Comics Alternative Special: A Will Eisner Week Panel Discussion, “The Relevance of Graphic Novels in Culture and Modern Education”

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On this special episode of The Comics Alternative, the Two Guys with PhDs wrap up Will Eisner Week by featuring a recording of an event that took place on Saturday, March 7, at Collected Comics and Games’s Keller location. The title of the panel was “The Relevance of Graphic Novels in Culture and Modern Education,” and speaking on it were Derek, Matthew Kolman of the Forth Worth Public Library, and Christopher Kilgore of the University of Texas at Arlington. All three shared their experiences using comics for educational purposes and discussed the many facets of their presentational potential. Along the way, they covered such issues as strategies for visual learning, labeling and categorization — e.g., how useful of a term is “graphic novel,” anyway? — comics and literacy, the presence of a de facto graphic novel canon, reader maturity and visual explicitness, the place of seriality and cartoon one-shots, and the various forms in which comics are published. The audience members asked a variety of challenging questions, and some even shared their own experiences as both readers and teachers of comics in the classroom. All in all, it was an engaging conversation, and one that truly participated in the spirit of Will Eisner Week.

Much thanks to Aldo Trillo and the people at Collected Comics and Games for sponsoring this year’s event!

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About Derek Royal

The Comics Alternative is a weekly podcast focused on the world of alternative, independent, and primarily non-superhero comics. (There’s nothing wrong with the superhero genre…we just want to do something different.) New shows become available every Wednesday…much like the comic books you get. Episodes feature reviews of graphic novels and current ongoing series, discussions of upcoming comics, examinations of collected editions, in-depth analyses of a variety of comics texts, spotlights on various creators and their oeuvre, roundtable discussions with prominent critics and scholars in the field, and interviews with the artists and writers who make all of this possible. Along the way, Andy and Derek will talk about the various books that they are reading; the many pop cultural references that, for better or worse, inform their lives; and the unpredictable (and inexplicable) weirdness that seems to creep into each episode. In essence,The Comics Alternative podcast is brilliantly simple: Two guys with PhDs talking about comics.

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