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!

Sari Wilson & I have a new piece in the comics anthology The Big Feminist BUT

The Big Feminist But

Back in December I encouraged you to support the KickStarter campaign for the new comics anthology The Big Feminist BUT (I love that title!), and now, a few scant months later, it exists in printed form, ready for your purchase!

This beautiful 200-page softcover—whose full title is The Big Feminist BUT: Comics about Women, Men and the IFs, ANDs & BUTs of Feminism-–is edited by Joan Reilly and Shannon O’Leary, and features contributors like Hope Larson, Jeffrey Brown, Vanessa Davis, Emily Flake, Shaenon Garrity, Gabrielle Bell, Justin Hall, Ron Rege, Lauren Weinstein, Liz Baillie, Abby Denson, Jesse Reklaw, Kat Roberts, and Dylan Williams. It also includes a brand-new collaboration of mine and Sari’s (she wrote it and I drew it) loosely based on her experiences as a fact-checker for Playboy Magazine.

The book asks:

“What do we really mean when we start a sentence with the disclaimers, ‘I’m not a feminist, BUT…’ or ‘I am 100% a feminist, BUT…’ What do our great big ‘BUTs’ say about where things stand between the sexes in the 21st Century? We asked some of the most talented ladies (and gentlemen) working in comics and animation today, along with some of the smartest writers we know, to ‘but’ into the heated discussion about the much more level but still contradictory playing field both sexes are struggling to find their footing on today. Fans of Bitch Magazine, Jezebel, Love and Rockets, Wonder Woman, Girls and Mad Men will all find something to enjoy here, as will anyone who likes to read thoughtful, compelling, top-notch comics!”

I couldn’t say it any better—order your copy now.

Here’s a sample page from Sari & my piece (the original art of which was purchased by a KickStarter funder):

SW-JN-03-sm

This Summer in Provincetown: Josh and Sari Comics Workshop Take II

FAWC Summer Program

Sari and I co-taught a comics-making workshop last summer in at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and it was a really rewarding experience—for us and for our students. We had a great mix of “serious” comics-makers and those trying out the form for the first time. (In fact, one of last year’s students was recently accepted to the Master’s program at the Center for Cartoon Studies, so we feel pretty proud of that!)

We learned that nothing makes a better combination than writing and art… or summer and beautiful P-town… or Sari and Josh! (*wink*) So that’s why we’ll be teaching the class again this summer, during the week of July 21–26.

Our workshop is called The Graphic Novel: At the Intersection of Writing and Drawing, and here’s the class description:

In his seminal work Understanding Comics, cartoonist Scott McCloud writes, “The art form—the medium—known as comics is a vessel which can hold any number of ideas and images.” This class will explore the dynamic realm of sequential art, and the ways that graphic novels/comics can produce powerful moments of frisson between words and images. Some find their way to the form through their writing and others through their art—comics allows for both options. To that end, we as workshop leaders offer two perspectives: that of a cartoonist and that of a writer. We welcome confident storytellers in either, or ideally both, arenas. If you’re “just” a writer, we believe that you can learn to draw in a way that will serve your words.

Participants should have an idea for a sequential narrative and preferably some existing notes, scripts, and/or art. We’ll unpack how comics are constructed: from scripting to page layouts to thumbnailing to creating finished art. We’ll explore the ideas and images you bring to the table, and through group feedback generate ways you can hone your vision. We’ll also spend some class time on various collaborative exercises we’ve found useful in producing strong comics work.

Although this class focuses on the comics form, experience shows that the skills we develop translate to many other visual storytelling modes—including storyboards, video games, and even PowerPoint presentations.

Please email a one-paragraph description of your project and what you hope to get out of the workshop to workshops@fawc.org by July 1. In addition, please bring writing and drawing materials.

Click this link to find out more about the program and how to register. Please spread the word about the class, and encourage people to sign up soon. Classes fill up quickly.

 

Sari Wilson & I are teaching a comics class this summer in Provincetown

What makes a better combination than writing and art? How about summer and Provincetown? Or Sari and Josh? (*wink*)

Come experience all three this July on the tip of Cape Cod! Sari and I are teaching a workshop at P-Town’s Fine Arts Work Center from July 1–6. It’s called The Graphic Novel: At the Intersection of Writing and Drawing.

In his seminal work Understanding Comics, Cartoonist Scott McCloud writes, “The art form — the medium — known as comics is a vessel which can hold any number of ideas and images.” Our class will explore the dynamic realm of sequential art, and the ways that comics can produce powerful moments of frisson between words and images.

Some find their way to the form through their writing and others through their art; comics allows for both options. To that end, we as workshop leaders offer two perspectives—that of a cartoonist and that of a writer. We welcome confident storytellers in either, or ideally, both arenas. If you’re “just” a writer, we believe that you can learn to draw in a way that will serve your words.

As workshop leaders, we are most interested in the literary and the idiosyncratic, so if you’re looking to do a superhero, fantasy, or science fiction comic, this class may not be for you (unless you feel a strong personal connection to a story you want to explore through one of those genres).

Participants should have an idea for a graphic novel and preferably some existing notes, scripts, and/or art. We’ll explore the ideas and images you bring to the table, and through group feedback, generate ways you can further develop your concepts. We’ll also spend some class time on various brainstorming and collaborative exercises we’ve found useful in producing strong comics work.

Click this link to find out more about the program and how to register.

STATE OF EMERGENCY: Evolution of a Cover

I’ve written previously about State of Emergency, Sari’s adaptation of both my A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge and Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun. Part of Scholastic’s On the Record series, the book is aimed at high-school “reluctant readers” (thus the appeal of the graphic novel format). I think Sari did a really great job of adapting and abridging the two books.

For me, it’s a thrill to be paired with Eggers. I really admire Zeitoun, and of course I’m grateful to Dave for his blurbing of A.D. And what makes this project even sweeter for the whole Josh & Sari family is that Scholastic asked me to draw the cover for State of Emergency. I was happy to oblige, and thought you might enjoy seeing how the illustration developed.

We quickly determined that they were looking for images of post-flooding New Orleans and "people helping people." So the first thing I did was come up with a few sketches:

State of Emergency sketches

Read more of this post

End of the year wrap-up

A.D. has been cited on a number of year-end "best-of" and gift-giving lists. The New York Times gift guide cited the book, the San Jose Mercury News recommended it, and Vanity Fair magazine declared A.D. to be one of its five "better-than-a-sweater" gift suggestions. Meanwhile, the Oklahoman listed A.D. as one of 2009’s best graphic novels, and MTV’s "Splash Page" blog called it the best nonfiction comic of 2009. In addition, A.D. is a "runner-up" on New York Magazine‘s list of the best comics of 2009, and was also cited numerous times on the Daily Cross Hatch’s list of "The Best Damned Comics of 2009 Chosen by the Artists."

And my lovely and talented wife Sari Wilson wrote the official A.D. teacher’s guide, which is available (for free) on Pantheon’s website.

Sari’s Significant Object

I love that Rob Walker. Not only is he the brilliant author of the New York Times Magazine‘s "Consumed" column and the former "Moneybox" columnist for Slate. Not only did he write the critically acclaimed Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are (Random House, 2008). Not only did he pen the wonderful collection of essays about the Big Easy called Letters from New Orleans. Not only did he create the zine Where Were You, his personal reminiscences about celebrity deaths. Not only was he my collaborator on Titans of Finance. But now he — and partner Joshua Glenn (does he only work with guys named "Josh"?) have come up with a new scheme, one which combines Rob’s interests in art, social practices, and money — The Significant Object project. And my wonderful wife Sari is a participant.

Here’s how it works (from the S.O. website):

THE IDEA: A talented, creative writer invents a story about an object. Invested with new significance by this fiction, the object should — according to our hypothesis — acquire not merely subjective but objective value.

DETAILS:

  1. The project’s curators purchase objects — for no more than a few dollars — from thrift stores and garage sales.
  2. A participating writer is paired with an object. He or she then writes a fictional story, in any style or voice, about the object. Voila! An unremarkable, castoff thingamajig has suddenly become a “significant” object!
  3. Each significant object is listed for sale. Care is taken to avoid the impression that the story is a true one; the intent of the project is not to hoax eBay customers.
  4. The winning bidder is mailed the significant object, along with a printout of the object’s fictional story. Net proceeds from the sale are given to the respective author.
Don’t you love it? I do; I’ve always thought Rob has an amazing talent for using irony to address serious and important issues, and this is a perfect example. Anyway, the S.O. project has already employed the talents of such writers as Nicholson Baker, Kurt Anderson, Colson Whitehead, Luc Sante, Doug Dorst, Ann Nocenti, and now… Sari Wilson. Check out her contribution, all about a sweeeeet penguin creamer, right here. And start bidding — the auction ends September 10!!!

This Wed, Apr. 8: Sari reads from “Slice”

Do you like fresh, hard-edged short fiction? Do you like beer and/or other alcoholic beverages? Are you not Jewish and/or not attending a seder this Passover? Are you in New York City? Then come to Pacific Standard this Wednesday, April 8 (yes, the first night of "Pesach") to hear Sari read from her excellent, newly published story "Patriotic Dead." She’ll be there with a contingent of fictioners from Slice #4, as part of Pacific Standard’s reading series. Details, you say? Yes…

Wednesday, April 8, 2009, 6:30-8 pm
Pacific Standard, or Jon & John’s House of Starchy Living and Temperance Den, "a cozy, relaxed West Coast microbrew pub"
82 Fourth Avenue (between St. Marks and Bergen Streets), Brooklyn

See you there?

Next Monday, March 23: “Slice” #4 release party

Sari has a new short story, "Patriotic Dead," which will be appearing in Slice #4!

Slice is a very cool Brooklyn-based literary journal whose aim is to spark a dialogue between emerging and established writers. They’ll be holding a party to celebrate the new issue next Monday at Dixon Place. The event includes Slice‘s "first annual Literary Trivia Showdown." Three teams of five authors, five editors, and five agents will go head-to-head to see who knows the most about the literary realm. Participants include Jonathan Lethem, Chip Kidd, Amy Einhorn, and Jim Rutman. Tickets are $25, which includes "Issue 4, Sixpoint’s delicious craft ale, an assortment of snacks, and a firsthand view of the trivia shenanigans." See you there?

Details:

Monday, March 23, 2009 6:30 – 9:30pm (trivia begins at 7:30pm)
Dixon Place
161 Chrystie Street (between Rivington and Delancey)
New York City

Once Upon a Time…

Once Upon a Time...

In honor of Sari’s recent birthday, I’ve posted a special comic I drew for her up at ACT-I-VATE. It’s a little story of our relationship. I drew it on a 3" x 17" strip of paper, folded into six sections and drawn on both sides.

The comic comes with explanatory annotations, for those of you who don’t get all the inside jokes.

Enjoy: http://www.act-i-vate.com/41-6-1.comic

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