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Going Graphic with the News

Enough of caped crusaders, crazed criminals and post-apocalyptic kooks! Despite talk of graphic novels as a maturing, alternative art form, most of the genre is still dedicated to elementary entertainment...but that is changing fast. The educational power of comics is still largely untapped, although some are now using it to tell tales of history, science, and culture. But how about using the medium to teach about today's headlines and real world action we see on the nightly news?

We did. Our story: how we created an alter ego, The Plaid Avenger, for a real life college professor, then crowd-sourced and social-networked the financial/academic support (via Kickstarter, Facebook, Twitter, et al) to create a graphic novel on the current real-life Mexican drug cartel war. With an innovative twist: the digital version has integrated video lessons and updated news feeds to continue the learning in perpetuity! It's an entirely novel way to present the news…a graphic novel way, that is.

Additional Supporting Materials

Questions Answered

  1. Can graphic novels and comics be successfully employed to teach readers about current events and real crime issues that affect them in real life?
  2. How can a mild-mannered college professor create an alter ego and become a digital educational superhero?
  3. What specific social-networking and crowd-sourcing technologies and techniques can be employed to help create and produce a graphic novel?
  4. What is the future of real interactivity (video, sound, linkages) in graphic novels?
  5. How can graphic novels be used for adult education?

Speakers

Organizer

John Boyer Virginia Tech


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