Monday, February 25, 2008

Latest Shoot: History Lesson

Four out of five shamans agree: When you are on a specific quest, crossing paths with a mythological creature is a good omen. Lucky me, when I got lost on the way to the latest shoot for the Comic Book Literacy Documentary I came across an honest to goodness jackelope who was pointing the way to my destination.

And that destination was the home of comic book historian Weldon Adams. Weldon was doing his good deed for the day by donating two palettes containing 36 long boxes chock full of comic books to "Heroes4Heroes." As you may remember Heroes4Heroes is a great group that collects and donates comics books (and other forms of entertainment) to U.S. troops that are stationed overseas.

Here's their website:

From left to right: Scott Hinze (H4H & Fanboy Radio), Weldon Adams, Chris McCroskey (Heroes4Heroes) and Chris from Madness Comics & Games in Denton, TX. The bed of that truck that they are sitting on is PACKED with comics.

In addition to making huge comic book donations, Weldon spends a fair amount of his time researching comic book contributions to society and culture. One of his pet projects involves "Texas History Movies." They were a series of educational comic strips published in the 1920's that proved so popular that they were distributed to classrooms across the Lone Star state.

A bizarre series of publishing and re-publishing events helped to flesh out an odd back story to the humble strips which provides some great background information for the documentary as a whole.

Weldon's research has been documented in THIS ARTICLE.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CBL at the APOTAC Swap Meet

This Saturday "Comic Book Literacy director Todd Kent will be appearing at the "A Piece of the Action Collectibles' Comic, Toy & Collectibles Swap Meet 3" as a guest on "The Amazing Comicast" podcast!

While on "The Amazing Comicast" we are going to try to get the word out about our search for teachers and librarians who use comics to educate. We need success stories for the film. If you know of any educational programs that use comics please contact us.

We will post a link to the podcast episode when it is available for download. For more info on "The Amazing Comicast:

See you at the Swap!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Marvel Heroes Valentine Cards

I could never really get too excited about Valentine's Day. I never had anything against it but it was easily a lower tiered holiday when I was a kid. It's kind of like a funny beer commercial. I enjoy it when it's happening but never give it much thought before or after.

Schools and business stay open...and there's no real Valentine traditions to speak of...except one: the classroom Valentine card exchange. I'm talking about the shoe box, the construction paper...the whole nine yards. It helped to turn a highly commercialized day of false sentiment into something slightly more interesting (but not much) for my second grade fanboy-self. How so? Picking the cards of course.

You've seen the boxes of kiddie cards lining that one aisle in the grocery store that changes every month. Super bowl snacks segue into Valentine's decor which in turn segues into yellow marshmallow Peeps on that very aisle. This month you've probably noticed the Hannah Montana cards next to the High School Musical cards as you wondered what exactly it was that made the children of today so lame.

Well fear not because the thing that made my younger self slightly less bored with the holiday is exactly what makes my older self slightly less bored with it. Yes, the old axiom is true: "Super Heroes make everything better."

Marvel Heroes Valentines (Plus Stickers!). True, I was hoping for something DC related but it still beats cards featuring the unholy spawn of Billy Ray Cyrus. The first thing I noticed when I opened these bad boys was how flimsy they were. Something akin to, "Hey, these are just paper." When you are eight years old paper has the durability and improvisational traits of a swiss army knife. It is your construction material of choice and exclusive medium for everything from fine art to weaponry. So it's no wonder I remember the Valentine's Day cards a little more sturdy then they actually were.

The key to the holiday was picking the cards. Now choosing Valentine's cards never had the gravitas of choosing a Halloween costume but the process was similar and it all boils down to allegiances. I usually went with the super hero set. Since that was good enough for past me it'll have to do for the present me as well. So here's a look at will be landing in the heart adorned shoe boxes of today's youth.

Always good to see the traditional Cap. At first I thought that white line was ripping right through the Hulk's pants, crotch and all. But after closer inspection it looks like yet another inanimate object to get the old "smash" treatment.

Iron Man loves the ladies so it's no surprise to find him here in the middle of a heroine sandwich (Attention fledgeling musicians: Want a super cool name for your new band? Why not, "Heroine Sandwich?"). It just goes to show that there's nothing chicks dig more than an upcoming summer blockbuster.

I also feel the need to point out that I love puns. I especially love bad puns. But I question the effectiveness of the Elektra message to the average American 6 to 8 year old. Maybe they'll get it. I'd like to hope so.

Surprise, surprise. Look who gets the big card. We're ending with the BMOCs. You probably know these guys. These are the cards held in reserve. They are earmarked for the people that most need to be impressed. If you you didn't get along with the teacher you sure as hell weren't going to give her a Storm or Thing card. Nope, she got one of the big guns. Greased palms led to straight A's. That's what Wolvie would do.

So there's your visit from the ghost of Valentine's Past (or Present, rather). Hopefully you were scared straight and are now on your way to buy the biggest goose in all of London. Or at the very least those heart shaped Little Debbies. The classics never go out of style.