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Comics and Graphic Novels

 

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Comics and Graphic Novels

Grades 6 – 8
Activity Time Varies according to the project the child chooses. A 3-page comic book adaptation might take 60 to 90 minutes to create, from planning to finished product. A cartoon may take less time
Activity Author

James Bucky Carter

James Bucky Carter

El Paso, Texas

 
Publisher National Council of Teachers of English
 

What You Need

Here's What To Do

More Ideas To Try

Glossary

 

What You Need

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Here's What To Do

  1. Working together, choose a book (from the library, the child's collection, schools reading lists, and so forth) and read the book completely.
  2. After reading the book, ask readers to pick what they see as the most important scene or scenes in the book. They will turn these scenes into a comic strip or cartoon.
  3. Before beginning their comics, invite the readers to explore the following resources to get an idea of the comic book creation process:

  4. After learning more about the process, begin creating a comic adaptation or cartoon based on the scene(s) selected.

    • Some children, especially those with artistic talent, will be able to work better starting out with illustrations and then adding the words.
    • Others might want to craft a script first, then illustrate it.
  5. The Comic Creator might be helpful here as it allows users to choose pictures and add text to it. Visit the Comic Creator Tool page for suggestions on how to use the tool. Even if the child wants to create a hand-illustrated comic book, the Comic Creator can be used as a storyboard or rough draft of the different panes of the comic.
  6. If you use the Comic Creator, be sure to print out the comics as necessary. Various pages can be assembled into a comic book using some old-fashioned cut-and-paste (or digital work).
  7. Ask children to repeat this process for as many books or scenes per book as they think are necessary to show the main parts of the book they read.

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More Ideas To Try

  • Ask children to pair up with a partner to create their comics and cartoons, if possible. Try to pair up children based on their strengths.
  • After the comics and cartoons are complete, put them together in an "anthology" style graphic novel.
  • Purchase a comic book together and challenge children to use the exact same page and panel layout as the comic book does.

    • Many comic book shops have "quarter bins," where each comic book is 25 cents. Ask your vendor to help you pick comics appropriate for the ages you are working with. Another idea is to ask your vendor if they have anything left over from "Free Comic Book Day." If so, you might be able to get as many comics as you need for free.
  • Ask children to find a variety of comics written by various writers and drawn by various artists. Invite them to try to recreate their own comics and cartoons in that same style.
  • During the school year , encourage children to share their comics and cartoons with their classmates.

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Glossary

Comic book

 

A book or magazine in which stories are told through a sequence of drawings and character speech.

Graphic novel

 

A book that uses drawings and dialogue to tell a story but is longer than a traditional comic book.

Script

 

The written part of a comic book or graphic novel, play, movie, or television show, including dialogue.

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