Archive for not teaching comics

not teaching comics: my wife is gorgeous

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 28, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

I thought I’d share some recent artwork featuring my gorgeous wife Ellen. Awhile back, I posted this painting

by Chuck Marshall that featured Ellen, Elliot and I. Chuck’s an artist that Ellen works with pretty regularly at her job managing Gallery 42 Fine Arts here in Mason. Well, a few weeks ago, Chuck decided to paint a picture of Ellen by herself, and I thought I’d share the result with you because… well, because of the title of this post. My wife is gorgeous.

Coincidentally, just last week I commissioned my own piece of Ellen artwork!

Sarah Glidden the cartoonist, most recently of the DC/Vertigo book How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, has been offering to do watercolor portraits over in here Etsy shop. Ellen and I were big fans of Sarah’s last book, so I had to take the opportunity to get a painting. I was planning on waiting until our anniversary this summer to show Ellen, but of course I couldn’t wait.

Anyhow, here’s the takeaway on today’s post: I married up.

lori & nick’s wedding: part two

Posted in comics, lori & nick's wedding with tags , , on June 22, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

These are the second half of the mini-comic I posted here yesterday.

During college, my friends and I were big fans of the 1984 film adaptation of The Outsiders. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, there are some seriously strange edits throughout that movie that made it fun to obsess over.

Lori also had a weird dance she would do whenever we played the Billy Joel song “Pressure”.

I think the first panel is self-explanatory, but the second needs a little clarification. When we were all in college, I was a cartoonist for Fredonia’s newspaper. Nick was a staff reporter for the paper and also contributed a one-panel comic that only occasionally veered into the realm of “making sense”. My impression was always that the comic page editor asked Nick to do something to fill those pages, which were always a little anemic. I knew I had to include a crossover panel in this comic. I am sure there were at least eight people who read this who were thrilled.

…and that’s that. I know this was probably pushing the limits of what people visit here for, as it has very little to do with teaching or my classroom… but I enjoyed drawing this little comic, so I was glad to share it!

not teaching comics: lori & nick dean’s wedding

Posted in comics, lori & nick's wedding with tags , on June 21, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

You’ll all have to wait an extra day to hear more about haikus. The family and I just got back from Western New York, where we went to the wedding of one of my friends from college. I decided to draw them an eight page mini-comic as a wedding present. I thought I’d post ’em up here over today and tomorrow.

They didn’t scan the best, but these comics were really fun to draw. It made me realize I’ve been drawing a LOT of desks and lockers over the past ten months. More tomorrow!

odds & ends: summer movie explosion

Posted in comics, commentary, sketchbook with tags , , , , , , , on June 11, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

The best part about summer vacation when I was a kid were the summer movies. A veritable glut of would-be blockbusters awaited me at the multiplex every weekend and for a good long while there, I went to see EVERYTHING that came out. The good, the bad, and the ugly… I was indifferent to quality so long as it was projected in a dark, air-conditioned theater and I could eat candy out of an oversized box.

I haven’t been very excited about summer movies this year, although I should preface that statement with the admission that having a 2 year old and a 6 month old at home really squashes any quick impulses I’ve had to jump up and go to the movies in the past few years. Going to the movies has gong from being something decided a half hour before the flick starts to a carefully orchestrated military exercise. SO many things have to be in place… we have to get a babysitter, we have to have the extra money, we have to make sure we’re gone RIGHT after Henry’s eaten, but not gone so long that he’s going to get hungry again. All the extra work sort of takes the fun out of it.

It doesn’t help that I’m painfully uninterested in this summer’s crop of would-be hits. I don’t care very much about Iron Man (although I liked the first one), I don’t care about Shrek (although oddly, I really enjoyed the second Shrek movie) and nothing else is really grabbing me. The only two movies that are must sees for me in theaters this summer are Toy Story 3 and on that’s probably on my list and nobody else’s… the Robert Rodriguez-produced sequel to the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Predator, aptly titled Predators.

What’s the point of all this rambling? I was doing some hard drive cleaning a few weeks ago and I stumbled across a couple of summer movie related comics and drawings that I thought I’d post. This first one was drawn in response to a reader asking me what my favorite summer movie ever is:

Again, that comic was tossed off in like an hour, but it was fun to draw. I was nutty for Tim Burton’s Batman movies.

This second one was, I think, a sketchbook page of a comic that I was faaaaaar to young to see when it came out in 1986, but was one of my favorite movies as a teenager:

I think I saw Aliens when it aired as a CBS Movie of the Week when I was in elementary school and it absolutely kicked my butt. The way some kids are about Star Wars, that’s how I was about Ellen Ripley. I bought the Dark Horse comics, I bought the Kenner Aliens toys where they mish-mashed aliens with other animals (Gorilla Alien! Bull Alien! Scorpion Alien!). I think you get a sense of why I’m looking forward to Predators so much now.

When Alien 3 came out in theaters, I can safely say I had never anticipated a movie more never… and have I been more disappointed by one. I was more disappointed by Alien 3 on my first viewing than I was in Star Wars: Episode One… that’s how serious I am.

I think Alien 3 had some stuff going for it, but that the writers and producers SEVERELY under-estimated how attached the majority of the movie-going public was to some of the ancillary characters from the second movie. The emotional connection to the characters fairly collapses the rest of the movie on itself. That’s just my two cents though.

a top ten of random thoughts

Posted in commentary with tags , , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

We’re in finals week here, which means lots of proctoring tests. Since I’m not drawing, I thought I’d take a second and post some random thoughts and links, very few of them teacher related. Proceed with caution.

1. My arm is feeling MUCH better, as is the rest of my doughy, unattractive body. I’m going to give drawing a go tonight and hop to be on track with posting new comics next week. Thanks to all for the kind words, comments, e-mails and the like.

2. I found this interview with writer Kelly O’Rourke on Halloween Fans that may be of interest to some readers here. You may remember her from this Thrift Store Finds entry I did a few weeks ago about the strange YA series based on John Carpenter’s seminal horror masterpiece. She sounds like a cool lady!

3. Also, I found out in that interview (and subsequent searches on eBay) that those Halloween novels go for a ridiculous amount of money on the secondary market. We’re talking like, $50 bucks per book! Of course, that price is contingent on being able to find someone who is willing to spend $50 bucks on a YA Halloween novel… but it sort of cracked me up that two books I found in my thrift store and paid less than a dollar for could potentially net me $100 dollars. I felt like I was on a low rent version of Antiques Roadshow!

4. Similar update: Remember when I wrote about The Superman Story a few weeks back? Well, it turns out that you can read the entire thing FOR FREE if you click over to Google Books here. It’s not the most enjoyable way to experience the book, but the scans are big and clear, and it’s a fun story.

5. Ellen and I finally took a tentative step into the early 2000’s by signing up for Netflix. I used to have a subscription myself, but when the DVDs started piling up for months at a time, it was cut from the budget. We’re enjoying the Watch Instantly feature of our subscription like crazy. In the past few weeks I’ve been taking in a lot of stand up comedy specials that I’ve been meaning to see for a long time… Ellen’s been re-watching TV shows she used to enjoy when she lived in England… and Elliot’s become obsessed with the PBS animated series Arthur.

6. Internet Pal Tyler Stafford just put out a great comic book! Dead Man’s Dream (and Other Stories) can be yours for the low, low price of $3.50. I just received my copy and it’s great. Tyler has this weird, techno-organic style that’s a joy to look at. See some samples and buy the book here.

7. Some other books I’m currently reading: Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live by Tom Shales and J.A. Miller (This is a re-read, honestly… but such an amazing book), The Bachman Books by Stephen King (I’m currently in the middle of The Long Walk), The Tomb of Dracula Omnibus 2 (A $100 hardcover collection of the 1970’s Marvel series… goofy fun), and I am slowly making inroads with The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly. Looking forward to the summer so I can perhaps finish one or two of these.

8. I’m not much of an online video game player, but like most people my age, I’ve become totally enraptured by Super Mario Bros. Crossover, wherein you can play through the original Super Mario Bros. with one of five classic Nintendo heroes including Mega Man, Simon Belmont, Link, Samus from Metroid, and the guy from Contra. If you recognized any of those characters, you would probably enjoy giving this game a looksee.

9. I recently discovered the WordPress feature which allows you to see the terms that people used to find my comic in a search engine and they’re weirdly fascinating to me. Things you’d expect are at the top of the list, terms like romeo and juliet comics, chris pearce comics, and other likely phrases… but then there’s just weird ones. Like, someone found this blog by doing a search for pretty horse pictures. I can only assume they found me because of this She-Ra painting I posted.

10. Oh wow, Disney and BOOM! Studios are doing a Darkwing Duck comic book! I’ve always thought that Disney’s leaving a lot of money on the table when it comes to the animated characters that comprised their Disney Afternoon block of programming in the Nineties. I was 10 years old in 1991 and fairly obsessed with Darkwing Duck, Talespin, and Ducktales, and they finally seem to have decided to cater to my nostalgia. BOOM! has a great track record with licensed characters (their Muppet Show comic book is easily one of the best comic series I’ve read in the past year) so I’m definitely going to give this a try!

not teaching comics: random drawing done in a meeting

Posted in commentary with tags , , , , , on April 23, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

A doodle I drew in a meeting that went late yesterday.

As any obsessive child of the 1980’s remembers, there were TWO Ghostbusters cartoons for us to enjoy. Most (including myself) preferred The Real Ghostbusters, a direct adaptation of the 1984 horror/comedy movie starring Bill Murray… however Filmation (the animation studio responsible for Fat Albert, He-Man, and She-Ra) also produced their version of Ghostbusters.

Filmation was able to do this in a roundabout fashion due to the fact that the name “Ghost Busters” originates from a live action TV series from the 1970’s starring Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch. As this cartoon was an adaptation of that live action show and NOT the movie, Filmation was able to capitalize on the success of Ghostbusters without paying for the rights to make a series out of the movie.

WOW! Confusing!

Anyhow, it was all the same to me and I watched both cartoons. While I preferred The Real Ghostbusters, I also enjoyed Filmation’s version, although it was very clearly done on the cheap. These Ghost Busters had a big gorilla that helped them bust ghosts… so I guess that was cool. Also, Filmation’s Ghostbusters had a pretty great theme song, as did most of Filmation’s properties:

not teaching comics: even more she-ra paintings!

Posted in commentary with tags , , on April 2, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

In the interest of taking something mildly amusing and ramming it into the ground, here are a couple of more She-Ra paint-by-water illustrations, courtesy of my son. Today is pretty horse heavy… so if you’re into horses, Happy Horse Friday.

This is Swift Wind, She-Ra’s magical flying horse… her Battle Cat, if you will. There’s another painting in the book of She-Ra riding a giant goose and I really wanted Elliot to paint that one but he much preferred Swifty here.

I chose Arrow, faithful horse to She-Ra’s only male friend, Bow.

I’ve already painted Bow before and I’ve said pretty much all that can be said about him over here, but I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how painfully goofy he looks, jumping on his mighty steed.

Hey, this is probably a long shot, but I’m trying to locate a paint with water book for The Real Ghostbusters for Elliot. I don’t know that “teaching comics” and “people who collect and save old coloring books” are two interests that converge, but if anyone should happen to have that book lyin’ around, e-mail me!

not teaching comics: adventures in fan publishing

Posted in commentary with tags , , , on March 27, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

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:

Now, onto the letter:

Clearly written by an someone who hasn’t lost all his baby teeth yet, this letter addresses EVERYTHING that an 8 year old ALF fan could possibly want to know about the furry brown muppet.

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

not a day at all!

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

Due to issues with my scanner, there will not be no comics posted today, and unless I can straighten out the problem tonight, likely no comics tomorrow either. I have ’em drawn and ready to go, but no way to get ’em up on the internet!

I’ve prided myself on my “four a week” schedule and honestly, this bums me out a bit. Say what you want about my limited abilities… I’m no great talent, but at least I’m reliable. I suppose I could just look at this unexpected mini-vacation as my “spring break” as we’ve got that coming up in a few days, but as I plan on posting comics during that break, perhaps this is a well-earned respite?

At any rate, apologies about the lack of comic today. Once technology starts cooperating with me, I’ll be back on track!

not (really) teaching comics: odds and ends

Posted in commentary with tags on March 19, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

A couple of odds and ends I wanted to mention to readers here:

Last week’s comic centering on independent reading in my classroom was weirdly popular in that it inspired a lot of debate amongst folks over the question “Who would win in a fight: Godzilla or The Incredible Hulk?” Friend of the comic Brian Pierce posed this question to some real heavy hitters in the comic book industry last weekend. Check it out:

Last weekend at the Emerald City Comic Con I was able to ask Stan Lee (co-creator of The Incredible Hulk) who would win this fight.

Unfortunately, he was no help, saying “It would be whoever The Writer WANTS to have win”. Kinda poetic, but dag-nabbit we need DEFINITIVE ANSWERS!!!

Current Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada said “The Hulk” with no explanation.

Spider-Man and X-Force artist Clayton Crain said “That would take A LOT of green.”

Detective Comics writer Greg Rucka asked “Why would they fight?”

Actor Thomas Jane (The Punisher) said “There are a lot of people here who could answer that better than me”

Angus Oblong (creator of Adult Swim’s “The Oblongs”) said “No”.

At that point I gave up. I think Stan’s answer was the best 🙂

Frankly, I wanted to give Brian some very public props as the very fact that a question that one of my students posed (even if it wasn’t English learning related, as such) was asked to Stan the Man… well, it simply knocked that young man right out of his socks. Students are always interested in hearing from or about creators; quite a few were similarly impressed when I e-mailed cartoonist Kevin Cannon about how much they liked his book Far Arden and got a reply. Thanks Brian.


As a teacher who draws and writes a comic himself, I am so excited for Bill Ayers comic adaptation of To Teach: The Journal of a Teacher. Ayers is a polarizing figure, I am well aware… but speaking as a comics guy, I am so excited to see my profession looked at through this lens. Embedded here is a brief clip of the process of adapting To Teach and some interviews with the teachers spotlighted. The book goes on sale May 1st.


I wanted to mention 3-D Monster quickly as it’s a great blog full of the kind of stuff I love: monsters, comics, toys, and artwork. Dan, the guy who runs the site, gave the comic a nice shout-out yesterday and I just wanted to say thanks! Dan, I’m with ya buddy… those Hot Wheels Batman toys are too darn expensive. I’ve been thinking about picking up a couple for my boys, but at $9 bucks a pop, they can just do what I did when I was a kid and pretend that their black Hot Wheels are, in fact, the Batmobile.


Kyle Starks’ amazing Guinea Pig Theater is something you should all check out. You should also keep reading for Mr. Starks’ ridiculously cool The ABCs of Mediocre Marvel Comics Villainy, which I wish Marvel would actually publish.