Tag Archive for Comic Art

Developmentally Disabled Create Comic Books

Volunteer Jennifer Kotschwar, a University of Nebraska at Kearney senior  and a special education major from Kearney, oversees the creation of Jessica  Walker's comic. Walker was one of nine participants in the Arc's recent comic  books class, which helped developmentally disabled individuals create their  own comics. Photo AP

Volunteer Jennifer Kotschwar, a University of Nebraska at Kearney senior oversees the creation of Jessica Walker’s comic. Walker was one of participants which helped developmentally disabled individuals create their own comics. Photo AP Images

KEARNEY, NE — The nonprofit Arc of Buffalo County helps give children and adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to choose and realize their goals of where and how they live, learn, work, and play. It is now helping developmentally disabled people make their own comic books.

Executive Director Kristen Larsen said, the Arc wanted to encourage its clients to get creative. That led to comic books, which more and more educators agree, are appealing to all age groups as a creative tool and educational outlet.

The class, part of the Arc’s Teens in Action program, is oriented toward anyone with developmental disabilities regardless of age. 

 “We’ve opened up the class to anyone in middle school on up through the young adulthood age, but really it seems to be more popular with the older teens and younger adults,” Larsen said.

Using the software Comic Life, the comic creation class lasts six weeks.  Participants created comic books with varied themes such as science fiction fantasy and real-life comics depicting friends and family. “It’s also helping to increase their strength to be able to focus on a task for a long amount of time” says Larsen.

Donna Montgomery, a professor teaching special education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and president of the Arc Board of Directors, said individuals could create comic books using assistive technology such as word prediction software to help with the writing.

“They don’t have to write a lot,” said Montgomery. “All of the individuals that participate in this group have developmental disabilities. This allows them to write stories and books.”

See also: Comics as an Educational Resource, ‘The Comic Book Project’ Goes Global, Cultivating the Next Generation of Comic Professionals

Update: Why is gender STILL an issue in Comics?

Last month’s feature Women in Comics – Then & Now attempted to bring new insight to the age old debate on female professionals and characters within the comic book industry and why they do not receive as much fanfare as their male counterparts.

Photo by DC.com all characters © DC Entertainment

Photo by DC.com all characters © DC Entertainment

Reviewing recent industry headlines it would seem the struggle continues with recent public relations debacles on DC Comics’ titles Batwoman and Harley Quinn left many fans wondering – what were they thinking?

While many hold their breath in anticipation of change within the majors others look to the independent market as a beacon of hope.

Ignatz image © Small Press Expo

Ignatz image © Small Press Expo

Small Press Expo’s Ignatz Awards, has celebrated women cartoonists since its inception, this year was no exception as its awards ceremony continued that support by setting a precedent. For the first time, SPX says, all the night’s presenters were women.

This was the idea of special guest and longtime New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly. “I was given the opportunity ahead of time to select the presenters for each award to be given,” says Donnelly, “and I decided to choose all cartoonists who are women. More and more of us are now in the business, unlike previous years, and I wanted to celebrate that fact by bringing attention to it. “Many cartoonists came up to me afterwards — men and women — to thank me for doing that, it was great.”

The presenters included Kate Leth, Ulli Lust, Rutu Modan, Mikhaela Reid, Raina Telgemeier, Carol Tyler and Jen Vaughn. Lust also won an Ignatz for Outstanding Graphic Novel — a category in which all five nominees, including Modan and Tyler, were women.

However, the low numbers within the professional group of females working with major publishers remains stagnant.

Based on solicitations, December looks to be a sizeable step down for women at DC, both in terms of female creators and characters.  With stronger numbers in both October and November it was surprising to see only 9 different female creators on 11 different books in, a drop of 5 and 4 compared to a month ago.

Traditionally, December is a very quiet month for new books all around.  Perhaps there will be some new additions with the coming New Year.

Regardless of where you stand the female voice within the industry remains strong. Erika Statler, 33, waves her geek flag publicly as the president of the Society of Gallifreyan Scholars, a “Doctor Who” club at Purdue University.  “I believe that women are more comfortable with publicly being a part of geek culture and showing it off because (being) smart is nothing to be ashamed of,” Statler said. “I embrace my geek/nerd side every day and I’m not ashamed of it. I shouldn’t have to hide something that makes me happy, so I don’t, and neither should anyone else.”

Additional Resources:

Captain Marvel: DeConnick on Carol Danvers and the comics industry http://lat.ms/19emTlX

“Holy Hot Flash, Batman! http://bit.ly/Rw1wW0

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