Comics!

Comics and comic book characters have always been popular with many but have more recently broken into the mainstream in a huge way. Because of the recent rise in popularity, many kids (and "kids at heart") are taking up an interest in comic books.

The Ann Arbor District Library has fantastic Graphic Novel collections in youth, teen, and the adult sections of all 5 library branches and also offer lots of neat programming involving comics, how to create them, and info about those who do.

Tomorrow, May 7th, 2001, is Free Comic Book Day. Free Comic Book Day - the first Saturday in May each year - when participating comic book shops around the world give away comic books to anyone who comes into their stores. Check out local comic book store, Vault of Midnight, and see what you can find!

And for those busy tomorrow that can't get out to Free Comic Book Day, check out this event in June: Kids Read Comics hosted at the The Chelsea District Library and throughout the downtown business district in June.

"Kids Read Comics Convention is a totally free event that unites kids, teens, parents, teachers and librarians with professional artists and writers from the comics and animation fields. Our goal is to introduce kids to worlds of imagination while unlocking their creative impulses, and to serve that goal, the convention features:

* hands-on workshops
* panels and presentations for kids, families, and educators
* a chance for kids to meet and chat with comics and animation professionals
* the opportunity for kids to have their own art portfolios reviewed"

Comic Artists Forum in May

Ozone Jones colorOzone Jones color

Sunday, May 1 | 1:00-3:00 PM | Downtown Multipurpose Room | Grade 6- Adult

Guest artist Michelangelo Cicerone creator of Ozone Jones will show you the secrets to drawing just about any cartoon or comic book character at this character design workshop. Learn how to create a personality for your character, too. No special skills required - just your imagination!

There will also be time for you to mingle with fellow cartoonists to talk about ideas for your next comics or graphic novel creation. Drawing tools and paper will be provided. Drop by for some learning, sharing and drawing.

Comic Artists Forum with Denver Brubaker

Checkered ManCheckered Man

Sunday, April 3 -- 1:00-3:00 PM -- Downtown -- 4th Floor Meeting Room

Celebrate the first birthday of the Tales of a Checkered Man web comic. Creator Denver Brubaker will talk about what’s happened with the comic and his website since it’s launch April 6, 2010.

Yes, there will be plenty of time to interact with your fellow cartoonists to get fresh ideas for your next comics or graphic novel creation. Drawing supplies will be provided, so drop in for learning, sharing, and drawing.

Graphic Artist Matt Dembicki Discusses "Trickster: Native American Tales"

"Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection" is an amazing collection of more than 20 Native American tales cleverly adapted into comic form. Each story is written by a different Native American storyteller who worked closely with a selected illustrator, a combination that gives each tale a unique and powerful voice and look. Ranging from serious and dramatic to funny and sometimes fiendish, these tales bring tricksters back into popular culture in a very vivid form.

This unique collection of Indian lore was conceived and edited by cartoonist Matt Dembicki, the founder of DC Conspiracy, a comic creators' collaborative in Washington, DC. Matt will be here to discuss this work, the Indian lore which inspired it, and what it takes to create a graphic novel.

Monday, March 14, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm --- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Kids Read Comics Extravaganza

KRC ExtravaganzaKRC Extravaganza

Meet some of the most super cartoonists in the Southeast Michigan area at the Ann Arbor Art Center and work with them to make some comics and manga of your own! SEE a gallery exhibition of cartoons and comics pages by cartoonists from Michigan and beyond! LISTEN as some of Michigan's brightest cartoonists lead presentations on how to make comics! WATCH comics being created live on site! PARTICIPATE in fun and interactive storytelling and drawing events with local cartoonists! Whether you're a kid or an adult, if you've ever wondered about making your own comics stories, this free event will have something for you!

Saturday, March 12 --- 10:00 am to 8:00 pm --- Ann Arbor Art Center, 117 West Liberty St.

March Comic Artists Forum

Chicken GirlChicken Girl

Join us for the upcoming Comic Artists Forum. Guest artist Jannie Ho will discuss how she got the inspiration for her comic story, If you lived here, from her experiences of living in Ann Arbor and her participation in the Sketch Book Project. She will also discuss the similarities and differences between creating a comic book and a picture book. There will be a live demo of her drawing her chicken characters!

Afterwards take time to chat and share your work with fellow cartoonists or draw while listening to other cartoonists as they discuss techniques. Basic drawing supplies will be available.

Comic Artists Forum | Sunday, March 6 | 1:00-3:00 PM | Downtown | Grade 6 – Adult

Author Birthdays: Grey, Oe, Morrison

January 31st marks the birthday of authors Zane Grey, Kenzaburo Oe, and Grant Morrison.

Zane Grey was an American author who wrote primarily westerns; his most famous was probably Riders of the Purple Sage. Many of his books were turned into movies, including Fighting Caravans (starring Gary Cooper) and The Thundering Herd (with Harry Carey).

Grey's westerns also include Betty Zane, which was inspired by his great-great-grandmother of the same name and was his first novel, and The Great Trek: A Frontier Story, which was inspired by Grey's deep-sea fishing trip to Australia in 1935.

Kenzaburo Oe is a Japanese writer and Noble Prize winner. His first novel was Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids, which Booklist called a "bleaker and more pessimistic" Lord of the Flies.

Oe's books are almost all influential. A Personal Matter is a semi-autobiographical story that touches on the subject of his son's brain hernia; also semi-autobiographical is The Changeling, which includes a fictionalization of the suicide of Oe's brother-in-law.

Grant Morrison is a Scottish comic writer and adult graphic novelist. He has done quite a few issues of Batman and Robin graphic novels, as well as many other superhero works with DC Comics.

Morrison's other works include the graphic novel series WE3, which is about three household pets turned deadly cyborgs, and Sebastian O, the steampunk story of an alternate Victorian London and the assassin Sebastian.

It's Go Time!

by hatdow, Flickr.comby hatdow, Flickr.com
Time to play the ancient strategy game, that is! Saturday February 5, 2011 from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm at Traverwood Branch, Michael Zhang of the University of Michigan Go Club and his super-crew will offer an introduction to Go -- at the same time the simplest and the most complex game of strategy on Earth.

As Iwamoto Kaoru -- a 9-dan professional Go player -- said "Go uses the most elemental materials and concepts -- line and circle, wood and stone, black and white -- combining them with simple rules to generate subtle strategies and complex tactics that stagger the imagination." Need I say more?

If you're interested in learning more about Go before coming to play it with us, check out Go by Charles Matthews, Go Basics by Peter Shotwell, or, perhaps the most entertaining introduction, Hikaru no Go -- a manga series about a young teen haunted by the ghost of a Go master.

Comic Artists Forum: Paint with Your Computer

Jared SledJared Sled

Meet in the 3rd floor Computer Training Center for guest artist Jerzy Drozd’s presentation, “Paint with Your Computer”. In this hands-on session, you’ll learn how to digitally prep your black and white illustrations for publishing and discover some easy tips for using Adobe Photoshop Elements to add a splash of color! Jerzy will demonstrate some basic image editing techniques followed by an exploration of some of the handy coloring techniques used in professional comic book coloring. Materials will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own artwork to be scanned and used during the session.

For those of you who also want to spend some time drawing and sharing with fellow cartoonists, tables will be set up next door in the AADL Free Space room.

Comic Artists Forum | Sunday, February 6 | 1-3 PM | Downtown-3rd Floor Computer Training Center | Grade 6-Adult

The horror! The horror!

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, gory horror comics had their day. Horror comic lines such as Weird Fantasy, Tales from the Crypt, DC’s House of Mystery and Marvel’s Strange Tales were among some of the many jaw-droppingly graphic tales of ghouls, vampires, cannibals and creeps. Some also contained more “adult” themes, as well as obligatory scantily-clad women. However, in 1953, the United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency was formed, and horror comics were targeted as a main contributor to increasingly bad behaviors in juveniles. This led to congressional hearings, and ultimately, censorship in the comic book world.

Well, horror is back in The Horror! The Horror!: Comic Books the Government Didn’t Want You to Read! Edited and with commentary by Jim Trombetta, the book contains full color scans of these gems from this golden age, as well as a bonus DVD of a 1955 special about the “evils” of horror comics. Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s is another new anthology to check out. Containing extensive notes, and reproductions keeping with original formats, editors Benson and Sadowski have hand-picked the best and the essential. Also included are 32 full-page classic cover reproductions. Wow! What I really like about these classic comics is that you just won't see anything quite like them anymore – they are truly a relic of their time. I love the old artwork and the stories range from the genuinely creepy to downright silly (example: killer cactus on rampage). Happy reading, and stay scared.

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