Slice of Life: Of Gutters, Frames, Bubbles and Comics


(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

Yesterday was the first of three days of parent-teacher conferences. I probably should write about that. But I’m not. Instead, during some down times during the day, I created a few webcomics about Slice of Life (as I am apt to do, if you know me at all), as part of a way to have fun with the idea of slicing your day into reflections and in part as a way to encourage others in my various writing communities to get writing!

These two characters are recurring dudes in my comics about various writing projects that I am engaged in (they began in a series called The Tweets and continue as a sort of ego/id stand-in for my brain)

And so …
Slice of Life Muse Comic

Slice of Life Quilt Comic

Slice of Life topic comic

Peace (in the comics),

All I Got Was This Lousy Comic

A lot of folks are over at Educon, but not me. (again). I tinkered around with Chad Sansing’s Virtual Toy Hack page (which he is using at Educon, I believe — NOTE: Chad is NOT there. Too bad for all them, I say) and created this version of the “all I got was a T shirt” meme. Maybe next year ..
I didn't go to Educon
Peace (in the hack),

Book Review: Super Graphic

This is a book that my older boys were fighting over to read when I took it out of the box, and then I had trouble getting it back from them to read myself. Visual artist Tim Leong, from Wired, has put together a fascinating look at the Comic Book Universes (in all their brands and trajectories and offshoots) in a series of infographics that will blow you away with the detail, humor and design. As an example of how to represent information in a graphical format, Super Graphic is an exemplar text.

It really is one of those books you have to read to get full enjoyment out of.  (Even the credits are done in infographic mode as are the reviews of the reviews of the book. You get the sense that Leong lives in an infographic world.

Not everything in here is child-friendly, just as in comics, but there are enough cool infographics that you could pull out (well, photocopy, in color) to share as how to hone your interest in a topic and share out your knowledge in interesting ways. Super Graphic is a wonderful ode to comics and visual design.

No wonder my kids were fighting over it. Super Dad always wins, though!

Peace (in the panels)



Comic Review: Unearthed Comic

Tell me that comic didn’t give you a chuckle? Of course it did. Sara Zimmerman‘s science-based funnies are hilarious and her collection of comics is available in her latest volume, Unearthed Comics: Unearthing Science. Zimmerman brings a lot of wit and wisdom, and science, to her comics and that makes the classroom a perfect place for a collection like this, although you might want to scan the content first. I wouldn’t say there is anything over-the-top but that might depend on your own values.

Like anything, read it yourself first to determine appropriateness for your students. Plus, that way, you get the chuckles before they do.

I downloaded her collection into my iPad and every now and then, I open it up in the Kindle app, read a few pages, and get back to work with a smile on my face. If that isn’t the role of a good comic strip, I don’t know what is. Sara’s comic is worth your time, and she shares out her strips at her website and in an email newsletter format (and via Twitter). I am now going to get her first collection of comics ….

Peace (in the frame),

When Teachers Make Comics

comic teachers
I brought a group of teachers at a recent Professional Development session into Bitstrips to show them what a comic space looks like and to work around the idea of digital identity and avatar creation. Yeah, lots of laughter and giggling, and then thoughtful reflections at the end. That’s how PD should work, right?

Peace (in the frames),


Remixing the Sunday Comics

Sunday comix remix

Over at the Make/Hack/Play, we are encouraged to Make in physical space. I returned to an idea from the summer and worked to remix the Sunday Comics. This is trickier than at first blush because creating a connected narrative from very different comics, writers, characters and story lines is hard.

Here, you have to read each comic with two frames of mind: the comic itself and the story within that small framed narrative AND the larger lens of how might part of this storyline or picture take part in a larger story to be remixed. And you don’t often know what that story will be until you have read all the comics in the section (unless you get lucky and find something neat right away in the first few comics you read). Once you have the larger narrative, you have to figure out which pieces will fit to tell the story, which — to be honest — will always be a bit jagged, due to the mix of art and narratives.

But that’s remixing for ya.

For this Sunday Comic Remix, I centered on a frame from Dilbert about an accusation of using Google Glass in a meeting without permission, which led to an almost dream-like sequence of embarrassment moments, and then there is an apology, followed by a meta-comic from from Doonsbury with a final combustible ending.

I wish the quality of the photo were better (sorry!) but I took it on the iPad. The frame and writing was added in Flickr with the Aviary suite of tools.

Peace (in the comic hack),


Comic Review: Math, Science and Unix Underpants$(KGrHqIOKioE3FYNJ40UBNy7JEViC!~~_35.JPG

It will be no surprise to readers here that I love comics, particularly comics that treat teaching, learning and writing as fodder for fun. This collection from the comic strip Foxtrot — entitled Math, Science and Unix Underpants — had me laughing up a storm through the house, even in places where the jokes were a little too geeky even for me. If you don’t read Foxtrot, by Bill Amend, the stories center on the family that includes a younger brother who is whiz at math and science and technology. He’s the kid who looks forward to that difficult math test and who hacks the family computer (the iFruit) on a regular basis.

There is no connected story theme to this collection, other than plenty of guffaws around science experiments gone awry, math problems as inspiration for mayhem, and computer nerdiness galore. The comics here stretch back years, so there are some outdated jokes about outdated technology. I didn’t mind.  For me, it was enough to be laughing out loud. I am actually going to photocopy a bunch of these gems for my classroom.

You can even find this collection on Google Books now. How cool and nerdy is that?

Peace (in the frames),