need to act like they do.  Be more like them.  FIT IN!  Be NORMAL!"  I heard that from people that meant well and wanted me to be happy and successful.  I heard it from people that didn't give a shit about me at all and were disgusted that I couldn't be shoved into a box.  Whatever they meant, it had the same effect.  I started not to stand out.  To not embrace what made me, me.  I started fading into the background.  To slowly have my spirit die.  To slowly kill me.

I'm sure some of you are thinking that maybe I'm going a bit over the top with this.  That "fitting in" and "normal" aren't the same thing.  But stop and think about it for a moment.  How many times has someone told you that you should fit into the norm? How many times have you wished you could be NORMAL like a friend of yours?  They may sound different, but we often use the word "NORMAL" to mean to fit in.  And how horrible is that?  Why should we hide what makes us, us?

And I get it, there are some things that are norms that are good, like not being a sociopath or a bully.  But as to the rest?  Normal is bullshit.  It causes the death of identity. Death of a spirit. Death of a soul. It bullies us until nothing is left but despair and darkness.

So what do we do?  Do we continue to tell people to be normal?  Or do we let people soar? To discover who and what they are.  To discover what they might be. It is time for the word normal to die a quick and painless death.  It is time to give it a funeral and to move on. To encourage people to be themselves.

17 February 2015

I'm teaching a class on comics, sign up!

I'm excited to announce that this August I will be teaching a class for Library Juice Academy called "Comics, Literacy, and Standards."  It's a 4 week class and here's what we'll be covering:

Comics have made their mark upon the world of entertainment, from movies, TV, to even music. Now they're beginning to show up in discussions on promoting education and literacy for students of all ages. How is this possible? And how do you make the argument to administration and teachers that comics have value beyond just entertainment? This course will give you the basics of terminology, standards that comics meet, and ways to sell these important works to the administration and faculty that you work with.
By the end of the course you will be able to:
  • Define basic comics terms, such as gutter, panel, border, caption and more.
  • Outline a basic argument of how comics:
  • Support literacy and critical thinking skills
  • Support and meet the common core standards in multiple areas
  • Promote both verbal and visual literacy for readers
  • Match standards to comics
  • Match comics to programs and readers, based upon content, images, style and purpose.
If this is an area of the comics world that you'd like to learn more about then sign up and we'll get started in August.  Hope to see you all in August!