Archive for September, 2010

2010-2011 school year: day five

Posted in comics with tags , on September 20, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

Fun Fact: I am posting this comic from HOME because the rassen-frassin muffler fell off my car on my commute.

chalkboard post 2010 – #2

Posted in chalkboard drawings with tags , , , , , , , on September 19, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

An all Marvel Comics theme week for this week’s chalkboard drawings. No drawing for September 6th as it was Labor Day.

thrift store finds: planet x

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , on September 18, 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.)

In case you haven’t realized it by now, I’m a fan of kitschy stuff. The weirder and goofier, the better.

That being said, I pass up a LOT of kitsch on our weekly thrift store jaunts. Sure, I could have picked up that Gremlins-themed Christmas picture book titled “The Gift of the Mogwai” but after the initial guffaw that owning a crazy piece of pop culture ephemera… then what? What would I do with that book? Anything that you enjoy ironically has a very limited shelf life and I’m not looking to pad out my ramshackle collection with any more useless stuff. My garage is filled to the brim already, thanks much.


When I found this paperback, I could not believe my eyes. I’m on record as not being much a fan of either Star Trek (in any incarnation) or The X-Men. They are two corners of geekdom with which I am altogether unfamiliar and in which I am uninterested to learn very much more than I already know. To me, Star Trek and X-Men seem like completely separate hubs of fandom that are best represented in this hastily drawn Venn diagram:

…and yet, Planet X, a Star Trek/X-Men novel, exists. Written by longtime Star Trek novelist Michael Jan Friedman, Planet X seems like an idea though of in a fever dream.

To me, this is the weirdest book I have ever seen. Who was the audience for this? Even people who can suspend their disbelief for one of these two franchises will surely be tested beyond the breaking point by being asked to smash them together haphazardly? Was there a vocal contingent of fandom that was crying out to learn who would win in a fight between Worf and Wolverine?

Someone pointed out to me that the genesis for this book might find its’ origins the fact that comic fanboys had cast Patrick Stewart as the perfect actor to play The X-Men’s leader, Professor X long before the X-Men movies were financially feasible. His nerd-cred was already quite large for playing Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Captain Jean Luc Picard. Perhaps that fact started the ball rolling toward making this insane idea a reality.. but even so, that premise doesn’t really ring true to me. I think Jon Hamm would make an awesome Captain America, but that doesn’t mean I expect to see a Mad Men/Avengers crossover anytime soon.

I don’t have any clever commentary beyond what I’ve said. I only just found this book; I had originally planned on writing about Archie this week. When I found this monster staring me in the face at the store and I couldn’t help but to share it. I may have to give it a read, if only to confirm Planet X’s place as the craziest find I’ve made in the thrift store up until this point in time. I should mention that Planet X is still in print, if you are so inclined.

odds and ends

Posted in commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

By a wide margin, the best comic I’ve read this year is Smile by Rania Telgemeier. I just love the book to death and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I’ve previously enjoyed Telgemeier’s adaptations of The Babysitters Club for Scholastic, but Smile just stands heads and shoulders above those books. Detailing the author’s teenage years through her struggles with braces, Smile takes that device and runs with it. Each chapter brought a new crimp in Telgemeier’s unfortunate and uncomfortable problems with her teeth and how those literal aches were criss-crossed with the growing pains any young adult feels while making their way through middle and high school.

The cartooning in this book is tight and expressive. Telgemeier does an amazing job of evoking a time and a place while still managing to stay firmly rooted in today, a trick that must have been harder to pull off than she makes it seem here.

I also want to say how UNBELIEVABLY amazing the color in Smile is. Colorist Stephanie Yue knocks it out of the park and this is one of those comics that really underscores how important color can be to a book. The colors are bright but saturated in a way that makes the pages pop from start to finish. As much as I love Telgemeier’s cartooning, Yue OWNS this book and I don’t think I would have enjoyed it half as much as I did without her contribution.

A must read, a must buy, and if you’re looking for a great book to reach out to young readers, look no further.


Speaking of comics, I’m going to a comic book convention this weekend! The Cincinnati Comics Expo is, from what I gather, the first comic convention that the Queen City has seen in awhile. All sorts of guests are going to be at this convention including Michael Uslan (producer of the 1989 Batman movie), Tony Moore (original penciller on the Image Comics series The Walking Dead), a bunch of Golden and Sliver Age superhero artists, and a whole list of other people whose names I don’t recognize but will chalk that up to being behind the times on comic book stuff.

Ellen and I went to the Mid Ohio Comic Con last year and had a fun time, so I’m hoping for more of the same (on a smaller scale). I don’t plan on doing much shopping but hopefully I’ll be able to find some cool/weird comics for cheap. I have the weirdest/stupidest collecting goals right now, including trying to get all of the first 25 issues of Marvel Comics’ ALF comic book, which was a favorite of mine when I was a young ‘un.

2010-2011 school year: day four

Posted in comics with tags , , , , on September 16, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

The first week’s batch of comics has become more interesting to me in the light of some discussions going on in my school on the idea of “toxic culture.” Toxic culture is a hell of a term to throw around, but  after reading on it a little bit, I was pleased to look at these first few strips and see evidence that I’m working to keep the toxicity out of my classroom, even though these were drawn weeks before the topic came up for general discussion in our faculty meetings.

2010-2011 school year: day three

Posted in comics with tags , , on September 15, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

This is a continuation of yesterday’s comic, if you’re late in joining us.

As a big proponent of comics in the classroom, I feel it’s my duty to inform you of Top Shelf Productions Massive $3 Dollar Sale, going on from now until next Friday, the 24th. Top Shelf is one of the comics industry’s premiere publishing houses and purveyors of find comicbookery… and this sale is kind of ridiculous in its expansiveness and generosity.

If you were looking to pad out your classroom’s lending library with some comics, may I suggest Far Arden (Kevin Cannon’s adventure comic that enthralled my classes last year to the point where my classroom’s copy is in tatters) and for the younger readers, Andy Runton’s Owly series. I don’t have any Owly books in my lending library but they’re solid story building entertainment, and Top Shelf is offering the hardcovers for a steal.

Now, neither of my recommendations are from the $3 dollar section, but they’re both significantly marked down and well worth scooping up for your classroom. Just make sure you don’t buy Lost Girls and hand it to a high schooler. You will be fired.

2010-2011 school year: day two

Posted in comics with tags on September 14, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

To give you a bit more information, this is a comic I chose not to run last year, as I made the decision NOT to include likenesses of any of the staff at my high school. I stand by that choice and will likely continue not to draw other teachers, administrators, and so on… but the last panel will end up informing a large part of my year. Given that, I decided it was OK to repurpose this strip for this year’s batch of comics.

2010 school year – day one

Posted in comics with tags , on September 13, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

Hooray, comics!

Don’t forget to vote for me on Limeades for Learning, if you haven’t already.

chalkboard photo post 2010 – #1

Posted in chalkboard drawings on September 12, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

I had to change this year’s chalkboard drawings because my classes changed this year. You’ll read a little bit more about that a little later this week… but suffice to say, I couldn’t use the chalkboard drawings as my AIM anymore. I’m a little sorry for that, as the drawings occasionally informed my lessons.

Instead, I’m just going to be using the drawings to post the day’s date… information the kids need for their headings on most days.

This week, we went with DC superheroes as a theme:

“Hiiii Aquaman” is a reference to an old bot Dave Chappelle used to do about the King of the Seas.

For some reason, I don’t have Wednesday’s Green Lantern, which is probably OK as it was easily the worst of the bunch.

thrift store finds: we love you trudy

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , on September 11, 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.)

One of the cool things about digging around for these old comic paperbacks is that occasionally you run across something that’s completely new to you. I consider myself to be decently versed in comics history but every once and awhile, I find a comic collection and I just know NOTHING about it.

Such was the case a few weeks ago when I found We Love You Trudy by Jerry Marcus.

Printed in 1978, this collection of one-panel gag strips focuses on the trials and tribulations of an average suburban household. Trudy is your basic one panel domestic comic strip: lots of jokes about misbehaving children, misbehaving pets, misbehaving in-laws, that type of thing. It ran from 1963 to the cartoonist’s death in 2005… and yet, I’ve never seen Trudy before I ran across it in our thrift store.

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