Part 3 of 5: Comparing 4 Graphic Novels and 2 Webcomics Zombie Style

September 26, 2007 at 12:26 am (Comics and Graphic Novels, lesson plan) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Frogmuseum2’s The Cubes (corporate zombies)

Link to: Frogmuseum2’s Flickr Photos

Preview and Objectives:

Students will reflect on the process of comparing and contrasting 2 of the Reading Materials for this series and the process of comparing the Venn Diagram. Students will explore more of the Reading Materials for this Series, and participate in a discussion comparing and contrasting these materials using the same criteria utilized in creating the Venn Diagrams in Part 2 of this series.

Students will then be introduced to the Comic Creator Student Interactive developed by Lastly, students will create zombie minicomics.

Class Time Needed:

  • 2 to 3-50 Minute Class Sessions

National Standards for Arts Education Addressed:

  • Content Standard: 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
  • Content Standard 2: Using knowledge of structures and functions
  • Content Standard 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
  • Content Standard 5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others
  • Content Standard 6: Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

National Standards for English Addressed:

  • Content Standard 1: Reading for Perspective
  • Content Standard 2: Reading for Understanding
  • Content Standard 3: Evaluation Strategies
  • Content Standard 4: Communication Skills
  • Content Standard 5: Communication Strategies
  • Content Standard 6: Applying Knowledge
  • Content Standard 8: Developing Research Skills
  • Content Standard 12: Applying Language Skills

The Reading Material for this Series:

PART 3 of 5

A. Discussion of Venn Diagrams: Suggested Questions:

1. What was the most challenging thing that you experienced while creating your Venn Diagram? Why was this?

2. Did you enjoy one webcomic/graphic novel more than the other? Why?

3. Did anything surprise you?

4. What are the names of different comics you know? Please briefly describe them.

B. Further Explorations:

1. Within each original group of students, have each person trade one of their webcomics/graphic novels to explore for 15-20 minutes.

2. Next, trade again within the group and explore that story for 15-20 minutes.

3. Within each groups, students should discuss what is similar and different among the webcomics/graphic novels. Questions to discuss could include:

  • How is dialogue presented?
  • What are the characters doing? How is that shown?
  • What is the shape of the comic frames/panels? What does that represent, if anything?
  • How is action shown?
  • What happens from one frame/panel to the next?
  • How do the graphics/lettering add or detract from the story?

4. Present the following information to the students:

  • Comics/graphic novels manipulate space on a page to guide the reader and affect the interpretation of the story.
  • Page layout and design can represent different organizational models, especially for storytelling. For example, a page with many frames can represent an ongoing scene with a lot of action. Larger frames with a great deal of detail may be an artist’s attempt to set a forthcoming scene. Even page divisions add a certain element of story organization.
  • Comic/graphic novel “storytellers” are careful not to include too many disjointed scenes on one page; as with a written narrative, such a mixture would make for a confusing and jumbled story.
  • Layout is important when combining images and text, and with comics, students can transfer knowledge of visual organization to verbal and written organizational models.
  • The concept of exploring one idea fully before moving onto the next could be likened to the page-break concept in graphic art.

5. With the new information they have, students should observe the conventions of page design and layout. Then they should analyze professional comics’ use of the conventions.

6. Using an LCD projector, demonstrate the Comic Creator Student Interactive and all of its tools. The students can use their knowledge of comic components and conventions to guide the teacher through a whole-class created comic.

7. Using the Comic Creator on their own, students experiment with the conventions of page design and layout in their own comics.

C. Zombie Survival Quiz/Time for a little sillyness:

1. Have students work individually or in pairs on the quiz that answers the question, “What are your chances of surviving a Zombie Apocalypse?

D. Zombie Minicomics (Closely adapted from Crafting a Minicomics – Exercise from Mac McCool):

1. Introduce this extension activity of creating a hand-made minicomics as a way of providing students a taste of self-publishing and an introduction to book-making. The students will create an 8-panel story. With low-tech instruments (e.g. glue, scissors), students layout their panels in the correct orientation and paging sequence before making copies to share with friends and family.

  • NOTE: In part 4 of this series, students will use high-tech tools (e.g. Photoshop, Comic Life, PowerPoint) to create a comic, as well.

2. Give each student a copy of the Comic Strip Planning Sheet provided by (Instruct the students to disregard the “options” at the bottom of the page.)

3. Provide each student with a copy of the Making the MiniComics tutorial from Crafting a Minicomics – Exercise from Mac McCool.

4. Have students decide whether they want to work individually or in a group of 2-3. If the students opt to group up, each student must still make a minicomic consisting of 8 panels, but the group should strive to create a series of comics that relate to each other in some way (common character(s), common setting, common theme, etc.).

5. Students should plan out their comic using the planning sheet. The storyline should involve zombies to some extent. The tone can be serious or humorous. Consider providing more inspiration by having additional examples of zombie graphic novels and/or web comics available. For example:

Marv the Zombie (webcomic)

ZombieZydeco (webcomic)

6. Provide the following materials:

  • A few sheets of paper for each student (letter size for this demo)
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Staplers
  • Scissors
  • Pencils
  • Old Magazines
  • Glue
  • Construction paper

7. Have students follow the instructions on the tutorial. Remind students to have fun with this project and to not get too hung up on creating beautiful graphics. Students may opt to use pictures from old magazines to supplement their drawing skills if desired.


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