Rediscovering Your Favorite Comic Book Heroes
Connect comic books to the classroom curriculum and open up a world of opportunities.
By Cathy Neushul
Watching kids read comic books in bed, at school, and wherever they got a chance used to be the norm. I remember picking up comic books at the dentist’s office and pouring through the contents. Calvin and Hobbs, Garfield, and Marmaduke were some of my favorites. For many children, Spider-Man, Batman, and other superheroes were an obsession. Even though comic books may not be in-vogue at this time, an appreciation of this art form can be revived in the classroom.
With the movies based on The Avengers, Spider-Man, and Batman coming out soon, it’s a great time to tie popular culture to a type of reading material that your class is bound to find fascinating.
Bring in the Comics
The first step to providing an exploration of the comic book genre is to expose students to a variety of examples. Try to bring in as many comic books as you can. Then have a read-in. Everyone can get comfortable in their favorite spot and enjoy themselves. Give your class a chance to read and share the comics they like best.
Afterward, have them discuss what they noticed about the comics. You can make a list of the themes, characters, and characteristics from the reading material.
Check Out the Comic Book Websites
Your class will love to visit one of the comic book websites like the one dedicated to Marvel Superheroes. They can read about the relationships between characters, their battles, and their childhoods. I was intrigued by the intricate stories that have been developed throughout a series, such as Spider-Man, Batman, or Iron Man. Pupils can browse through the types of comics books offered and comment on their favorites.
Movie Maker Experience
Finally, have your class brainstorm ideas for their own comic books. They can focus on heroes, animals, family life, or whatever appeals to their imagination. Once they have focused on a particular idea, you can then have them get to work with the following ideas:
- Write and illustrate at least ten pages of a comic book.
- Make sure that you give them the time and materials to be as creative as possible.
- Once they have the pages laid out with captions, have them share their work and make any changes.
- Then, take your class to the computer lab and have them get started on a PowerPoint presentation, movie, or other type of method for depicting their comic book. They can scan in pictures, write text, etc.
Hold a Comic Book Celebration
Once learners have perfected their comic books or movies, invite other classes, parents, administrators, and community members to visit your classroom and see their work. It will be a wonderful and motivating experience. Your class can see how much others appreciate the fruits of their labor.
An exploration of comic books can lead your class on a journey to appreciate reading, art, and creativity. With practice and effort, they too can create works displaying their imaginative worlds.
Comic Book Explorations:
Have your class explore the world of comic book heroes. Learners talk about different comic book heroes and engage in a compare and contrast activity. They share their findings using a Venn diagram.
Discuss the cultural and social implications of comic books. After discussing the comic book genre, learners make their own versions focusing on a famous artist.
As part of a lesson on comic strips, this activity leads learners through a discussion of the characteristics of comic books. After comparing a variety of different types, they create their own. This is a great way to kick off an exploration of this topic.
What a creative way to address social issues! Learners read a variety of comic books, and then create their own. Each comic focuses on a problem and a resolution.