I had a little fun at the ladies’ expense in this fashion a few strips ago… I figured it was the guys’ turn.
Archive for March, 2010
For those playing at home, here’s the actual text from A.3, S.1 that these particular students had to “adapt” for their Romeo & Juliet project:
What, art thou hurt?
Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, ’tis enough.
Where is my page? Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.
Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much.
No, ’tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a
church-door; but ’tis enough,’twill serve: ask for
me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I
am peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o’
both your houses! ‘Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a
cat, to scratch a man to death! a braggart, a
rogue, a villain, that fights by the book of
arithmetic! Why the devil came you between us? I
was hurt under your arm.
Obviously, the kids took liberties with The Bard’s words… but that was sort of the point of that aspect of their project, and I think they did an awesome job.
For those of you collectors out there who are looking for Chris Pearce’s first professionally published artwork (ha), you need dip into back issue bins no further that Archie Comics’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #29.The Archie TMNT series was a odd breed in the whole Ninja Turtle hierarchy- someone sensibly realized during the massive Ninja Turtles fad that kids would want to read comics featuring the Heroes in a Half Shell, but the original Eastman and Laird Mirage series was deemed (appropriately) far too intense for young readers. This book was the compromise.
The series operated in a weird grey area- it was nowhere near as gritty as the Mirage series, but neither did it kowtow directly to the animated series continuity. For example, Shredder and Krang, the main baddies on the animated series, didn’t make a whole lot of appearances in the Archie series after the first couple of issues. Instead, the Archie books mined their own continuity, which could be pretty rich at times… the book went out of its way to beef up the roles of some characters who were never seen on the animated series but had been immortalized in action figure form, including Wingnut the Bat and Manta Ray. Most of these toys were so cool, and so little backstory was to be had about the characters, that it was a welcome part of the comics. In fact, the Archie series did get a bit heavy at times- this issue here reveals that the Ninja Turtles’ rat sensei/mentor Splinter was present at the bombing of Hiroshima. Yikes. One of my favorite comic commentary blogs, Not Blog X, does a tremendous job giving a summary of the comic here.
All that’s pretty far afield from why I’m talking about an old Ninja Turtle comic… bring on the art!
Mondo Gecko was my favorite ancillary character in the TMNT universe- a be-mulleted skateboarding gecko. Another one of the TMNT characters to become a kick-ass action figure but never actually get any airtime on the cartoon, I owned Mondo Gecko far before Archie Comics imbued him with a personality… so I was free to kind of make up my own outrageous Mondo Gecko persona while playing with my Ninja Turtle action figures.
Easily the best part about getting this printed was the HYPER professional coloring job that Archie did on my 10 year old black and white scrawlings- check OUT the highlights on that mullet!
In hindsight, I’m even more impressed that my drawing was printed in this comic’s Fantastic Fan Art section today than I was when I first saw it. I have no circulation figures, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Adventures must have been putting out HUGE numbers due to the popularity of the Turtles at the time when I sent my drawing in… and the editors must have been deluged with submissions. I had actually forgotten all about this fan art’s existence until a few years ago, trolling a gigantic flea market’s wares, I came across this gem. Now it’s for all to enjoy.
HOWEVER… if you care not for fantastic fan art and are looking for my first published piece of writing, well my friends, you must go all the way back to 1989 and try and find a copy of
ALF #21, which featured a fan letter to the editior penned by me.
I was a huge ALF fan, as I think many twenty-somethings were when the show first came out. ALF was the first TV show for which I was allowed to stay up past 8 o’clock to watch, which says much about both my exposure to television when I was a child and how strict my mother was about bedtimes.
The misadventures of a wisecracking puppet alien and the nuclear family he lives with, ALF had that wise ass personality that I loved as a child… you can draw a direct line through my childhood interests to my sense of humor today; Bugs Bunny to ALF to MAD Magazine and finally Peter Venkman in “Ghostbusters” cemented my smartass sense of humor.
You’ll laugh, but I love ALF Comics. LOVE them. Like TMNT Adventures, ALF Comics took advantage of the medium to do things that the TV show ALF could never do… like SHOW ALF’S FEET! OMG!
The book did a lot of digging into ALF’s background on his home planet Melmac every other issue, but by far my favorite part of ALF Comics were the parodies, which were something like MAD Magazine Lite, skewering areas of pop culture that an 8 year old kid wouldn’t normally be interested in, but God I thought it was great.
For example, this issue features an appearance from the MelMarx Brothers, Chippo, Oucho, and Burpo (it seems that Zeppo didn’t rate an ALF stand-in character). Issue 22 of ALF was the best of the lot, featuring a story about the X-MelMen, a team of ALF-related X-Men characters from the Claremont/Byrne hayday fighting a steak-and-poultry manipulating character called MagMEAT-O. It was that kind of comic. You can see a tiny ad for next months issue here in the somewhat disgustingly named letter column, Melmac Mail Sack:
The WOTIF simulator, by the way, was another comic book only contrivance in the ALF universe- briefly explained, it was a machine on ALF’s crashed spaceship that when used, projected “What If” scenarios… like “What if ALF had crash landed in the Tanner’s annoying next-door neighbor’s house instead?” To this day I love “What If?” stories in comic books.
The cat allergy thing was true until a few years ago- after 12 months of living with my best friend’s cat Creature, I’m pretty well over my allergies… to the point where I bought on myself. The answer to my question about ALF’s other favorite foods lead to an interesting response though- the editors provide a list of things that ALF enjoys noshing on, including platypus eggs.
A few months after this issue, some pissed-off environmentalist wrote into Melmac Mail Sack, specifically referencing my letter and deriding ALF, who was clearly a role model, for eating the eggs of the platypus, which as everyone knows is a highly endangered species. For my part, I was just excited to see my name in print again, although I have yet to refind that issue of ALF comics in my back issue bin diving
More teaching comics from my journal in 2004/2005.
I know that this one seems bleak… but honestly, that first year of teaching is probably the toughest a teacher will EVER do. I felt constantly that I wasn’t measuring up, that I was failing my students. I know now that I was doing the best job I was able… and I finally have enough distance to be able to say openly that my former school had issues that went well beyond my being a good teacher.
This is me trying to implement a Teacher’s College Reading & Writing Project method. I will be generous and say that the TC method is something that I don’t find entirely useful if it is the SOLE source of classroom teaching and that I didn’t enjoy being handcuffed to it for most of my time teaching in Brooklyn. At the same time, I do use some TC stuff in my classroom even today, so there was some good.
I seem to have my scanner sorted out, so new comics this Monday!
With my scanner out of commission for the moment, I thought it might be interesting to dig into the archives and re-run some comic strips from the first year when I was teaching.
While I currently teach in Southern Ohio, I am originally from the East Coast and am born and was raised in New York. My first teaching position was at a small middle school in Fort Greene, Brooklyn where I taught one year of 8th grade, and one year of 6th grade before my wife Ellen and I decided to pull up stakes and relocate.
…so here’s the comic I drew after my LAST interview at the school before they hired me:
This one is from the first week of teaching.
I think I had the germ of an idea that I wanted to do comics about teaching at this point, but not the understanding of either the job itself or my own responsibilities as a teacher to be able to write honestly about the work without imposing on those responsibilities.
I do think this comic works pretty well though; I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I think anyone who’s ever plowed through their first year as a new teacher knows that feeling.
Two more tomorrow, and then hopefully we’ll be back to NEW stuff on Monday!