Archive for September, 2010

2010-2011 school year: day twelve

Posted in comics with tags , on September 30, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

Yes, I know it’s Thursday. Work with me people.

As it’s Banned Books Week, The Huffington Post has a list of ten graphic novels that are frequently challenged in libraries.

It’s an interesting list, with some very strange challenges (Maus is “anti-ethnic”? Bone contains drug use? News to me!) with which I don’t really agree. I have several of these books in my classroom (Watchmen, Maus, Bone) but they live on the filing cabinet next to my desk and are lent out on a “parental consent only” basis. Well, Bone sits up there because I have the One Volume edition for my class and the spine is cracked, but you see my point.

Honestly, if nothing else, the list serves for a great “What a novice comics reader should read” list as most of the challenged books are the best of what the medium has to offer.

2010-2011 school year: day eleven

Posted in comics on September 29, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

I found out about this amazing study via my favorite teaching website, NYC Educator. For its ability to make me aware of the political aspects of  my job, it is a site I wish I had been reading regularly while I was teaching in Brooklyn.

2010-2011 school year: day ten

Posted in comics with tags , , , on September 28, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

Edit: I forgot I wanted to link a blog post from Mr. Skottie Young, artist on Marvel Comics’ Illustrated Oz comics, on getting kids to read comics. The gentleman offers some nice insight into overthinking what are and are not “kids” comics and there’s some nice conversation going on over there.

2010-2011 school year: day nine

Posted in comics, surly kid with tags on September 27, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

chalkboard post 2010 – #3

Posted in chalkboard drawings with tags , on September 26, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

No real theme to this week’s round of chalkboard drawings:

I mistakenly thought that Sept. 13th was Talk Like A Pirate Day.

…and the week I drew these marked the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros!

thrift store finds: archie pals ‘n’ gals digest #70

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

(Thrift Store Finds is a mostly-weekly “column” of sorts where I discuss some of the cool books I’ve happened upon in my neighborhood St. Vincent DePaul store. Please don’t mistake me for an expert on any of the books I am writing about… I’m just a fan of a bargain.)

Behold one of the most common comic book finds in my local thrift store:

The Archie digest!

Continue reading

odds and ends

Posted in commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

I mentioned the Cincinnati Comics Expo last week. I went and had a very good time… but here’s one of the highlights:

I bought an original Archie newspaper comic strip!

Most of the people reading this will not be as excited as I was to pick up something silly like this. I’ll never be able to frame it. It’s not going to be worth a lot of money. It doesn’t feature Betty OR Veronica, for Pete’s sake! Despite all that, I was still very excited to drop $30 bucks to own a comic strip that appeared in newspapers across the country. Ever since I was old enough to read, I’ve been obsessed with newspaper comic strips and I’ve always wanted to own one. Now I can cross that off my Bucket List.

I will tell you, I picked this particular strip out of a large pile for three reasons:

1. It features Jughead.

2. It takes place at Riverdale High; as a teacher, I thought it would be fun to have this hanging in my classroom somewhere.

3. For three summers during high school and college, I worked in my hometown’s elementary school doing exactly what Archie and Jughead are doing here.

$30 dollars well spent.


I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, but I watch enough to be excited for the new fall season to officially begin this past week. Ellen and I have put our Netflix Watch Instantly feature to good use this past summer, but I am getting very tired of flippin’ on the boob tube and having to wade through awful stuff like Minute to Win It and reruns of CSI ad nauseum.

On show I’m tentatively excited to see return is NBC’s The Office. It’s been receiving a lot of buzz surrounding the announcement that Steve Carrell will not be returning as office manager Michael Scott after this season.

Certainly the show is coming off a season that was, to be generous, a mixed bag… and as The Office marches into its seventh season, the characters have become far more broad and less realistic. These are facts. It should also be said that those things happen to EVERY situation comedy that stays on the air longer than 100 episodes. Characters and situations just can’t have the same kind of impact they had originally when you see them week in, week out. You’re too familiar with them… and syndication certainly doesn’t help matters.

I also think some of the “The Office has jumped the shark” sentiments are tied up with the emotional attachment that fans have to the show’s second and third season, specifically the “Jim and Pam” romance arc that is, to the writers’ credit, pretty settled now. I always admired how they resisted putting up unnatural roadblocks to the Jim and Pam romance once they were firmly together in S.4.

Anyhow, I’m curious how the show’s going to step up to the plate and approach losing Carrell. I certainly think it’s a good sign that they’ve hired Amy Ryan back to play Holly Flax for the last couple of episodes as I think that will help to bring Michael’s story to a close in fine style.

Here’s something I’m genuinely curious about: I’m wondering if this is the season that the producers are going to engineer some kind of guest appearance by/cross over with Ricky Gervais’ David Brent character. You’ll find no bigger fan of the original British version of The Office than me, and Gervais’ originated the boorsh boss in Brent. This is something that has occasionally teased in interviews, but never seriously considered… at least to my knowledge.

I’m not necessarily saying I think bringing Gervais’ Brent into the fold is a good idea… but it’s something that people have always asked for. Gervais remains not only an executive producer but also a tremendous booster of the US Office, going to far as to write an episode of the series in its third season, so the connection’s there. With Carrell leaving, this would be the only time that David Brent and Michael Scott could breathe the same air. It could potentially be a very silly and uninteresting bit of fan-service, but I’m kind of hoping they pull the trigger on it. I could do without seeing the rest of the cast of the UK Office again, their stories always seemed pretty well finished to me, but Brent was always little larger than life, at least in his own mind. I could see him wandering across the pond for some reason or another.


I’m currently reading Peter and Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham, illustrations by Steve Leialoha.  This has been on my “to read” pile for awhile, a prose novel based in the world of DC Comics/Vertigo’s long-running Fables. The conceit of Fables is that fairy tale characters are real and live in our world after being pushed out of their mythical Homelands by an evil Adversary. They work to fit into modern society as well as try to retake their fairy tale kingdoms.

Peter and Max is seemingly a footnote to the longer narrative of the comic, dealing with the character of Peter Piper (who also, it seems, takes on the roles of other famous “Peters” from fairy tale and nursery rhyme history) and his adventures. The novel works as an primer for the Fables world without being overly confusing for new readers and Willingham has long had a flair for looking at treasured characters from myth and legend with a fresh perspective.

2010-2011 school year: day eight

Posted in comics with tags , on September 23, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

I just thought I’d mention the weirdness of doing a comic like this. Teaching is a topic I’ve never seen done as a journal comic, and perhaps this is because there are certain aspects of the job that are very repetitive. For example, The top panel in today’s comic mirrors a strip I drew last year. My ninth grade students just finished reading “The Sniper”, a story which I talked about here and here back in 2009.

One of the challenges in doing this strip is going to be to find unique ways not to repeat myself. I think part of that will be re-linking to last year’s comics every once and awhile for context.

That’s a roundabout way of saying yes, I do call ALL my students parents to introduce myself. It’s time consuming but well worth the time it takes to make the effort… and apparently, the time it takes to draw the action into a comic strip twice in two years.

2010-2011 school year: day seven

Posted in comics with tags , , on September 22, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

If you’re working to build your classroom lending library’s graphic novel selection, here are some good deals floating around the Internet this week:

1. Amazon has crazy-discounted all the Scott Pilgrim books. While some of the volumes may have content that isn’t exactly suitable for general classroom libraries (I keep all but Volume 1 on my shelf next to my desk), the Scott Pilgrim books were hugely popular with my students last year. Picking up the whole series for $25 bucks is a steal.

2. Things from Another World is  having a “back to school” sale this week: A huge selection of their comics and graphic novels are marked down 60%, with a promise of a 70% mark down next week. Some very good deals on durable comic hardcovers to be had here, but supplies are limited on everything.

2010-2011 school year: day six

Posted in comics with tags , on September 21, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

For those hanging on my every move: The car was fixed with a minimum of fuss yesterday afternoon. I have a really great mechanic who set my “beloved” Toyota Corolla straight:)