Posts Tagged ‘Teaching’

“Graphic Novel to Film” class update

April 1, 2009

I posted here about the “Graphic Novel to Film” class I’m teaching at Gettysburg College and what we’d be covering. Well, the students have picked their subjects for their final presentations (the selection field was broadened to include all comics). Here they are in no particular order:

Tank Girl

From Hell


X-men: X2

The Tick (both animated and live-action TV shows)

Men In Black (film, perhaps animated TV show)

Devil’s Backbone/ Paracuellos

Captain America (awful 90s movie, awful 70’s TV show, maybe old serials)


Lone Wolf and Cub

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

The Mask (film, perhaps animated TV show)


Daredevil (film, perhaps guest starring role in Hulk TV movie)

Faculty show

January 21, 2009

I’ll be in the Visual Arts Department Faculty Exhibition at Gettysburg College that’ll run from January 22 to March 6. I’ll be showing originals of Bo Nanas, Jack N. Box, Great Scott and Me, Myself and my Puppet .

If you’re tramping around southern central Pennsylvania this week, the reception will be Thursday, January 22, 5-7 pm and there will be an artist’s talk Friday, January 23 at noon. (I believe snacks will be at both.)


My new class – “Graphic Novel to Film”

January 19, 2009

My new class at Gettysburg College started on Friday. I mentioned this class when I posted about why I was not going to review Frank Miller’s film version of The Spirit. Here’s a list of what we’re going to be looking at:

(Even though “graphic novel” has become it’s own genre in the public’s mind, I’m expanding the definition for the class to be “work done under one creator”. Let’s face it, a graphic novel is just a long comic.)

The Spirit (2008 flop and 1987 TV movie)
Sin City
American Splendor
Ghost World
The Rockteer
V for Vendetta
(live action film “Asterix and Obelix vs Caesar” and animated feature)
(by Osamu Tezuka)
Road to Perdition
History of Violence

And for the mid-term paper:
Tales from the Crypt
(the HBO TV series)

Comics go to the movies – The Spirit VS my new class

January 7, 2009

And the winner is…my new class.

Let me explain.

I went to see cartoonist-turned-director Frank Miller’s film version of Will Eisner‘s classic 40’s character “The Spirit” on the day it opened – December 25th. And I could tell you what I thought…but I’m not going to. See, I’m teaching a new class next semester called “Graphic Novel to Film” and we’ll be studying The Spirit. And it doesn’t seem right for me to be tossing around my opinion if, by some slim chance, one of my future students should read this.

It’s a pretty interesting combination though: one cartoonist interpreting another cartoonist’s creation and able to do it in his own visual style because of the advances of digital film making.

First, the original:

Then Miller’s drawn interpretation:

(Here’s an interesting piece about the poster campaign that came after the one above. It’s an audio “slideshow” with the art director.)

…then Miller’s version translated to a real live human:

BONUS: Did you know there was a 1987 Spirit TV movie? It starred Sam Jones, who was also Flash Gordon in the cheesy 1980 film version. (Wow. That’s one very blue suit.)


Journey to the center of my sketchbook – Nude! Nude! Nude!

December 10, 2008


So, it was the last pose of the last session of figure drawing for the Intro to Drawing class I’m teaching at Gettysburg College, and I decided to “practice what I preach” by doing a quickie gesture drawing. Granted, it’s not in a realistic style, but the same principles apply. (And his feet really did resemble tacos.)

SPX and X-students

October 14, 2008

One of the extra added bonuses of being at SPX was seeing former cartooning students. I knew a few of my  recent students would be there but I also ending up running into one of my older former students, Ira Marcks. We chatted and exchanged books and it was really terrific. To sound like a completely softie, it warms my heart to reconnect with my former students. When I introduced Ira to one of my more recent former students, Serge Ragno, he said, “Hello, Second Generation.” (I’ve been teaching off and on for -gasp!- 15 years at Gettysburg College and before that at the Rochester Institute of Technology.) Most of the x-students I’m in contact with took both  of my cartooning classes (“Intro to” and “Sequential Art”) and a couple did independent study with me.

Below are links to their recent work. (I’ll take credit for all the great stuff they’ve done.)

Cody Constable

John Golden

Ira Marcks

Sergio Ragno

Sara Parysz

The Three Universal Truths about Cartoonists (and some personal examples)

October 1, 2008

Sure, you should never make all-encompassing statements about any group of people…unless you are part of that group of people. In my experience I have found that there are Three Universal Truths about Cartoonists. Here they are, with illustrations from my life.


#1 Cartoonists are forgetful

Cartoonists forget everything – names, deadlines, pants, etc. Months ago, I invited my friend, the ever-youthful Canadian cartoonist John Martz, to share my table at SPX this coming up weekend. It was only recently that I saw the table layout and realized that I had only signed up for half of a table. Which means Johnny and I will only have about 2 feet of real estate each. (Cozy.)


#2 Cartoonists are friendly

I’ve been lucky enough to meet a bunch of cartoonists over the years, from the famous to the unknown, and they’re all pretty friendly. I’m definitely at the “unknown” end of the scale and if you stop at table W16A (I mean, half-table W16A) at SPX, I will be nice to you. I promise. I might even have something free to give you. (Pretty nice, huh?)


Last Spring I was teaching my Sequential Art course at Gettysburg College, which includes a long-term project. The students get to write and draw an original story, working on it step-by-step and continually refining it throughout the semester. My students were doing a really great job. Their stories were all over the place from slice-of-life to Japanese mythology to a noir mystery featuring a rabbit detective. About two weeks before the end of the semester I came up with the idea of of printing up all of the stories and giving them away at a book signing in the college union on the last day of classes, just before the start of finals. This gave us a tight deadline – only two days from when their projects were due till the big day. My students were a bit skeptical but once they started signing and giving out their work, they got into it. It was a great success. Two hundred copies went faster than we though they would. My department chair loved the idea and how it legitimized teaching cartooning. The president came by for a copy. (Well, she just happened to be walking by and I grabbed her.) The library asked for two copies for their permanent collection. All in all, it couldn’t have gone better. I was so happy and proud.

Recently while talking with one of my former students, she mentioned that on the back of the book I had spelled “narratives” with an “i” where the second “a” should be.

#3 Cartoonists are crappy spellers.