A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge academic links

[cross-posted from A.D. on Smith]

I just stumbled upon a long essay about A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge in the new book Comics and the U.S. South, edited by Brannon Costello and Qiana J. Whitted (University Press of Mississippi, 2012). The essay, “A Re-Vision of the Record: The Demands of Reading Josh Neufeld’s A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge,” is by Anthony Dyer Hoefer, a professor at George Mason University. And a PDF of the essay is available as a free download right here.

Leaving aside the fact that I was stunned to see 30 pages of academic writing devoted to A.D., I was excited to see how much Dr. Hoefer gets from the project—particularly its online component, which debuted on Smith Magazine. He focuses on A.D.‘s “pedagogical impulse” and how it uses the comics form to expose the highly mediated way in which we were informed about Hurricane Katrina. In this context, Hoefer quotes the great Scott McCloud from Understanding Comics, “No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well.”

As with many other reviews and discussions of A.D., I learned a lot from Hoefer’s essay: it’s always fascinating to see the things that readers pick up from my work that I didn’t consciously intend to put there—and are really just an accidental result of the never-ending attempt to simply make “good comics.”

Hoefer’s essay is the latest (and greatest) in a number of academic resources related to A.D. that are available online. Since A.D.‘s book publication, it has been used as a common read text for a number of colleges & universities, including the the University of Wisconsin, the University of Alabama, and SUNY Brockport. My wonderful and talented wife Sari Wilson wrote an extensive teacher’s guide to A.D., and there are other online resources, bibliographies, and so on for both high school and college students. Since Hurricane Katrina is clearly a historical event which we will be studying for generations to come, I figured this would be a good opportunity to list all A.D.‘s academic resources in one place:

Let me know of other useful links out there!

In Honor of the Reopening of Oberlin’s Apollo Theatre, Here is a List of Movies I Saw at the Apollo (in Roughly the Order I Saw Them)

St. Elmo’s FirePrizzi’s HonorKiss of the Spider WomanSilveradoBack to the FutureTeen WolfRocky IVThe Color PurpleOut of AfricaWildcatsBack to SchoolAbout Last NightAliensCrocodile DundeeThe Color of MoneyChildren of a Lesser GodPeggy Sue Got MarriedJumpin’ Jack FlashHoosiersStar Trek IV: The Voyage HomeThree AmigosLittle Shop of HorrorsLethal WeaponPlanes Trains and AutomobilesThrow Momma From the TrainEddie Murphy: RawBroadcast NewsMoonstruckGood Morning, VietnamPink Floyd—The WallBeetlejuiceBiloxi BluesComing to AmericaBull DurhamA Fish Called WandaDie HardMoon Over ParadorThe AccusedTequila SunriseMississippi BurningTwinsThe Accidental TouristRain ManBill & Ted’s Excellent AdventureField of DreamsMajor League

THE INFLUENCING MACHINE is a New York Times bestseller

Just got word that The Influencing Machine is debuting at #8 on the New York Times Graphic Books — Harcover Best Seller list. (Try saying that five times fast.) And we’re the only book not published by DC Comics — and the only one not featuring Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, or vampires (though Spider-Brooke does make an appearance in our book)

New York Times Graphic Books Best Sellers List

Best Comics of 2009 Meta-List

Sandy of the I Love Rob Liefeld blog just posted his Best Comics of 2009 Meta-List. I love this list — and not only because A.D. landed at #13. No, I really love it because the "meta-list" was compiled in an obsessive, exhaustive way that matches my own long (sad) history of rating, chart-making, and list-making. Here, I’ll let you read for yourself how it was done:

I gave each individual "best of 2009" list 550 points to distribute among the comics named on the list. For unranked lists, the 550 points get evenly distributed among all the books. Thus, if a critic named ten books but didn’t rank his or her choices, each book gets 55 points. If a critic named 20 books, each book gets 27.5 points. If the list is ranked, the points get distributed according to a formula that gives more points for higher rankings and less points for lower rankings. So, for a top 10 list, the #1 book gets 100 points, the #2 ranked gets 90, all the way down to 10 points for #10. For a top 20 list, the #1 book gets 52.4 points, the #2 gets 49.8 points, on down to 2.6 points for the #20 book. After distributing the points, I totaled up the number of points given to each book to produce this "meta-list" of the top 100 books of the year. I only counted lists that had five or more books; for ranked lists with more than 20 books, I only counted the top 20.
 
Nuts, right? Sandy mentions that a guy named Chad Nevett "devised the formula for distributing points," which I should definitely read, because I’m dying to know how he came up with 550 points as the base allotment. I’m sure there’s a good reason.

It’s comforting to know that there are obviously lots of other people (guys?) out there who also spent their childhoods obsessing over baseball stats, comic book collections, D&D charts, and the like. That’s the beauty of the Internet: it links us all together. On the other hand, it’s also a bit scary because it makes it that much easier to cross back over that line, to go back into the interior world of numbers, where the big scary, chaotic world seems manageable, understandable — able to be controlled.

Anyway, bit of a tangent there. And in all seriousness, the Meta-List is a nice aggregator of all those top-ten lists out there (the Meta-List was made up of 130 lists identified by Sandy — including my own list!), plus it gives a good sense of the consensus of readers/critics. I’m definitely intrigued by some of the higher-ranked books that I haven’t yet read, comics like Darwyn Cooke’s Parker: The Hunter, Seth’s George Sprott: 1894-1975, Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto, Ken Dahl’s Monsters, Greg Rucka & J.H. Williams III’s Detective Comics, and  Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe.

My ten favorite comics/graphic novels of the decade

As things wind down, prompted by the Daily Cross Hatch, here are my picks of the 00s, in no particular order…

  • Safe Area Gorazde, by Joe Sacco
  • Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
  • Ice Haven, by Daniel Clowes
  • Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
  • Asterios Polyp, by David Mazzucchelli
  • Blankets, by Craig Thompson
  • The Salon, by Nick Bertozzi
  • Identity Crisis, by Brad Meltzer, Rags Morales, and Michael Bair
  • All-Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
  • Y, the Last Man, by Brian K. Vaughan and (mostly) Pia Guerra

My picks for best graphic novels of ’09

The website The Daily Cross Hatch has just posted its year-end popularity list, "The Best Damned Comics of 2009 Chosen by the Artists." Here are my picks (in no particular order):

  • Masterpiece Comics by R. Sikoryak — I’ve loved Sikoryak’s comics for years, and this beautiful volume collects all his “mash-ups” of high and low, merging the look of classic strips and comics with stories from the Western literary canon. Bob Kane’s Batman vs. Dostoevsky’s Crime & Punishment! Blondie & Dagwood vs Adam & Eve! Siegel & Shuster’s Superman vs. Camus’ The Stranger! Hilarious, clever, and yet designed to make you think…
  • The Book of Genesis by R. Crumb — A formidable work, filled with respect for the material yet still pulsing with the earthy, pungent humanity that Crumb defines. And the man has lost nothing in the cross-hatching department
  • Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli — Maybe the best fusion of art & words yet produced, the pinnacle of what defines comics. A true work of literature by one of my all-time favorite cartoonists. If only we didn’t have to wait a decade for each new book of his!
  • ACT-I-VATE Primer — Beautifully produced anthology featuring some of my favorite cartoonists: Dean Haspiel, Michel Fiffe, Mike Dawson, Nick Bertozzi, Tim Hamilton, Leland Purvis, Joe Infurnari, and Simon Fraser, just to name a few. Cleverly, each of the stories in the book is a print-only example of the ongoing free stories on the ACT-I-VATE website.
  • Syncopated: An Anthology of Nonfiction Picto-Essays, edited by Brendan Burford — I know, I shouldn’t be allowed to nominate this because I’m a contributor, but my piece is entirely forgettable, while the rest of this anthology is top-notch. Syncopated features 16 nonfiction stories ranging from from the history of vintage postcards to the glory days of old Coney Island, from the secret world of graffiti artists to the chess champs of Greenwich Village, from the Tulsa race riots of 1921 to the interrogation of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. Contributors include editor Burford, Nick Bertozzi, Alex Holden, Greg Cook, Jim Campbell, and Paul Karasik.

It was really hard limiting my list to just five books, so here are five more 2009 GNs which merit an "Honorable Mention":

Top 35 of 2006

The inimitable Rob Clough of Sequart.com’s “High Low” names The Vagabonds #2 (and Vertigo’s American Splendor series) to his top comics of 2006 list. Thanks, Rob!

Rumors

During my initial Red Cross orientation sessions, they stressed how important it was to avoid spreading rumors. Especially in a Mass Care/Sheltering environment, where the situation is fluid and people’s lives are discombobulated, it is vital that only valid information be passed on. So the first thing I noticed when I got to SeaBee base is that we volunteers exchange a lot of “information.” The only thing is the caliber of that info seems questionable. Here’s just a small sample:

Someone stole an ERV to sell for drugs • Someone got arrested stealing a box truck loaded with supplies • Each Red Cross meal costs us $8 • Someone insisted on being an ERV driver even though none were needed, and refused to do other work. They were turned right around and sent back to the airport an hour after they arrived. • Someone got sent home for having sex in a Port-a-Potty • Because of flooding in the Northeast, they’re sending volunteers from the Gulf Coast to New Jersey and New York • Someone spent all their three-week $900 cash allotment before he left home. He used part of it to get a $300 tattoo • Someone was told to withdraw all their $900 in cash, and then their wallet was stolen at the airport • Someone got a pedicure and a manicure with their Red Cross card • Someone went AWOL from SeaBee for three days and ran up $20,000 in fraudulent credit card charges • One guy at the base doesn’t have any duties at all and just sleeps in his cot all day • They’re shooting at Red Cross workers in New Orleans • Kitchen 7 is closing and they’ll be sending their remaining people to Kitchen 35. (That last one was true.)

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