The holiday season is upon us, and with that comes gifts! It’s always lovely to receive something special from someone you love, but there’s also a particular pleasure that comes in giving a really well chosen gift and knowing that it’s truly appreciated. Sometimes it really is better to give than to receive! In that spirit, ComicsAlliance is here to inspire you with some great ideas for gifts to buy for your friends and family. Each gift guide is tailored to a particular personality type or special interests, and today we’re picking out comics gifts for the biggest, most important group of all; kids!
With their new book, Secret Coders, writer Gene Luen Yang and illustrator Mike Holmes set out to do something many of us might consider near-impossible; turn the head-scratching world of computer coding into an adventure tale fit for a middle-grade audience. Yet by combining a mystery story with a series of compelling logic puzzles, the authors have actually succeeded in creating the sort of book that could inspire the next generation of computer geniuses.
And it turns out using comics to inspire young scientists and mathematicians is not at all impossible. Gene Luen Yang provided us with five more examples of excellent educational comics that turn potentially daunting topics into engaging comic book tales. Check them out below.
Comics make for a pretty great teaching tool. I, for instance, spent my childhood learning virtually everything that it was possible to know about bat-shaped boomerangs and the differences between lasers and concussive force beams, knowledge that has served me pretty well as an adult. But what if there was a way to learn more about, say, actual science?
Wonder no longer, dear reader. Starting next year, First Second is launching a new series of educational graphic novels, set to be released quarterly and focusing on a single subject in each volume --- and first up, we're finding out all about dinosaurs. And also coral reefs, I suppose, but really, I think we all know that we're here for dinosaurs.
First Second is that rare thing in comics: a savvy publisher that is incredibly on the ball with future releases, announcing books up to two years in advance, and getting people excited about titles via promotion that's thorough, yet not in-your-face and bothersome. In that vein, I'm happy to share another of their upcoming books for 2015; Human Body Theater, a non-fiction biology guide by Maris Wicks (Primates), in which she acts as a master of ceremonies, leading readers through a theatrical revue of each and every biological system of the human body.
Starting out as a skeleton, the MC in Human Body Theater puts on a new layer of her costume (her body) with each "act." Wicks has long been passionate about science, having worked as as a science educator for elementary and middle-school students; a fact that's clearly evident when she talks about the book and its subject in our chat below -- and now that interest has combined with her artistic credentials to create this comics-format tour of the human body.
Barbara Gordon is for girls. This truth has been obscured over the years, most notably in the Batman: The Killing Joke, in which the classic Batgirl was shot, sexually abused and paralyzed by the Joker and taken out of costume for decades. But just as Superman stands for unimpeachable hope and Batman for rigid justice, Batgirl stands for girls doing what the hell they want. From the moment she debuted as part of the classic Batman TV show of the 1960s, this was clear: she was a librarian, she rode a motorcycle decorated with chiffon ruffles, and she did not give a damn that Batman wanted her to hang up the glittery puple cape and cowl. She was no sweet-tempered Kyptonian cousin, no kid sister, and no swooning girlfriend. As Mike Madrid detailed in The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines, “Batgirl is a female Batman can actually regard as a brilliant peer and a partner in the war on crime, the same way he would a male.”
Though he's hardly a household name here in the United States, even among the majority of comics fans, Hergé is a serious contender for the title of "all-time most influential comic artist". He created the globe-trotting boy reporter Tintin in 1929, and until his death in 1983, spun an ever-expanding saga that found the the intrepid lad and his supporting cast exploring the deep sea, landing on the moon, tangling with a yeti, and doing battle with an endless assortment of thieves, scoundrels, and ne'er-do-wells.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
Hub Comics (Somerville, MA) opened its annual Dark Knight on a Dark Night gallery this month, showcasing the work of local Bostonian artists paying homage to the Bat-universe. The Dark Knight on a Dark Night gallery features original Batman-related artwork and mixed media submitted by local artists, including Joe Quinones, Maris Wicks, and Erica Henderson. In keeping up with their yearly tradition of welcoming the gallery on the winter solstice, Hub Comics held an opening reception for artists and fans alike on Saturday, December 21, and ComicsAlliance was there to join in on the festivities.
Check out some of our favorite Batman pieces after the cut!
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great images on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it’s awesome.