Day Two! We talked about what the word "comics" means and brainstormed ideas. Then I gave them definitions for comics terms like "panel" and "gutter" and "word balloon." And then I had them look up definitions for the difficult words from Understanding Comics chapter 1, like "aesthetic" and "juxtaposed." Once they were armed with these words, we launched into reading the first chapter. We only made it a few pages in, but tomorrow we'll get to Scott McCloud's definition of comics.
So far the class is going well. One thing I notice is that my students don't have a strong prejudice against the subject. I can easily imagined someone saying, "Comics class? That's a waste of time! I demand to be transferred to a class that deals with significant intellectual content!" But my students are, you know, teenagers. Some of them love comics, some of them dislike comics, some don't care, but at the end of the day it's another class, and writing down definitions for comics terms is about the same as writing down Spanish vocabulary or facts about World War I. It's all just stuff to them. I appreciate that.
Speaking of things I appreciate . . . when I got home today there was a box on my porch. Inside the box were two copies of Understanding Comcis. These books were generously donated by a friend. I'm not 100% sure which friend, because two people emailed recently to ask my address so they could send me some books, but both of them are upstanding gentlemen. When I wrote on here about my difficulties getting books, that was not meant as a subliminal hint that people should mail them to me. I know that the guy who sent me books--whichever one he is--did it because he genuinely wanted to help out, and I am extremely grateful.