Announcing The Ultimate proximate Funnies, a colletction of student comics from my 2012 Animal Behavior class. These 44 pages are packed with tricksters and lovers, predators and prey, and an all-star cast of critters. You can download the full comic here.  I have included a few sample stories by Jennifer Robertson, Michael Dunkelberger, Nicole Marks and Gabrielle Cannon, respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know what you’re going to say:”Jay Hosler is one of THOSE parents. Trying to mold his his kids in his own image.” I’m not, I swear. If I were my kids would be a writhing ball of neuroses desperately (and constantly) seeking the approval of others.  Trust me, those are not my kids. No, the following comic was completely Max’s idea. For his school writing project he had to incorporate an image to his explanation. He decided to do a mini-comic on ribozymes. I was obviously delighted because, hey, science comics! I can help with that! He did a terrific job. He wrote and revised the explanation a couple of times and then did the layout of the entire story himself, penciling and inking the whole piece himself. He is sooooo far ahead of where I was at his age.

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Boy, howdy, this made my day. Neil Gaiman recommended Clan Apis to one of his readers. Sweet! Here’s the link to prove that I am not completely delusional…

It’s spring so it must be time to draw the Reading Record for the Huntingdon County Library’s Summer Reading Program.  This year’s theme is “Dream Big.”

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On the first of April I submitted a piece to Alan Alda’s Flame Challenge. Apparently, when Alda was 11 he asked his teacher to explain a flame and received “it’s oxidation” as a rather unsatisfactory explanation. The Flame Challenge is a simple idea: have scientists explain what a flame is to an 11-year old. So, I thought “I’m a scientist. Kinda.” and then I thought “I explain science to kids with comics. Sorta.” So, I made the comic below. I just heard today that it wasn’t selected for the top 15. While it is sad to have my hopes extinguished, I really did enjoy the opportunity to think and write about a topic not normally in my wheelhouse. I am already thinking of ways to modify the story to turn it into the first few pages of a story on cellular respiration. So, it’s all good. I hope you enjoy it.

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Here’s a little ditty I did to remind folks that sequential SmArt is May 18th. Pass it around to any teachers and comic readers who might be interested! Conference info is at sequentialsmart.com

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Want to spend a few days in Huntingdon, PA hearing awesome talks about comics? Well, we have just the thing for you: Sequential SmArt is a conference on teaching with comics. Sounds perfect, right? Well then head on over to the conference website. It has information about registration, accommodations, the schedule of events and list of the talks.  Check it out! Here’s the link: Sequential SmArt

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Ka-pow! We suddenly had a lot of visitors today. What happened? It looks like most of the folks are going to see the photosynthesis story. Cool. Let me know what you think, folks!

Here is the wrap-up. Thanks to everyone who has contributed comments (mostly offline) to improve this story. I am hoping this comes in handy for class next year.  If you find it useful for your classes, please let me know. If you re not a teacher or scientist, let  me know if any of this made sense. You can read the entire story over at the ATP post.

For those interested in process, I altered the visuals of the ending after I had finished inking. A full description can be found below the page.

ATP_08b_webTweaking the ending. Personally, I really like this ending. It made Lisa laugh out loud which is a pretty good indicator of success. Anyway, in the final version (above) the image from the penultimate panel is repeated for the last panel. However, the original final sequence looked like this:

Page_8_end_compareEverything is the same except that Wilbur is holding the dummy’s head in the last panel. This pose is the pose that I had always imagined drawing when I finished the script but it left me vaguely unsatisfied. Something was off, and I think the problem was the implied motion. A lot has to happen between the two panels: Wilbur has to turn, bend over and pick-up the head. For me, knowing  all of that had happened threw off the timing of the joke.  At some level I like the the “angry antenna” in the original, but the deadpan of the final version implies an ongoing exasperation that Wilbur has with the dummy, as if some rivalry exists between the two to which we are not privy. The timing on the second also feels right, now, and that is the most important aspect for an ending, in my opinion.

The penultimate page of this story was a bit of challenge. Recall that on page 6, there is a big scissor protein with its blades open in the center of the page. My original plan was to have the reader turn the page and have the scissors drawn the same size but now with the blades snapping closed. Unfortunately, the silhouette of a pair of closed scissor with the blades pointing down looks like a big set of manly naughty bits. After my inner middle schooler stopped snickering like an idiot, I redesigned the page with a sequence of close-ups. I hope it still reads well visually.  Poor Wilbur. For those that have read the photosynthesis story, you can see that this is becoming a theme for our fly hero.

UPDATED: Page 6 and 7 have been modified at the suggestion of my lovely wife and primary editor. Lisa pointed out two visual sticking points she thought could be improved. First, it seemed to her that putting the phosphate right at the hinge would block the blades from closing completely. Second, she didn’t feel there were enough positively charged amino acids in the handles for the phosphate to pull on. At first I resisted the suggestions. (Frankly, I didn’t want to do the work.) But, she was spot on. It is nice to be married to someone with good visual literacy. I have included the updated version below the original.

The story can be read from the beginning over at the ATP post.

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