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There are currently three different versions: Create a Comic Project ROC (aka version 1.0), Create a Comic Project 2.0 (New Haven, CT), and Create a Comic Project 2.5 (Pittsburgh, PA). Version 1 includes all the work produced by students in Taiwan. Version 2.0 covers the weekly sessions at the New Haven Public Library, the four workshops at Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center, and the first Comic Making Tournament. Version 2.5 is the current and encompasses a pair of one-time workshops in Pittsburgh and the Comic Making Tournament II. A version 3.0 is planned for summer of 2008.
The version numbers are used to denote the development of the project. Each time I run it, I learn more about what's effective. Likewise, my own knowledge and understanding of comics has grown over time. The first version only used templates based on Strange Candy. Version 2.0 used templates from many more sources. Also, the second CCP onwards was designed as a stand alone activity, while the original was simply a complementary activity to the ESL curriculum Hess provided. 2.5 improves on 2.0 by further increasing the pool of available templates and improving the structure of the lessons to be more formal.
The Create a Comic Project 3.0 will incorporate more formal comic theory by adapting the work of several comic experts (such as Scott McCloud) into a framework suitable for young children.
My name is John Baird. I'm currently a graduate student. I used to be an English teacher in Taiwan, ROC.
I'm currently in Pennsylvania. I used to be in Connecticut, which is where the CCP started in the US.
As long as my schedule allows for it. I'll probably have to stop after I get a full time job. But even then maybe not.
One reason is the importance of the field: literacy has a major impact on how successful a person will be. Almost every major socioeconomic indicator - obesity, income level, quality of child raising, etc. - is tied to a person's education level. Promoting literacy through creative expression is a hands-on way to confront social problems. It's a good way to make a difference on a small scale.
I started reading comics the same way most people do: I read comic books when I was a kid (Spider-Man was my personal favorite). I first heard of webcomics in 1999 when some friends introduced me to Sluggy Freelance. Soon after I started reading them. I became a "full fledged" comic writer in 2004, partnering with an artist, and have done a regular webcomic ever since.
Note that I have no intentions of becoming a professional comic writer. It's primarily a hobby for me.
When I first started, it was just me and the templates. Over time, I've read more on comics, using comics in education, and creative writing.
Books on comics: Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, Making Comics by Scott McCloud
Papers on comics in education: Using Graphic Novels in the Classroom from Scholastic, Creative Learning in Afterschool Comic Book Clubs by Michael Bitz, Comicboarding: Using Comics as Proxies for Participatory Design with Children by Neema Moraveji, Jason Li, et al.
Books on writing: Scriptwriting by J. Michael Straczynski, Write What You Think! by Cyndi Walters
If you have a book or paper to recommend, feel free to email it to me: createacomic at NOSPAM gmail dot com.
I'd like to adapt the CCP into a format that can be used for more than just comic instruction. Research has been done that shows interactive visual media is generally helpful as a teaching tool. I can see the CCP being used to augment what are normally instructor-centered presentations on various topics, such as health, finance, and the environment. Imagine if, instead of children just sitting there listening to an expert, the session were to include a comic making activity where kids put the material into their own words?
Another project I have in mind is to promote community services within the webcomic community. Michael Rouse-Deane has done some work on this with his Kid's Book Project and Tycho and Gabe have visited classrooms a few times, but I think there's more territory to be explored there.