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.

AADL programs provide inspiration!

If you live hereIf you live here

Jannie Ho who participated in last summer's AADL Comics Fundamentals six-week workshop recently announced on her blog that she has finished her first comics story for the Sketch Book Project. In the epilogue, she thanks Comics Fundamental instructor Jerzy Drozd whose question sparked the idea for her book, If You Lived Here. And now Jannie’s book will tour the country before joining the book collection of The Brooklyn Art Library.

Pretty cool huh? If you want to develop your visual storytelling ideas join the next Comics Fundamentals six-week workshop. It will meet on Wednesdays July 6-August 10 (6:00-8:00 p.m.).

Youth and Teen Magazine Update -- Mars, Manga and the World's Greatest Drummers

by Nadya Pekk, Flickr.comby Nadya Pekk, Flickr.com
Want to jump into January 2011? Try these magazines -- with awesome new issues for the New Year!

For kids:
Ask Magazine: Giant dinosaurs, an island of tiny humans, and the reason giants don't exist.
Muse Magazine: Women Astronauts, Space-Sickness and Martians, oh my!

For teens:
Drum! Magazine: The Ultimate Readers' Choice Awards -- The World's Greatest Drummers!
Otaku USA Magazine: News, reviews and, of course manga! This month Otaku USA features sneak peeks at Lychee Light Club and Street Fighter Gaiden, with reviews of FLCL, Gravitation, Xam'd: Lost Memories.

Read 'em while they're new, people!

Take Part in Art -- Art that Tells a Story

by "T" altered art, Flickr.comby "T" altered art, Flickr.com

People have been using pictures to tell stories since…well, forever! Cave paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and the Bayeux Tapestry are all ancestors of modern picture books and graphic novels. To explore the relationship between art and storytelling, you could always come visit the Youth Art Table downtown, or enjoy our abundant and awesome resources at home.

Some excellent artists – modern and historical – have focused on using art to tell stories. To learn more about these artists try reading:
Brueghel: A Gift for Telling Stories – about the life of Dutch artist Pieter Brueghel.
En mi Familia and Family Pictures by Mexican-American artist Carmen Lomas Garza.
Pretty much anything about Norman Rockwell.

To explore how artists tell stories using pictures, try these books.
Telling Stories in Art by Joy Richardson provides examples readers can use to create their own story in art!
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud describes how graphic novelists use pictures to tell their stories, and Drawing Words and Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel guides readers in creating their own graphic novels!
Read a wordless picture book to see how amazing a story without words can be.

If you have children ages 4-7, you can also attend one of the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s Storytime in the Museum programs starting January 8. University of Michigan students read stories related to the art on display at the museum to bring art to life!

Finally, to see how art can tell different stories to different people try Twice Told -- a collection of short stories based on paintings. The twist? Each painting inspires two stories by different authors. See how different stories based on the same picture can be! What story would you tell?

Comic Artists Forum: Make a Mini-Comic with Matt Feazell

Matt Feazell 2Matt Feazell 2

At the next Forum create your own 8-page mini-comic with the guidance of freelance cartoonist Matt Feazell. His comics and spot illustrations have appeared in Disney Adventures and Nickleodeon Magazine and his regular weekly series, The Amazing Cynicalman runs every week in the Hamtramck Review newspaper. He's currently writing and directing a live-action Cynicalman movie.

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, January 9 | 1:00-3:00 PM | Downtown Library | Grades 6-Adult

Author Birthdays: Pohl, Schulz, Robinson

November 26th marks the birthday of authors Frederik Pohl, Charles Schulz, and Marilynne Robinson.

Frederik Pohl is a 90-year-old American science fiction writer and National Book Award, Hugo Award, and Nebula Award winner. His book Jem won the National Book Award in 1980, Man Plus and Gateway both won the Nebula Award in 1976 and 1977 respectively, and Gateway also won the Hugo Award in 1978.

Pohl has written 7 series and at least 30 other novels, over 20 collections, as well as an autobiography and some non-fiction works. One of the stand-alone novels is The Coming of the Quantum Cats, which includes Nancy Reagan as President of the United States and an escapee Stalin who found his refuge in America. His latest work, the finishing of a novel started by Arthur C. Clarke, is called The Last Theorem.

Charles Schulz was an American cartoonist, best known for the comic strip and cartoon Peanuts and its characters, though his first cartoon was actually one called Li'l Folks. His honors are probably a bit more prestigious than most authors': the Congressional Gold Medal, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and even being the Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade.

Schulz has one "autobiography", and had many biographies written about him, including Sparky: The Life And Art Of Charles Schulz and Schulz And Peanuts: A Biography.

Marilynne Robinson is a five-time award-winning American writer. Housekeeping won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award; Gilead won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Ambassador Book Award; and Home, a companion to Gilead, won the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Robinson's newest book is a non-fiction work entitled Absence Of Mind: The Dispelling Of Inwardness From The Modern Myth Of The Self. The book consists of lectures given at Yale University about science, religion, and consciousness.

Comic Artists Forum features Star Wars artist Katie Cook

Katie CookKatie Cook

The Forum moves Downtown in December. Join us in the Multipurpose Room for a presentation by Katie Cook who does licensed work for Star Wars products, webcomics for The Clone Wars, The Lord of the Rings, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Heroes and Fraggle Rock. She’s also the creator of the webcomic Gronk: A Monster’s Story.

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, December 5 | 1:00-3:00 PM | Downtown | Grade 6 – Adult

Norwegian cartoonist Kim Holm Discusses Comics Publishing in the New Media Century

Kim HolmKim Holm

Join us Monday, November 22 from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm at the Malletts Creek Branch for a fresh view on the debate over the future of copyright during this interactive discussion with Norwegian cartoonist Kim Holm. Does copyright law ensure innovation and personal creativity, or does it steal from the public domain? While digital piracy is claimed to be an inevitability by some and a threat to capitalism by others, Kim has embraced the distribution methods used by pirates to broaden his audience. He has explored publishing models that altogether eschew the use of copyright, releasing his work into the public domain as a digital edition while simultaneously selling print editions on his website. During this presentation Kim will raise some provocative counter-arguments to commonly-held beliefs about current copyright law, exploring some of the ways it may be improved, if not discarded altogether.

Comic in a Box: Make an Accordion Mini-Comic

Accordion mini-comicAccordion mini-comic

Make an accordion mini-comic and a box that fits it perfectly. Cartoonists Anne and Jerzy Drozd will guide you through the process of making a "done in one" improvisational short comics story. Learn how to make an Accordion Mini-Comic with a strip of paper folded upon itself; draw your story, and fold it into a comic. Then with provided materials you will create a box for your comic. Voila! You have the perfect gift for friends or family.

Comic in a Box | Saturday, December 4 | 1:00-3:00 PM | Malletts Creek | Grades 6 - Adult

Meet Children's author & illustrator, Mark Crilley!

For many children meeting the author of a favorite book can be a life-changing experience! Mark Crilley, the author of the recent comic book release, Brody's Ghost Vol. 1, will be doing a special visit at the Ann Arbor District Library on Sunday November, 21 from 2:00-3:30 PM at the Downtown Library.

Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit and attended Kalamazoo College where he met children's book writer/illustrator (and 2001 Caldecott award winner) David Small. David’s example inspired Mark to pursue writing and illustrating professionally. Mark’s first series of books featured, “Akiko” The first in the series, "Akiko on the Planet Smoo", was published in 2000; the tenth, "Akiko and the Missing Misp", hit stores in 2008. Mark also wrote the Billy Clikk books and the four-volume manga series "Miki Falls.” Miki Falls has been optioned for film development by Paramount Pictures and Brad Pitt's Plan B production company. Volume two of his newest series, Brody’s Ghost, will be released in January of 2011.

Join us for a high-energy, educational, hilarious and interactive afternoon. From telling stories and drawing characters attendees will be inspired by Mark’s creativity, talent and enthusiasm! The Vault of Midnight will be selling Mark’s books and Mark will sign these (and any personal copies that fans bring with) after his talk.

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