CultureWatch: Jon Scieszka, the USA National Ambassador of Young People's Literature writes in the LA Times, extolling the quality and success of modern comic books.
"Just looking at pictures" used to be considered cheating. No longer. The graphic novel is booming. Comics, heavily illustrated texts, books with no words are now accepted as reading. The ambassador approves. Graphic storytelling is a great way to help kids get started reading. It's also a powerful artistic form in its own right.
Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman have started publishing high-quality comics for kids at Toon Books. "Jack and the Box" by Spiegelman, "Little Mouse Gets Ready" by Jeff Smith (see also: his amazing "Bone" series) and "Stinky" by Eleanor Davis are inspiring kids to become savvy visual readers.
First Second Books has also pushed kids' literature into wonderful new graphic territory with everything from funny early readers like "Sardine in Outer Space," written by Emmanuel Guibert and illustrated by Joann Sfar, to the graphic novel/photo journal of war-torn Afghanistan, "The Photographer" (photographs by Didier Lefèvre, written and drawn by Guibert).
Shaun Tan's wordless book "The Arrival" will take you places you've never been. David Small's graphic memoir "Stitches" is one of the best books I read all year.
FootballWatch: Kemp Carr, football coach for Penns Grove High School has named his players after Marvel characters. NJ.com reports that;
From team leader Corey Ransome as Captain America to DaRon Mills' Iron Man to Jay Brown's Flash, the Red Devils rallied for a 14-12 win that shocked the South Jersey football world.
LocalWatch: Vince Thompson talks to his local Tribune paper about writing the Vinny & Bud graphic novel. He will be signing copies at Coles book store in Welland's Seaway Mall tomorrow from 12 till 6.
Later, he drew comic strips that were seen by some tattoo artists at Niagara Falls' Heads Tattoo Shop, who taught him to give his drawings more shade and dimension, and bring life to his characters. Thompson garnered a "cult following" after some young customers of the business began to take interest in his work. Armed with an appreciation of design and ideas, he took inspiration from the retro popular culture of 30 years ago to earn a wide fan base.