Although comic books originated in the United States, Canada was well into the comic book scene by the 1930’s. In fact, the first superhero, Superman, appeared in Canadian comics in 1938. In the 1940’s, Canadian titles covered a wide variety of genres including war, humour, science fiction, superheroes, westerns, and more. Today, comic books and graphic novels are often used in classrooms to help students think differently. They may help some people to develop the reading skills that they will need to understand more difficult texts. Teachers sometimes find that comic books and graphic novels appeal to students who don’t yet enjoy other types of reading! Learn more here.
Have students use pre-cut circles of yellow paper and dark-coloured crayons, to show how they would demonstrate the following:
Talk about how a simple drawing can tell you so much about how a person feels. Explain that comic strips and comic books are examples of how characters can show their feelings in ways besides words.
Collect several comic books or comic strips to explore with students. Examine the dialogue and notice the punctuation, short sentence structure, and use of different fonts, colours, and print sizes. Discuss why comic book authors use these formats. Then explore the characters. Ask: Do they have anything in common? How does the illustrator help you to get to know the characters? Have students work alone or in pairs to design a short comic strip (3-5 frames) on a simple topic.
Some suggestions might be:
Explore a graphic novel such as The Blue Raven by Richard Van Camp and Steve Keewatin Sanderson. Read it aloud and look at the illustrations. Ask: