Category Archives: Comics

Sophia’s First Sketch

On Sunday, I took Sophia to NYCC. She had an amazing time seeing people dressed up as her favorite heroes (she got to give Batman a fist-bump), getting convention swag (she received Mickey Mouse and Hello Kitty posters), and spending time with her dad. The best part of the day for her was getting a personalized Superman sketch from artist Cliff Chiang. When he gave her the sketch, she was beaming! I’ll never forget the smile on her face. Thanks to Cliff for doing the sketch even though he was packing up for the day.



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NYCC Panel

Thanks to everyone who attended my NYCC Panel on Comics and Education. And, thanks to Diamond Bookshelf for sponsoring the panel!

Click HERE for a link to a .pdf copy of my presentation for those who are interested.

Click HERE to be taken to Andy Runton’s “Owly” website with educator resources.


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Comics and the Common Core

It’s that time of year again – back to school. With the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, there is an increased emphasis on being aligned to the Common Core Curriculum. As an educator who enjoys using comics in the classroom, I’m pleased to share a resource that has been produced by Diamond Comics.

From Diamond’s press release:

“To help educators and librarians select materials to fit into their Common Core Standards curricula, Diamond Book Distributors have created the Diamond Graphic Novel Common Core List. Arranged by grade level, the Diamond Graphic Novel Common Core List offers 97 graphic novels from our publishers that will fit into a Common Core curriculum, along with resources including Library Classifications, Subject Headings, and Core Standards which apply to each book.”

The list and related resources can be found HERE (

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30 for 30 #15: New York Comic Con 2012

One of the best things about living in NYC is that this is the center of the comic book industry. Marvel and DC both have offices here, comic book movies are filmed (or at least based here), there are tons of comic book stores to visit, and there are lots of comic book fans in the area. As a result, there are many comic-related events during the year such as seminars, art shows, signings, and of course – conventions.

Since moving to NYC in 2008, I have attended many of these events. I’ve been to small shows, signings, art shows, and talks. However, the main event I enjoy each year is the annual New York Comic Con (NYCC). I’ve been to show each year I’ve lived here, and I’ve enjoyed each one. Sometimes I have worked with an exhibitor, and other times, I’ve attended as a professional (educator). While I have enjoyed each NYCC, this last year, 2012, was my favorite.

Here are my reasons:

  1. I was able to attend with my family. I have an amazing wife who is willing to attend with me each year as able, and this year, we included the kids. Although it was a hectic trip, heading into the city with two small kids, it was fun to dress up as a family and visit the con floor. My daughter, Sophia, loved seeing her favorite Superhero, Superman, in print, Lego, and human form.
  2. I attended with some great friends. The best part of a con is hanging out with your fellow comic book fans. Visiting the floor with Sophie, Luis, Matt, and Eric was great fun.
  3. I got to meet some of my favorite artists and writers. This year, I was pleased to be able to connect with Dustin Nguyen (Batman), Cliff Chiang (WonderWoman), Brian Azzarello (WonderWoman), and David Petersen (Mouse Guard) and have them sign some books and take some photos with me.
  4. I was able to be a part of a panel on using comics in the classroom. This was the best part of this year’s con experience. Joining two other educators and an editor from Diamond Bookshelf, I was able to speak about my experience in using comics to engage students and how to present this idea to reluctant administrators.

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30 for 30

In a few weeks, I will be celebrating a personal milestone: I will turn 30. In order to celebrate the day as well as the last 30 years, I have decided to take some time to reflect upon some of my most fond memories from my life. Therefore, over the next few weeks, I plan to write 30 posts, each detailing a favorite memory, event, or milestone.

I do want to add some clarification for the few people who may take the time to read about my memories. These posts will not be chronological nor will I be giving one per year. Furthermore, they will not appear in any certain order so that more importance be placed on one memory over another; it has been difficult enough to select only 30 events. Finally, I will be omitting some events that are simply “too obvious” to include in my list. If you know me well enough, then you are already aware of the love I have for Jesus, my wife, and my kids. So, rather than writing a post about the day I was wed, or the day my kids were born, or the day I met Jesus and decided to follow Him, I will be writing about memories that have included these individuals or have been inspired by them.

I’ve never been much of a blogger; honestly, I feel that my time is better spent on other things. However, as I think about the mark I want to leave on this Earth, especially on my children, I think there is benefit in spending the time to document my life to share with my loved ones. I hope that you enjoy reading my stories and reminiscing with me.

Just for fun, here’s a preview of what’s to come:

Alf, Pat Dye, Mjaka, Mentone, Chi Chi, RA, 11-02, Fury, Diamond, and more…

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New York Comic Con

This year, I have the privilege of speaking at a panel during New York Comic Con (NYCC). The title of the panel is “Making the Case for Teaching with Graphic Novels.” It is hosted by Diamond Bookshelf (of Diamond Comics) and will take place on Thursday night at 5:15pm in room 1A04. This is a great honor to be selected for a panel like this, and I am looking forward to the opportunity.

Here’s an excerpt from the Diamond Bookshelf website:


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Saturday Morning Fun

Here’s my idea of a good Saturday morning…


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Reflections on New York Comic Con

After a year and a half hiatus, New York Comic Con (NYCC) returned to the Big Apple, beckoning crowds of fans to visit the 3-day exhibition featuring comic’s finest artists, writers, celebrities and more.

As a long-time comic book fan, I could not avoid the temptation of being at NYCC. I attended all three days of the con, visiting exhibitors’ booths, seeking autographs from artists, and grabbing free stuff for my students. Needless to say, I had an excellent time.

Furthermore, I enjoyed the opportunity to help with the comiXology booth, where I was able to speak to other comic fans, creators, and people who have enjoyed using comiXology’s digital comics readers.


Dr. Doom (me) and Red Hood at the comiXology booth


After much thought, I decided to write about my experience of NYCC. As a result, here are some of my observations from the con: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Some of the best aspects, a.k.a. “The Good”

1. Artists Alley – This is my favorite part of any con. Hundreds of tables set up so artists can sign autographs, draw new sketches, sell prints, and more. I always enjoy meeting artists such as David Petersen (Mouse Guard) who really take the time to interact with fans and sign books. Artists like Petersen, knowing that their salary is derived from their fanbase, seem to enjoy spending time with fans.

2. Free Stuff – There’s not many things better than hundreds of booths giving away free merchandise. DC and Marvel especially made my con experience a great one by offering free copies of some of their most popular books from this last year. I was pleased to also get plenty of buttons, cards, bookmarks, and other free swag. Finally, two book publishers impressed me by giving me free graphic novels and books for my comic book club at school.

3. The Exhibitors – There were so many cool exhibits, I simply cannot mention them all. However, I must mention comiXology and their Jim Lee iPad giveaway (which was awesome), the Aliens movie booth, the Green Hornet booth which featured the car and motorcycle from the upcoming movie, and The Walking Dead booth which featured a huge promo backdrop of the upcoming TV series.

4. Celebrities – Only at NYCC can you stand feet away from Stan Lee, Robert Kirkman, Dan Didio, Jim Lee, Morgan Spurlock (from “Supersize Me”), and others. Furthermore, the con floor seems to be the great equalizer, allowing fans the boldness to approach their favorite celebs and for celebs to take the time to interact with fans.

5. Sales – Yep. At NYCC various comic book stores had some amazing sales, my favorite of which was ZAPP Comics from New Jersey which had a 50% off trade paperback sale.

Some minor issues I noticed, a.k.a “The Bad”

1. Crowds – There’s really nothing that can be done about this except saying that the crowds were intense – especially on Saturday. For anyone interested in attending next year, go early on Friday or late on Sunday. At those times the crowds are easier to manage.

2. Floor placement – NYCC could have done a better job with the way they organized the placement of booths at the con. I understand that marketing and money plays a big deal in making such decisions, but I was really frustrated that some very large and very attention-seeking booths were placed right at the main entrance, causing crowds to gather right in the entrance. For someone trying to simply get in the door and see the exhibits, this bottleneck was frustrating.

3. Costumes – While there were some awesome costumes, I get tired of seeing Harry Potter and other non-comic related costumes at comic con. Why is Harry Potter here? Does Harry even read comics? Whatever happened to dressing up as the Flash?

My Problems at NYCC, a.k.a. “The Ugly”

1. Ivan Reis (Green Lantern artist) – I don’t normally speak ill of others, but this guy was a jerk to his fans. Reis, who is currently one of DC’s most popular artists for his work on Green Lantern, walked up to his table where fans were waiting for his autograph, signed one book and then told everyone else that he “did not feel like signing books.” Then, he looked down at his sketchbook and ignored his fans. Obviously this guy does not understand that the people he ignored allow him to put food on the table. I am going to do all I can to avoid buying his work from now own.

2. Celebrities – I think it stinks that celebrities featured at the show (Lou Ferrigno and others for example) charge for their autograph or picture. Don’t they make enough from me already through my watching their TV shows or movies? Asking for me to pay for your picture is simply pathetic and an example of extreme arrogance.

3. The Media – I got so tired of watching the local network coverage of NYCC. Rather than mentioning the great exhibitors, panels, artists, and writers, the local networks instead featured the 300lb, 35 yr old, single, weirdos who only come out of their mother’s basement for the 3-day opportunity to dress in spandex and dance to Michael Jackson tunes with other weirdos. Such is the reason I sometimes hesitate to tell people I went to the con because I don’t want to be labeled as the “comic book guy” from the Simpsons.

4. Costumes – Some people should never wear spandex, body suits, or bikini bottoms – EVER. Enough said. I would elaborate, but I would rather purge my mind of such occurrences.

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Comic Book Club

Great News: This morning, I had a meeting with one of my colleagues and my principal about starting a comic book club at our school for students (our school is located in Sunset Park – Brooklyn, NY). As many of you may know, increasing literacy among students is a big deal within education circles today, and we feel that comics can help that. Our meeting went very well, and because this club involves reading and literacy improvement,  the principal approved our request. So, beginning in the first week of October we will be meeting with 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students one morning a week to read comics, discuss comics, and hopefully even create some comics.

Although my colleague and I do have some comics that we are going to bring to school to share with our students, we by no means have the ability to create a great comic library on our own. Therefore, we are asking for help. Below, I am posting a list of graphic novels and trades that we would like to have for our students to read. Hopefully, we can have individuals and local comic shops donate books for us to share with the students.  If you are reading this today and would like to help us in creating a graphic library, please feel free to leave a comment with your contact information or email me at contact[at] Furthermore, if you know of any series that we should be reading with our students, then feel free to make a recommendation. We greatly appreciate those who would be willing to help us as we seek the best for our students.

Trades/Graphic Novels for Comic Book Club*

Superhero Based

  • Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
  • Superman: Red Son
  • All-Star Superman (Vol. 1 & 2)
  • The Death and Return of Superman
  • Batman: Year One
  • Robin: Year One
  • Batgirl: Year One
  • Nightwing: Year One
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood (Vol. 1 & 2)
  • Batman: The Long Halloween
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • Green Lantern: Secret Origin
  • Green Arrow:  Year One
  • DC: The New Frontier (Vol. 1 & 2)
  • Hellboy Vol 1: The Seed of Destruction
  • Ultimate Spiderman Vol. 1 & 2
  • Ultimate X-men Vol. 1 & 2
  • Marvel: Civil War

Non- Superhero

  • Maus (Vol. 1 & 2)
  • Mouse Guard (Fall & Winter)
  • Night Owls
  • High Moon
  • Twilight: the Graphic Novel
  • Marvel Literary Classics (including, but not limited to)
    • Pride and Prejudice
    • Sense and Sensibility
    • The Illiad
    • The Three Musketeers
    • The Man in the Iron Mask
    • Moby Dick
    • Treasure Island

*this list is a working document and may be changed as we review new titles and series.

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