Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crazy Quiz Show

Ah, bliss. This was a two-day work week, and now we've got the rest of the week off for Thanksgiving. Happy times!

Yesterday we read some more of Persepolis. Today, as a special treat, I took in a ten page story by Carl Barks called "The Crazy Quiz Show." Carl Barks, as you may not know, is one of the all-time great American cartoonists. He's easily in the top five of the Greatest American Comic Book Artists of the Twentieth Century list; maybe even top three. People who obsess over comics tend to revere him. The question I put to my students is, what makes this guy so good? Their answers were . . . unsatisfactory. It's hard enough for me to explain what makes him good, and I love this stuff. Even though I've tried to expose them to a wide range of comics, they still haven't read widely enough to see what separates a great cartoonist from a mediocre one.

Aside from Barks's mastery of the medium, I chose this comic because I thought it was really funny. One class mostly enjoyed reading it, and the other class seemed to think I was crazy to even imagine for a moment that they might enjoy such a thing. Indeed, even after all this time, some of them seemed amused by the very concept that one could enjoy reading a comic. That was discouraging. Fortunately I did not need to stay discouraged long, however, because this was only a two-day week. Woo hoo!

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