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The Patron Saint of Superheroes

Chris Gavaler Explores the Multiverse of Comics, Pop Culture, and Politics

It’s strange teaching a class from your own textbook. Leigh Ann and I are co-teaching the fourth iteration of our ENGL-ARTS 215 right now. The first year we divided the course into creative halves, with students writing scripts first and then executing them second. Second year we reconceived an image-first approach (draw first, letting characters and stories emerge), while culling student art for illustrations as we simultaneously drafted the book. Third year we taught from Creating Comics for the first time, following our own lessons chapter-by-chapter. We’re using it again this year, but with adjustments: like assigning the last chapter first (because it helps to get an overview of all the creative options, not just image-first).

We also tweaked our “Using Photoshoots” exercise:

It’s still a good exercise, but instead of a producing a comic strip, partnered students made whole pages, combining photos of themselves with photos of tiny plastic toys. The new additions nudged the best results yet (and from only the third day of class!):

Moving “Exercise 4.4: Value Variations” to day two helped a lot too.

Week three begins today.

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