Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Graphic Novel Course

Registration is now officially open for the Graphic Novel course I’m teaching at the Newberry Library this summer, every Thursday evening from June 10 until July 15.

What this course is going to offer is the building blocks of the graphic novel—what they are, what they mean, and where they come from. We’ll also delve into the history of the comic book medium itself (yes, comics are a medium, not a genre) and trace the path that led from the early years of the golden age to the superhero-dominated era of the silver age, and how different methods of storytelling grew from there.

To facilitate this experience, we’ll read a wide variety of works, chosen to demonstrate the wide range of styles, genres, and themes the medium explores. There are some seminal titles—like Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Will Eisner’s Contract with God—alongside some more contemporary works—such as Joe Kelly’s I Kill Giants. Students will also read Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, a perfect text to help understanding how comics function, the nuts and bolts of how words and images work on a page. *

The course is designed for anyone interested in comics and graphic novels but doesn’t know where or how to dive in. I’ve been a comic book reader since, well, as far back as I can remember. So as a longtime fan—and now creator—I hope to show how this medium works and unlock its mysteries: What makes Watchmen so important? How does Peter Parker see out of that Spider-Man mask?

*I also recommend picking up Douglas Wolk’s Understanding Comics (a more critical text) as well as Chris Ryall and Scott Tiption’s Comic Books 101 (a comprehensive look at the entire industry and history).

Monday, April 19, 2010

C2E2 Wrap

So that’s it, the very first C2E2 is in the bag—done, over, no going back now. With the smoke beginning to clear, I feel that it’s worth mentioning what a tremendous con C2E2 was. In fact, it didn’t take long for me to realize that this weekend was something special; as I was leaving the con on Sunday afternoon, I was very much aware that it was a significant occasion. My hats off to the people behind C2E2—Larry, Kim, Lance, and everyone involved did an amazing job.

As for me, I’m really happy with the way things went. I’ll be candid: I’m someone who puts a lot (a lot) of pressure on my work and myself. I always want to continue to grow, to push myself, to constantly learn and do better. So for me do anything with high expectations and come out feeling good is a pretty big deal.

I feel like word is really beginning to spread on Quarantined, and all the hard work Monty, Lauren, Jim, and I have been putting in is really starting to show in terms of people noticing the passion behind the book. I caught up with friends and met a lot of terrific, generous, and talented people this weekend—all these things added up to remind me why I love what I do.

Also, in case anyone missed it, I wrote a few dispatches on C2E2 for Wired. One is a preview piece; the other is my take on the new Iron Man motion comic. I was also interviewed in the Graphic Novel Reporter, but was so busy preparing for C2E2 that I didn't have time to dedicate a post.

Next up: Free Comic Book Day. More details on that later. Until then, enjoy the brand-new edition to my toy collection, thanks to my friend, Pistolaser: a Tauntaun!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

C2E2! Appearances!

How's that for excitement? Those who know me know that I'm not exactly an exclamation point kind of guy, so it must be big for me to use them.

Well, this is big. C2E2 is going to melt faces and cause an explosion so big we'll all soon be existing in some kind of flash-sideways universe (it's been awhile since I've referenced LOST, so let me have that one). Anyway, I'm going to be making some appearances at the show, thanks to generous friends of mine. And (here's the exciting part) I'll have a brand-spanking new issue one preview copy with me--with cover art from Keith Burns!

That's right, you can get issue one of Quarantined with a special, C2E2 edition cover.

Heh...I just called the book Quarantined, didn't I? With a D at the end there? Yeah, we had to change the title of the book. It's not a long story, but it's not an especially exciting one either. Suffice to say, this is what the book will be known as henceforth.

Now, on to my schedule of appearances, where you can see me and when:

Nerd City, Friday, from 230-330 (booth 865)
Third Coast Comics, Saturday, from 1200-100 (booth 1018)
Chicago Comics, Saturday, from 600-700 (booth 725)

So stop by, say hi, pick up your copy. We'll talk, have a few laughs, all that friendly stuff. Just don't tell me how sick you are of zombie books (which did happen to me). I get it, zombie stuff is everywhere--but it wasn't when I started writing this book, so there.

I'll also be around the Reading With Pictures booth on Sunday, perhaps signing there are well--I'll have details on that soon. In fact, I'll have another post on C2E2 soon where I'll (hopefully) debut the ridiculously awesome Quarantined cover art. So watch out for that later this week.