Zombie Tales Volume One

October 30, 2007 at 10:25 pm (Comics and Graphic Novels, zombie news) (, , , , , )

Boom! Studios has published Zombie Tales, Volume One, a comics-anthology of short zombie stories, featuring the best of the best from Boom Studios past zombie story books Zombie Tales #1, Zombie Tales: Oblivion, and Zombie Tales: The Dead.

Cory Doctorow from Boing Boing reviewed this anthology on August 23, 2007:

“…[I]t’s a fine showcase for the genre, exploring the zombie myth from every angle. From the religious — “For Pete’s Sake,” about the Mother Church’s connection to zombiism — to the comic — “Four out of Five,” which explains the connection between oral hygiene and zombie outbreaks, Zombie Tales runs the gamut. Every story in here is good, and some are GREAT, like John Rogers’s “Daddy Smells Different,” and they’re mostly in the vein of the best of the Twilight Zone stories, punchy little tales with surprising twist endings, and like the Twilight Zone, the anthology’s strength is its breadth. Zombie Tales’ artists and writers work in a variety of styles, and the net effect is a kind of tour of the afterlife and all that it means to us.”

I can’t wait to check this out, since I haven’t had the honor of reading any of the comics included in this anthology. If you still aren’t convinced, take a look at the detailed review of and commentary on specific stories provided by Zombos Closet of Horror.

To get your hands on your own copy of Zombie Tales Volume One, click here.

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Intro to the 5 Part Series: Comparing 4 Graphic Novels and 2 Webcomics Zombie Style

October 10, 2007 at 11:10 pm (Comics and Graphic Novels, Intro, lesson plan) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Part 1 of 5: Comparing 4 Graphic Novels and 2 Webcomics Zombie Style

Preview and Objectives:

Part 1 will act as a warm-up for the next 4 in the “Comparing 4 Graphic Novels and 2 Webcomics Zombie Style” series. Learners will explore draw and caption cartoons depicting clichés, and then depicting a non-cliché. After a day to reflect, there will be a discussion on the decision making process used for this exercise.

Class Time Needed:

  • 1-50 Minute Class Session

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

Preview and Objectives:

Part 2 of the “Comparing 4 Graphic Novels and 2 Webcomics Zombie Style” series begins with a reflective discussion on Part 1’s “Silent Gag Cartoon Exercise”. In groups, the learners will be introduced to the Reading Material for this Series, ultimately completing a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting 2 of the reading materials.

Class Time Needed:

  • 1-50 Minute Class Session
  • Venn Diagram to be completed as Homework

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

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 ReadWriteThink.org. Lastly, students will create zombie minicomics.

Class Time Needed:

  • 2 to 3-50 Minute Class Sessions

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

Preview and Objectives:

Students will reflect on and discuss the process of creating the minicomics in Part 3 or this series. Students will be introduced to additional website resources on the theme of zombies. Students will be introduced to the program, Comic Life, which will be used to create zombie comics consisting of at least 8 panels.

The issue of copyright will be discussed and stressed within the context of using Comic Life to capture pictures from the internet for use in their comics. Specifically, Professor Eric Faden’s Video, “A Fair(y) Use Tale” will be used to further demonstrate the issue of copyright and fair use.

Class Time Needed:

  • 3 to 4-50 Minute Class Sessions

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

Preview and Objectives:

Students will discuss the process of creating zombie comics by using Comic Life. The issue of copyright will be further discussed, specifically focusing on works in the public domain versus works protected under a Creative Commons license. Students will view/listen to the two Videocasts (see above) created by myself.

The first videocast will introduce the Creative Commons-Attribution- NonCommercial-No Derivatives license, as well as the zombie novel Monster Island by David Wellington, which was published online under this particular CC license.

The second videocast is a reading of Chapter 2 from Wellington’s Monster Island.

To explore the connection between audio media listeners and presenters, students will consider their own personal connections and the connections that others make with audio media, and specifically with the archetypal example of audio media that made a strong impact upon others– Orson Welles’ broadcast of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds in October 1938.

Based on this exploration of the power of audio media, as well as upon the students’ experiences from Parts 1-4 in this series, students will be given time to explore a wealth of materials with the objective in mind of planning for and then creating a group podcast (or videocast for any students wanting an extra challenge) relating to the theme of zombies.

In sum, students will

  • listen to (and read) an audio broadcast.
  • explore the historical and cultural context of an audio broadcast.
  • establish criteria for effective audio storytelling and dramatizations.
  • compose a dramatization relating to the theme of zombies.

Class Time Needed:

  • 10-50 Minute Class Sessionss

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

October 7, 2007 at 2:15 pm (Comics and Graphic Novels, lesson plan, videocast) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Videocast 1: Introduction

[blip.tv ?posts_id=422551&dest=-1]

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Videocast 2:
Reading Aloud,Chapter 2, Monster Island by David Wellington

[blip.tv ?posts_id=422639&dest=-1]

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Preview and Objectives:

Students will discuss the process of creating zombie comics by using Comic Life. The issue of copyright will be further discussed, specifically focusing on works in the public domain versus works protected under a Creative Commons license. Students will view/listen to the two Videocasts (see above) created by myself.

The first videocast will introduce the Creative Commons-Attribution- NonCommercial-No Derivatives license, as well as the zombie novel Monster Island by David Wellington, which was published online under this particular CC license.

The second videocast is a reading of Chapter 2 from Wellington’s Monster Island.

To explore the connection between audio media listeners and presenters, students will consider their own personal connections and the connections that others make with audio media, and specifically with the archetypal example of audio media that made a strong impact upon others– Orson Welles’ broadcast of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds in October 1938.

Based on this exploration of the power of audio media, as well as upon the students’ experiences from Parts 1-4 in this series, students will be given time to explore a wealth of materials with the objective in mind of planning for and then creating a group podcast (or videocast for any students wanting an extra challenge) relating to the theme of zombies.

In sum, students will

  • listen to (and read) an audio broadcast.
  • explore the historical and cultural context of an audio broadcast.
  • establish criteria for effective audio storytelling and dramatizations.
  • compose a dramatization relating to the theme of zombies.

Class Time Needed:

  • 10-50 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 5 of 5

(Closely Adapted from the Audio Broadcasts and Podcasts: Oral Storytelling and Dramatization from Readwritethink.org)

Session One

Discussion of Comic Life Zombie Comic: Suggested Questions:

1. What was the most challenging thing that you experienced while creating your digital comic?

  • Why was this?

2. Did you enjoy anything in particular about the process of creating your comic with Comic Life?

3. What mood or tone did you try to set?

  • Why did you choose this mood or tone?
  • How did you go about establishing this mood or tone?

4. Would you do anything differently?

  • Why or why not?

5. Would anyone like to share his/her comic with the class?

War of the Worlds (public domain)War of the Worlds (public domain)War of the Worlds (public domain)War of the Worlds (public domain)War of the Worlds (public domain)

Further Explorations: Welles’ War of the Worlds Broadcast

1. Ask students to brainstorm a list of the qualities that make a any story come alive. (Record the list.) Focus on the following questions:

  • What makes a story entertaining?
  • What makes characters in a story strong and interesting?
  • How does a conflict or problem influence whether a story is vivid and interesting?
  • What are the important qualities of the resolution to the conflict?
  • What makes a setting appropriate?
  • How is the underlying code of behavior best communicated in a story?
  • What are ways to connect to the history of a place or people that make work well in a story?

2. With the students, create a working checklist of the criteria for a vivid story, based on the responses to the above questions. (Record the checklist)

3. Review the checklist and, with students, phrase the criteria in yes/no questions.

4. Hand out copies of the article “War of the Worlds”: Behind the 1938 Radio Show Panic by Stefan Lovgen (Nationalgeographic.com) to introduce Orson Welles’ broadcast of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds in October 1938. Welles’ broadcast provides a great example of the power of radio (and podcasts in our day) to stir the imaginations of listeners.

On the power of radio (and podcasts), present this quote by Lou Orfanella (“Radio: The Intimate Medium.” English Journal 87.1 [January 1998]: 53–55):

“Radio has the power to individualize its presentation within the mind of each and every listener. There is an intimacy and shared vision that it creates.” … [Orson Welles] “accidentally terrorized many Americans, young and old, with [his] updated Halloween-night version of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds—proving the power of radio in a remarkable way” (Bianculli 39 in Orfanella).

5. Students may already be familiar with the story and events of that production. Ask them to share any information they know about the famous broadcast.

6. Share additional general background information from the Web sites listed in the H. G. Welles’ War of the Worlds Resources from the list of Student Resources for Part 5 of 5: Comparing 4 Graphic Novels and 2 Webcomics Zombie Style.

7. Working in small groups, have students explore the Web resources included in the War of the Worlds Travelogue.

8. After students have spent time researching the sites, gather the class and ask volunteers to share their findings. Draw connections to the class checklist for a good story.

9. For homework, ask students to read The War of the Worlds Broadcast Script.

10. If you have not already done so, type the class checklist for a good story before the next session, and make copies for each student.

Session Two

1. Pass out copies of typed checklist for a good story to students.

2. Ask students to share any immediate responses to the Broadcast Script assigned as homework, leading discussion to connections from the information students read on the Web sites during the previous session.

3. Have students compare the characteristics of the Broadcast Script to the class checklist for a good story, taking notes on the observations made.

4. Access one of the audio recordings of the Mercury Theatre production of War of the Worlds (Real Audio or MP3), and listen to all or part of the recording in class (depending upon the time available for the session).

5. As they listen, students can follow along in the Broadcast Script, have students take notes on any features of the recording that surprise or interest them.

6. For homework, have students take notes on the characteristics of the Broadcast Script versus the Real Audio or MP3 recording (script versus audio). Students should also take notes on how the audio version compares to the class checklist for a good story.

Session Three

1. Have students share their homework comparisons of the script and audio recording of Welles’ broadcast of The War of the Worlds, drawing discussion to connections with the class checklist for a good story.

2. After students have shared their immediate responses, have them review the class checklist for a good story and ask them to consider how the list would change if the checklist were focused on the qualities that make the audio recording of a story or an oral story vivid. (Record responses and adjust the class checklist as necessary.)

3. Explain that students will complete audio dramatizations of short stories they will write that relate in some way to the theme of zombies, much as the Mercury Theatre created a dramatization of H. G. Welles’ The War of the Worlds. Further add that the audio dramatizations will be published to the internet as podcasts. Explain the option for choosing to integrate video, where the end product will be a Videocast.

4. Pass out the Audio Dramatization Rubric, and compare students’ checklist with the requirements for the project.

5. Outline (and if desired, demonstrate) the technical equipment that students have available to them as they work on this project (e.g., Audacity, Photo Story 3, etc.)

6. Answer any questions that students have about the project or the rubric.

7. Introduce the Videocasts 1 and 2 (above), relating to copyright issues and David Wellington’s zombie novel, Monster Island. Also provide the link to the text.

8. Arrange small groups for remaining sessions.

9. Have students listen/watch the Videocasts while in their groups. After listening to Chapter 2 of Wellington’s Monster Island, students should consider whether the text meets the criteria for a good story (based on the checklist) and/or whether the recording meets the criteria for a good oral story.

10. Allow students the rest of the class session to begin exploring the Student Resources for Part 5 of 5: Comparing 4 Graphic Novels and 2 Webcomics Zombie Style.

11. For Homework, provide copies of (or the link to) “Podcasting Power for the People” from NewsHour with Jim Lehrer to provide some basic background. Also for homework, provide a copy or link to the Developing a Story Plan Handout for each person to come up with some initial ideas for the group’s zombie story.

Session Four

1. Present an overview of the process that students will complete over the course of the zombie podcast/videocast project:

 

Preproduction

  • Plan the story
  • Identify key scenes and characters
  • Compose script
  • Choose any sound effects (For optional Videocasts: choose images-Use Comic Life, Photostory, etc.)
  • Practice the script

Production

  • Set up equipment (including anything needed for sound effects)
  • Record the segment in short segments using Audacity
  • For optional Videocasts: prepare the video using Comic Life or another graphic program and Photo Story 3.
  • If working online, save often!

Post-production

  • Edit the audio as necessary
  • For optional Videocasts: edit the graphics and then, using Photo Story 3, create a Photo Story of the images.
  • If working online, add any additional music or sound effects
  • Review the completed recording
  • For optional Videocasts: use Eyespot to merge the Photo Story with the audio recording.
  • Publish the final piece online as a podcast or videocast through blip.tv, and provide a link of the rss feed to your teacher by email.

2. In groups, have students discuss each person’s completed Developing a Story Plan Handout. Provide each student with a clean copy of this handout for additional planning of their group’s zombie story to work on for the remainder of class time. Direct students to the Zombie Resources section of the Student Resources for Part 5 of 5: Comparing 4 Graphic Novels and 2 Webcomics Zombie Style.

3. To encourage students to complete a good working draft of their group’s zombie story in a timely manner, let students know that they must have it finished by the midpoint of the next session.

4. For homework, provide each student with a copy of the Story Elements Web Handout for use as a model for creating their own web based upon the group’s progress so far on the zombie story, and for use during the next class section’s goal of finishing a good working draft by the midpoint of the session.

Session Five

1. Begin the session with students grouping up and comparing the story elements webs they completed for homework. Remind students that their good working drafts are to be completed by the midpoint of this class session, and allow the groups time to work until that time.

2. Ask students to refer back to the Audio Dramatization Rubric provided in Session Three (provide copies to anyone that might not have this handout anymore). Ask students to consider the characteristics of a good story and the rubric for the project. Remind students that the two lists of criteria should shape their zombie stories.

3. As a class, look closely at a short excerpt from the Broadcast Script of the Mercury Theatre production of War of the Worlds.

4. Ask students to identify the kinds of details that appear in the text, using the following questions to guide the discussion:

  • What details in the script communicate the settings for the story?
  • How can you tell what emotions the characters feel?
  • How do you know what is happening in the story?

5. Throughout this discussion, stress that the only way to tell what is going on in a well-written play is by what is heard. Characters communicate emotions through such features as tone of voice, word choice, and pace of conversation–they rarely simply explain their emotions.

6. Have students identify a sample passage from the War of the Worlds script that demonstrates how emotions are communicated.

7. Ask students to identify how techniques other than words communicate information in the War of the Worlds broadcast. Encourage them to choose specific features from the text to demonstrate such techniques as sound effects and background sounds.

8. As students begin talking about adding background sounds and music, talk about the copyright restrictions on such files, which is especially important if students are sharing podcasts/videocasts online. Explain that the best option is to choose podsafe music. LearningInHand.com explains that “Podsafe music is the term for music that can be legally used in a podcast and freely distributed online for others to download.” Have students refer to LearningInHand.com for links to the following websites for podcast safe music:

  • The Free Sound Project
  • SoundSnap
  • Flash Kit – Sound FX
  • Podcast Bumper Music
  • fOUR bEES Free Media
  • Podsafe Audio
  • Common Content: Catalog

9. Have students explore LearningInHand.com, directing them to pay particular attention to the podcast safe music options.

10. For homework, have students make copies of their group’s good working draft of the zombie story if possible. Students should reflect on the issue of emotion in their story. Reflecting on this session’s discussion of techniques other than words communicate information, students should spend at least half an hour free-writing on any ideas that they have on this topic. Minimum requirement: 50 words.

Session Six

1. Explain that students will finalize and record their scripts during the next four sessions.

2. Ask students to return to the process of writing their zombie stories, modeled on the techniques in the War of the Worlds broadcast and script. Remind them to keep in mind the discussion of how information is communicated to listeners in an audio broadcast, as well as to use the ideas from their free-writing homework assignment.

3. As students work, circulate through the classroom, providing support and feedback. Encourage students to try out short excerpts from their script for you.

4. Ask students to come to the next session ready to begin production of their dramatizations.

Sessions Seven to Nine

1. Remind students that they will be recording their scripts during the next three sessions.

2. Remind students of any technical details regarding the equipment that is available for their productions.

3. Encourage students to record in small segments and, if working online, save often. Re-recording a short segment if something goes wrong is much easier than it is to have to rerecord the entire production. Working in small pieces allows students to save their work often (so that they avoid losing any data is there is a technical problem).

4. Discuss any options for editing the recorded audio files (e.g., how to splice smaller segments together, how to add background music if working online). For those working on videocasts, provide assistance as needed.

5. Answer any questions and allow students to work freely on their dramatizations during these periods.

6. Provide support and feedback during the session. If students run into any challenges that cannot be easily resolved, explain that they can modify the script as necessary.

7. At the end of the last session, students should have a broadcast that is ready to share with the rest of the class. Have students upload their projects onto blip.tv, and share a link to their rss feed by email to you.

Session Ten

1. Set up the technical equipment necessary for students to share their productions (e.g., computers, iPod and speakers, computers).

2. Give groups a few minutes to make any last minute preparations.

3. Ask individuals or groups to describe their production briefly as an introduction.

4. Play the related recording. Encourage audience response.

5. Rotate through the class until all broadcasts have been played.

6. Ask students to return to the class checklist and assess the work of other groups—which stories were particularly vivid and compelling? why were they vivid and memorable?

7. As a final activity, ask student to write a reflection focusing on one or more of the following questions:

  • What was the most interesting thing about your dramatization of the script, and why?
  • Choose the podcast/videocast of another group and reflect on what made that story particularly vivid.
  • If you were to do this project all over again, what would you do differently and why? Imagine that you have whatever technical equipment you need to complete your task.

Cover of Monster Island by David Wellington

Link to: David Wellington’s Website

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

September 29, 2007 at 5:19 pm (Comics and Graphic Novels, lesson plan) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

“A Fair(y) Use Tale,” created by Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University

From the Stanford Law School Blog: “Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University created this humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms.”

From Boing Boing: “A Fair(y) Use Tale” cuts together thousands of extremely short clips from dozens of Disney cartoons, lifting indivudal (sic) words and short phrases to spell out an articulate, funny, and thoroughly educational lesson on how copyright works. This is the most subversive and hilarious use of Disney material I’ve ever seen — and there’s even a really smart chapter about why Faden used Disney material to make his film.”

Watch “A Fair(y) Use Tale” at YouTube

Preview and Objectives:

Students will reflect on and discuss the process of creating the minicomics in Part 3 or this series. Students will be introduced to additional website resources on the theme of zombies. Students will be introduced to the program, Comic Life, which will be used to create zombie comics consisting of at least 8 panels.

The issue of copyright will be discussed and stressed within the context of using Comic Life to capture pictures from the internet for use in their comics. Specifically, Professor Eric Faden’s Video, “A Fair(y) Use Tale” will be used to further demonstrate the issue of copyright and fair use.

Class Time Needed:

  • 3 to 4-50 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 4 of 5:

A. Discussion of Minicomics: Suggested Questions:

1. What was the most challenging thing that you experienced while creating your minicomic?

  • Why was this?

2. Did you enjoy anything in particular about the process of creating your minicomic?

3. What mood or tone did you try to set?

  • Why did you choose this mood or tone?
  • How did you go about establishing this mood or tone?

4. Would you do anything differently?

  • Why or why not?

5. Would anyone like to share his/her minicomic with the class?

B. Further Explorations:

1. Have the students explore The Zombie Survival Guide official website, including the links, for 15 minutes.

2 . Have the students explore the Survival Planning Section of the Zombie Survival and Defense Wiki for 10 minutes.

C. Learning About Copyright & Using Comic Life to Create a Zombie Comic:

1. Introduce ComicLife by having the students view the digital comic “Reagan’s and Clinton’s Policies,” which is an iMovie of the comic that was created by an 11th grader for an AP History project.

2. Give each student a copy of the Comic_Life_Tutorial_by_Leslie_Stark.pdf handout and direct students to bookmark the ComicLife Links provided by the Arlington Heights School District 25 website.

3. Explain to the students that the next project will be to create a digital zombie comic by using ComicLife. Go through the “Comic Life in the Lab and Classroom” handout with the students.

4. Demonstrate how to drag and drop images from the internet into ComicLife. Introduce the importance of locating pictures from the internet without infringing on copyright law.

5. Direct students to bookmark this link to internet sites that provide free images and media resources, some of which are in the public domain.

6. In addition, watch the “A Fair(y) Use Tale” (see top of page) at YouTube. Discuss any comments or questions the students may have regarding fair use.

7. Provide 30 minutes for students to explore ComicLife features and to ask questions as they arise.

8. Provide an additional 20 minutes for students to explore websites providing media in the public domain and/or for free, directing them to review information on gaining permission to use images and to complete the Permission and Documentation worksheet for any images they may wish to save to create their zombie comic.

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

10. Invite the students to explore the Reading Materials for this series for ideas and inspiration.

11. Working individually, students will create a comic strip comprised of no less than 8 panels. 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.
  • Images can be created by the students by using ComicLife and/or other graphics software.
  • Images may also be from the internet once permission is granted, if necessary.

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    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 ReadWriteThink.org. 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 ReadWriteThink.org. (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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    Part 2 of 5: Comparing 4 Graphic Novels and 2 Webcomics Zombie Style

    September 25, 2007 at 10:59 am (Comics and Graphic Novels, lesson plan) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

    SappyMooseTree’s Flickr Zombie Sock Monkey

    Link to: Sappymoosetree’s Flickr Photos

    Preview and Objectives:

    Part 2 of the “Comparing 4 Graphic Novels and 2 Webcomics Zombie Style” series begins with a reflective discussion on Part 1’s “Silent Gag Cartoon Exercise”. In groups, the learners will be introduced to the Reading Material for this Series, ultimately completing a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting 2 of the reading materials.

    Class Time Needed:

    • 1-50 Minute Class Session
    • Venn Diagram to be completed as Homework

    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

    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 12: Applying Language Skills

    The Reading Material for this Series:

    PART 2 of 5:

    A. Discussion: Suggested Questions:

    1. What was the most challenging thing that you experienced during the Silent Gag Cartoon Exercise? Why was this?

    2. What didn’t work well? Why do you think you had complications?

    3. Did you enjoy drawing or creating captions better? Why?

    4. Did you enjoy working with the clichés or with the more original ideas?

    5. What surprised you?

    6. Did you tend to be more serious or humorous in your approach?

    B. Exploration of the Reading Material:

    1. In groups of 3, each person will be assigned 2 graphic novels as follows:

    a. Person 1: The Walking Dead (example of a more serious tone) and Kristy vs. the Zombie Army (Online Comic) (example of a more humorous tone)

    b. Person 2: Zombee (example of a more serious tone) and Rotting in Dirtville (example of a more humorous tone)

    c. Person 3: Zombie Tide (Online Comic) (example of a more serious tone) and The Goon: Nothin’ but Misery (example of a more humorous tone)

    2. Hand out (1) a copy of the Venn Diagram for use in comparing the 2 graphic novels/webcomics and (2) a copy of criteria to keep in mind while reviewing these stores. The Venn Diagram will be completed as homework. Criteria to keep in mind as the stories are read include*:

    Exposition

    • Does the writer capture the reader’s attention?
      • Does the artist capture the reader’s attention?
    • Is the writer’s theme or message clear to the reader?
      • Is the artist’s theme or message clear to the reader?
    • Does the writer describe a setting that creates an appropriate mood for the story?
      • Does the artist present a setting that creates an appropriate mood for the story?

    Rising Action & Climax

    • Does the story build in intensity as it progresses toward the climax?
      • Do the graphics add to this?
    • Is the writer’s theme or message carried throughout the manuscript?
      • Could the same be said of the artist?
    • Is the writer’s theme or message developed/supported with vivid details?
      • Could the same be said of the artist?

    Style

    • Use of creative language
      • Does the writer use creative language that adds meaning to the work?
        • Or does the language seem to interfere with the writer’s ability to communicate?
      • Does the writer use fresh, new language rather than clichés and other trite expressions?
      • Does the writer make his/her point clearly and concisely?
    • Does the style of the writing and graphics fit the content?
    • Does the point of view selected by the writer fit the content?

    Syntax, Usage & Mechanics

    • Sentence structure
      • Is the sentence structure varied?
      • How does the language flow from one panel to the next?
      • How does the sentence structure add to or detract from the mood for the story?

    3. Each person will:

    1. Take some more time at home to read the two graphic novels/webcomics and complete the Venn Diagram.
    2. Minimum Requirements: 5 contrasting features for Story #1, 5 contrasting features for Story #2, and 5 similarities
    3. BONUS: Create your own Venn Diagram using Excel or another spreadsheet program (for help, consult http://www.internet4classrooms.com/excel_venn.htm.) Save your file to a USB drive or email it to your instructor.

    Venn Diagram

    (Thumbnail to the Venn Diagram Printout. For full-size version, click here.)

    Criteria for Evaluating Graphic Novels and Webcomics

    (Thumbnail to the Criteria for evaluating graphic novels and webcomics. For full-size version, click here.)

    *The criteria used for evaluating the graphic novels/webcomics is adapted from the Writing Tutor website.

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    Part 1 of 5: Comparing 4 Graphic Novels and 2 Webcomics Zombie Style

    September 24, 2007 at 11:00 am (Comics and Graphic Novels, lesson plan) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

    Dave Prosper Flickr Image

    Link to: Dave Prosper’s Flickr Photos

    Preview and Objectives:

    Part 1 will act as a warm-up for the next 4 in the “Comparing 4 Graphic Novels and 2 Webcomics Zombie Style” series. Learners will explore draw and caption cartoons depicting clichés, and then depicting a non-cliché. After a day to reflect, there will be a discussion on the decision making process used for this exercise.

    Class Time Needed:

    • 1-50 Minute Class Session

    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

    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 12: Applying Language Skills

    The Reading Material for this Series:

    1. The Walking Dead: Volume 1: Days Gone By, by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore
    2. Zombee, by Miles Gunter and Victor Santos
    3. Rotting in Dirtville, by James Callahan
    4. The Goon: Nothin’ but Misery, by Eric Powell
    5. Kristy vs. the Zombie Army (Online Comic), by David Tekiela (aka Kidnemo)
    6. Zombie Tide (Online Comic), by Alfred Truhillo

    PART 1 of 5:

    Warming Up

    To get the creative juices lubricated, let’s begin with a “Silent Gag Cartoon Exercise” (inspired by NACAE’s Teaching Resources / Satisfies National Standards for Arts Education: 1,2,3,5)

    1. Working in a group of 4, each person receives a different scenario that is pretty clichéd.

    2. In 10 minutes, each person draws a cartoon based on the scenario. No caption will be added, but the cartoon should be drawn as if a caption already existed. One character should have an open mouth as if s/he is saying something. Alternatively, a sign within the scene could be left blank for a caption to be added.

    3. When the 10 minutes is up, each person passes his/her cartoon to the classmate to the right. That student must write 5 possible captions for the scenario in 5 minutes.

    4. Next, each person will draw another captionless cartoon in 10 minutes. The cartoon can be of anything, but this time the goal is to try not to make it a cliché. Again, draw the cartton as if a caption already existed. Again, one character should have an open mouth as if s/he is saying something or a sign within the scene could be left blank for a caption to be added.

    5. When the 10 minutes is up, each person passes his/her cartoon to the classmate to the right. That student must write 5 possible captions for the scenario in 5 minutes.

    6. Each person will receives another one of the cliché captions.

    7. In 5 minutes, each person will imagine a cartoon to match the cliché caption. However, this time, instead of drawing the cartoon, draw the caption!

    8. Pass the caption to the right for this person to draw a cartoon for the caption in 10 minutes.

    9. Discussion: Part 2 of the “Comparing 4 Graphic Novels and 2 Webcomics Zombie Style” serieswill begin with a discussion about the Silent Gag Class Exercise.

    CLICHÉ SCENARIOS PROVIDED BY THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COMICS ART EDUCATION (NACAE):

    • A man with a cast in a hospital bed, with a visitor by his side. Caption: either one
    • A business meeting at a long desk, with a man at the head pointing to a graph chart going down. Caption: man at graph chart
    • A couple sitting across from a marriage counselor at his/her desk. Caption: marriage counselor
    • Over shoulder view of someone looking at a dialogue box on his or her computer. Caption: dialogue box.
    • A backyard barbeque, with a man at the grill. There are huge flames coming from the barbeque grill. Two women stand watching. Caption: one of the two women.
    • Martians coming out of their flying saucer in the middle of a cow pasture. One of the Martians is saying something to a cow. Caption: Martian
    • A patient sitting in the doctor�s office with their tongue sticking out. The doctor is examining it. Caption: doctor.
    • A ragged, thirsty man crawling in the empty desert stopped at a sign. Caption: sign.
    • Construction workers watching a young woman walk by. Caption: one of the construction workers to another
    • A bachelor�s party, with a stripper coming out of a large cake. Caption: one of the bachelors to another (maybe groom?)
    • Elopers. A young man at the top of a ladder to the girl�s bedroom window, with the girl looking out the window to him. Caption: girl.
    • A kid on Santa�s lap in a mall or department store. Caption: kid
    • A couple in a flooded cellar. Water is pouring from a pipe. The woman is yelling at the man. Caption: woman
    • Two cavemen standing in front of a stone wheel. One of them has hammer and chisel, as if he had just finished making it. Caption: either caveman.
    • Two women walking down a city street with many shopping bags. Caption: one woman to the other.
    • A person sitting on a subway sitting next to a bare chested man with a tattoo. Caption: tattoo
    • A father handing his teenage son car keys. They are standing next to the car. Caption: father.

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    Let’s Get Started: Intro to When Zombies Attack

    September 21, 2007 at 7:20 pm (Intro) (, , , , , , , )

    SilverLisa Avatar

    In 2003, Max Brooks (son of director Mel Brooks) published a book entitled The Zombie Survival Guide. This work of fiction is written as a survival manual for the average person to use in the face of an outbreak of zombies.

    The official website to The Zombie Survival Guide provides a nice introduction to the book.

    This blog, inspired by The Zombie Survival Guide, will provide learning experiences for young adults in high school or undergrad school by using the subgenre of zombie horror fiction. While the learning experiences I will present could be used by students/learners independently, for consistence, I will write my blog entries under the assumption that a teacher or other learning facilitator is the primary audience for When Zombies Attack.

    To get things started, introduce The Zombie Survival Guide, by clicking here to have your learners watch this clip of Max Brooks speaking at Westminster College (6 minutes, 13 seconds).

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