Archive for March, 2013

Thrift Store Finds: Paradox Bookstore Finds!

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

Sorry for the interruption in blogging, folks. I spent the last few days in with my family at the Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia. I’ve never spent any time in West Virginia so it was a fun new experience for me. The resort was beautiful, the cottage we rented was spacious and fun, and the days were full of fun activities for my immediate and extended family. We did a lot of swimming, mini-golfing, hiking, and (as with any visit to a new place) used book store trolling! Wheeling is home to the oldest used book store in West Virginia, The Paradox Bookstore. As soon as I read about it, I knew it would be a must-visit.

When we arrived, I knew I had found a great store when I saw this notice posted prominently outside the establishment:

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THAT’S my kind of store!

The aisled were jam-packed with books to the point of toppling; when my wife Ellen knocked over a stack of mysteries, the clerk joked he’d like to send his St. Bernard for a rescue, but the dog had the day off. We carefully navigated the rest of the store and I found quite a few books to take home.

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odds and ends: gem city comic con finds

Posted in odds and ends on March 24, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

Thought I’d share some of my Gem City Comic Con finds from today!

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I go to these shows primarily to dig through the quarter bins and I found about a box worth of reading for the next few months.

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odds and ends: gccc bound

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , on March 22, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

I’m going to drop in on the Gem City Comic Con this weekend!

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Since moving to the Midwest, I’ve enjoyed going to these smaller, regional comic shows. The ones in Southwest Ohio aren’t the cattle calls that San Diego and the NYCC seem to be and the few I’ve attended have done a good job at attracting guests and talent. The GCCC is a show I’ve watched grow by leaps and bounds over the last three years and I’m excited to check out this year’s convention in their new, bigger location.

My main reason for going to conventions these days is to dig through long boxes and find comics to read. My tastes run pretty cheap and I spend the majority of my time combing through the quarter bins, trying to complete my runs of certain comic series and trying to find oddball books I’ve never read before. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, one of my favorite finds from last year’s Gem City Comic Con was this adaptation of the mid 1990’s Saturday morning cartoon Camp Candy, starring John Candy. I don’t imagine you’ll find anyone chomping at the bit to collect Camp Candy, but I was pleased to find such a weird comic book.

There are a couple of dealers at these shows who offer big discounts on their recent stock and I’m going to try and pick up some issues of things I missed in the past year. I’m not a fan of the X-Men usually but the handful of issues I’ve read in Jason Aaron’s run on Wolverine and the X-Men have been really fun. I wouldn’t pay $4 dollars every two weeks for the book, but I’ll scoop up a whole bunch of them for a buck apiece at a con. There, you have a book that’s not going to be hurt too badly sales-wise by my frugality.

The guests at the Gem City Comic Con have been pretty great for such a small convention; I was thrilled last year to get to talk with Mark Waid, one of my favorite superhero comic writers of all time. This year, I’m jazzed about meeting Howard Chaykin. He’s been a creator whose work I’ve followed for the better part of my time as a comics fan. I remember discovering a cache of the first 10 issues of American Flagg! in an antique store back home in the Hudson Valley. Those books looked like nothing I’d ever seen before and I read them to pieces! I’m going to get my nice AF! hardcover signed by the guy, as well as my copy of The 1994 Marvel Holiday Special (which I wrote about in great detail here, if you’re interested). I’m also excited about seeing Stan Sakai; Usagi Yojimbo is an occasional trade-read for me but c’mon! That character’s been around forever! I remember buying the action figure when I was into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid!

Teacher Comics: Lending Library

Posted in 2012-2013 school year with tags , on March 21, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

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Students are allowed to read a book after they are finished with the Ohio Graduation Test, so my book nook did a brisk business over the past week.

I’m enormously proud of my classroom’s lending library. I’ve worked pretty tirelessly over the last five years to create a space full of awesome books for teenage readers, including a sizable section of graphic novels. I scour thrift stores, secondhand shops, and yard sales to either find good books for my classroom, or books I can sell at a profit and use the cash I get for those books to buy better ones for my classroom. Our school’s media center has not received any funding from the state of Ohio for almost TEN YEARS, people. It’s a travesty I try to combat a little with my collection of books.

It’s so rewarding when I have kids who took classes with me three years ago come by and tell me how much they loved a certain novel or book they would have never been in contact with if it hadn’t been because of a resource I created.

Teacher Comics: You take the test, you pass the test

Posted in 2012-2013 school year with tags , , , on March 20, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

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My favorite moment of the entire week. I’ve never seen anyone so excited to know what second person point of view was in my life!

Teacher Comics: Geez

Posted in 2012-2013 school year with tags , , , on March 19, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

TeachComic72I hope this doesn’t come off as complaining as schools have been given a really bad hand here when it comes to administering this test. As far as I’m concerned, my school does a damn fine job of figuring out to give this test to hundreds of sophomores while still attending the needs of the rest of our student body.

If I were to play pretend I was the guy in charge, here’s what I would do: I would stagger these tests so that there wasn’t a five exam marathon pileup in the middle of March. That’s not good for anybody. I’d give each exam its own day, maybe one exam every other week for… 10 weeks, let’s say. March through April. That would give students space enough to prepare a bit. Schedule those testing days on a Friday and give all the students NOT taking this test the day off. Get them out of the building and allow administration and proctors to focus on the task at hand. The students taking the test would get a half-day; when they’re done with the test, they can go home.

Even in writing this I know why it wouldn’t work… bussing would be expensive, the scheduling of days off and half days would put a strain on budgets, grading the exams takes time, and a dozen other reasons that have nothing to do with giving students the optimum opportunities to do well on these exams.

Oh well, what do I know. I’m just a teacher with ten years of experience…

Teacher Comics: Oh Gee Tee

Posted in 2012-2013 school year with tags , , , on March 18, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

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“This week” is code for “last week,” which is when the majority of these comics were drawn. They were drawn, in fact, DURING the OGT testing time, for which I was a proctor along with another teacher. Two teachers, 17 students and ABSOLUTELY NO use of electronic devices equalled a lot of productivity for me, sketchbook wise!

Thrift Store Finds: Vintage Mickey’s Christmas Carol glass tumbler

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , on March 16, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

An unseasonable Thrift Store Find this week.

In a lot of ways, my favorite book is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Equal parts a time travel story, a horror story, and a holiday tale, A Christmas Carol might have been written and published by Dickens for purely economic reasons but I still love it unreservedly. Further, I love all the hundreds of iterations of A Christmas Carol there are in the world just as much. Hundreds of adaptations on stage and screen have secured their takes on Ebenezer Scrooge and the Christmas ghosts… everyone from Mr. Magoo to Alex P. Keaton.

Of those adaptations, I’ve got a special place in my heart for Mickey’s Christmas Carol, a 1983 adaptation of Dickens’ work starring the large stable of Disney cartoon characters. Originally produced as a theatrical cartoon short paired with The Rescuers, I grew up with Mickey’s Christmas Carol as a mainstay of my holiday special binge-watching.

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This glass tumbler was produced by Coca-Cola in 1982 as a promotional giveaway.

 

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Teacher Comics: JL Gods

Posted in 2012-2013 school year with tags , , , , on March 14, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

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Comics based around the lesson I described yesterday.

odds and ends: morrison’s JLA and the Greek pantheon

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

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In our ramp up to The Odyssey, I do a lesson based around Grant Morrison’s run on JLA. Morrison famously drew on Greek archetypes to craft his ultimate version of the Justice League of America. After a quick discussion about the Greek pantheon, I pair students up, give each pairing a copy of JLA and ask them to flip through the comics and find as many parallels between superheroes and Greek gods as they can. After 15 minutes, they present their findings to the class on the document camera.

Some of the pairings are quite obvious – Superman as a stand-in for Zeus orWonder Woman as Hera, for example. Some are a bit more sophisticated. As you can see above, Morrison used second-string superheroes like Plastic Man

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and Steel

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to great effect as proxys for and Dionysus and Hephaestus.

The best part about this lesson is when students go off book and bring up other examples of superheroes who display Greek ideals… or talk about how American superheroes embody American ideals. More on that tomorrow.