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Comics in the Classroom: Allegedly Educational Posters Inspired By Jack Kirby, Jim Lee, and Others

As much as I hate to admit it even though I’ve been out of school for a solid decade, summer vacation is coming to a close. All over the country, kids are gearing up to get back to homework, books and standardized testing, and as much of a drag as that might be, it’s nice to know that somebody out there is trying to spice up the classroom by giving it a little comic book flavor:

The latest issue of the “Teacher’s Discovery” English teacher’s catalog features a set of “graphic novel inspired” posters depicting classic literature in the style of artists like Jack Kirby, presumably made for the teacher who wants to get kids excited about Shakespeare by tricking them into thinking they were mutants with x-tra powers who protected a world that hates and fears them.

I kid, but I actually think these are neat, and a good example of the fact that comics really can be used to get kids interested in reading. My favorite of the set of five posters is the “King Arthur” inspired by “King” Kirby — because come on, the Kirby Krackle emanating from the sword in the stone is pretty rad — but the others have some pretty surprising inspiration, too, especially the in-joke in their version of “The Scarlet Letter.”

“Romeo & Juliet* in the style of Jim Lee

“The Scarlet Letter” in the style of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster

“The Raven” in the style of Michael Kaluta

“Frankenstein” in the style of Al Feldstein

As much as I like that last one, I really wish they’d used the twist ending to “Romeo & Juliet” for their tribute to EC and done something a little closer to the ridiculously awesome Frankenstein comics that actually exist…

…but more than that, I’d like to see more of these done by actual comics artists, rather than just in their styles. Can you imagine going to a school and seeing JH Williams III’s “The Great Gatsby,” or Colleen Coover‘s “Hamlet” Or better yet, Rob Liefeld’s “Oedipus Rex?” I need that to happen yesterday.

Graphic-minded teachers (and people who don’t have easy access to educational paraphernalia catalogs) can find all five posters for sale, individually and as a discounted bundle, over at TeachersDiscovery.com.

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