Author Birthdays: Grey, Oe, Morrison

January 31st marks the birthday of authors Zane Grey, Kenzaburo Oe, and Grant Morrison.

Zane Grey was an American author who wrote primarily westerns; his most famous was probably Riders of the Purple Sage. Many of his books were turned into movies, including Fighting Caravans (starring Gary Cooper) and The Thundering Herd (with Harry Carey).

Grey's westerns also include Betty Zane, which was inspired by his great-great-grandmother of the same name and was his first novel, and The Great Trek: A Frontier Story, which was inspired by Grey's deep-sea fishing trip to Australia in 1935.

Kenzaburo Oe is a Japanese writer and Noble Prize winner. His first novel was Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids, which Booklist called a "bleaker and more pessimistic" Lord of the Flies.

Oe's books are almost all influential. A Personal Matter is a semi-autobiographical story that touches on the subject of his son's brain hernia; also semi-autobiographical is The Changeling, which includes a fictionalization of the suicide of Oe's brother-in-law.

Grant Morrison is a Scottish comic writer and adult graphic novelist. He has done quite a few issues of Batman and Robin graphic novels, as well as many other superhero works with DC Comics.

Morrison's other works include the graphic novel series WE3, which is about three household pets turned deadly cyborgs, and Sebastian O, the steampunk story of an alternate Victorian London and the assassin Sebastian.

It's Go Time!

by hatdow, Flickr.comby hatdow, Flickr.com
Time to play the ancient strategy game, that is! Saturday February 5, 2011 from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm at Traverwood Branch, Michael Zhang of the University of Michigan Go Club and his super-crew will offer an introduction to Go -- at the same time the simplest and the most complex game of strategy on Earth.

As Iwamoto Kaoru -- a 9-dan professional Go player -- said "Go uses the most elemental materials and concepts -- line and circle, wood and stone, black and white -- combining them with simple rules to generate subtle strategies and complex tactics that stagger the imagination." Need I say more?

If you're interested in learning more about Go before coming to play it with us, check out Go by Charles Matthews, Go Basics by Peter Shotwell, or, perhaps the most entertaining introduction, Hikaru no Go -- a manga series about a young teen haunted by the ghost of a Go master.

Comic Artists Forum: Paint with Your Computer

Jared SledJared Sled

Meet in the 3rd floor Computer Training Center for guest artist Jerzy Drozd’s presentation, “Paint with Your Computer”. In this hands-on session, you’ll learn how to digitally prep your black and white illustrations for publishing and discover some easy tips for using Adobe Photoshop Elements to add a splash of color! Jerzy will demonstrate some basic image editing techniques followed by an exploration of some of the handy coloring techniques used in professional comic book coloring. Materials will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own artwork to be scanned and used during the session.

For those of you who also want to spend some time drawing and sharing with fellow cartoonists, tables will be set up next door in the AADL Free Space room.

Comic Artists Forum | Sunday, February 6 | 1-3 PM | Downtown-3rd Floor Computer Training Center | Grade 6-Adult

The horror! The horror!

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, gory horror comics had their day. Horror comic lines such as Weird Fantasy, Tales from the Crypt, DC’s House of Mystery and Marvel’s Strange Tales were among some of the many jaw-droppingly graphic tales of ghouls, vampires, cannibals and creeps. Some also contained more “adult” themes, as well as obligatory scantily-clad women. However, in 1953, the United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency was formed, and horror comics were targeted as a main contributor to increasingly bad behaviors in juveniles. This led to congressional hearings, and ultimately, censorship in the comic book world.

Well, horror is back in The Horror! The Horror!: Comic Books the Government Didn’t Want You to Read! Edited and with commentary by Jim Trombetta, the book contains full color scans of these gems from this golden age, as well as a bonus DVD of a 1955 special about the “evils” of horror comics. Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s is another new anthology to check out. Containing extensive notes, and reproductions keeping with original formats, editors Benson and Sadowski have hand-picked the best and the essential. Also included are 32 full-page classic cover reproductions. Wow! What I really like about these classic comics is that you just won't see anything quite like them anymore – they are truly a relic of their time. I love the old artwork and the stories range from the genuinely creepy to downright silly (example: killer cactus on rampage). Happy reading, and stay scared.

AADL programs provide inspiration!

If you live hereIf you live here

Jannie Ho who participated in last summer's AADL Comics Fundamentals six-week workshop recently announced on her blog that she has finished her first comics story for the Sketch Book Project. In the epilogue, she thanks Comics Fundamental instructor Jerzy Drozd whose question sparked the idea for her book, If You Lived Here. And now Jannie’s book will tour the country before joining the book collection of The Brooklyn Art Library.

Pretty cool huh? If you want to develop your visual storytelling ideas join the next Comics Fundamentals six-week workshop. It will meet on Wednesdays July 6-August 10 (6:00-8:00 p.m.).

Youth and Teen Magazine Update -- Mars, Manga and the World's Greatest Drummers

by Nadya Pekk, Flickr.comby Nadya Pekk, Flickr.com
Want to jump into January 2011? Try these magazines -- with awesome new issues for the New Year!

For kids:
Ask Magazine: Giant dinosaurs, an island of tiny humans, and the reason giants don't exist.
Muse Magazine: Women Astronauts, Space-Sickness and Martians, oh my!

For teens:
Drum! Magazine: The Ultimate Readers' Choice Awards -- The World's Greatest Drummers!
Otaku USA Magazine: News, reviews and, of course manga! This month Otaku USA features sneak peeks at Lychee Light Club and Street Fighter Gaiden, with reviews of FLCL, Gravitation, Xam'd: Lost Memories.

Read 'em while they're new, people!

Take Part in Art -- Art that Tells a Story

by "T" altered art, Flickr.comby "T" altered art, Flickr.com

People have been using pictures to tell stories since…well, forever! Cave paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and the Bayeux Tapestry are all ancestors of modern picture books and graphic novels. To explore the relationship between art and storytelling, you could always come visit the Youth Art Table downtown, or enjoy our abundant and awesome resources at home.

Some excellent artists – modern and historical – have focused on using art to tell stories. To learn more about these artists try reading:
Brueghel: A Gift for Telling Stories – about the life of Dutch artist Pieter Brueghel.
En mi Familia and Family Pictures by Mexican-American artist Carmen Lomas Garza.
Pretty much anything about Norman Rockwell.

To explore how artists tell stories using pictures, try these books.
Telling Stories in Art by Joy Richardson provides examples readers can use to create their own story in art!
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud describes how graphic novelists use pictures to tell their stories, and Drawing Words and Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel guides readers in creating their own graphic novels!
Read a wordless picture book to see how amazing a story without words can be.

If you have children ages 4-7, you can also attend one of the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s Storytime in the Museum programs starting January 8. University of Michigan students read stories related to the art on display at the museum to bring art to life!

Finally, to see how art can tell different stories to different people try Twice Told -- a collection of short stories based on paintings. The twist? Each painting inspires two stories by different authors. See how different stories based on the same picture can be! What story would you tell?

Comic Artists Forum: Make a Mini-Comic with Matt Feazell

Matt Feazell 2Matt Feazell 2

At the next Forum create your own 8-page mini-comic with the guidance of freelance cartoonist Matt Feazell. His comics and spot illustrations have appeared in Disney Adventures and Nickleodeon Magazine and his regular weekly series, The Amazing Cynicalman runs every week in the Hamtramck Review newspaper. He's currently writing and directing a live-action Cynicalman movie.

Afterwards take time to chat and share your work with fellow cartoonists or draw while listening to other cartoonists as they discuss techniques. Basic drawing supplies will be available.

Comic Artists Forum | Sunday, January 9 | 1:00-3:00 PM | Downtown Library | Grades 6-Adult

Author Birthdays: Pohl, Schulz, Robinson

November 26th marks the birthday of authors Frederik Pohl, Charles Schulz, and Marilynne Robinson.

Frederik Pohl is a 90-year-old American science fiction writer and National Book Award, Hugo Award, and Nebula Award winner. His book Jem won the National Book Award in 1980, Man Plus and Gateway both won the Nebula Award in 1976 and 1977 respectively, and Gateway also won the Hugo Award in 1978.

Pohl has written 7 series and at least 30 other novels, over 20 collections, as well as an autobiography and some non-fiction works. One of the stand-alone novels is The Coming of the Quantum Cats, which includes Nancy Reagan as President of the United States and an escapee Stalin who found his refuge in America. His latest work, the finishing of a novel started by Arthur C. Clarke, is called The Last Theorem.

Charles Schulz was an American cartoonist, best known for the comic strip and cartoon Peanuts and its characters, though his first cartoon was actually one called Li'l Folks. His honors are probably a bit more prestigious than most authors': the Congressional Gold Medal, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and even being the Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade.

Schulz has one "autobiography", and had many biographies written about him, including Sparky: The Life And Art Of Charles Schulz and Schulz And Peanuts: A Biography.

Marilynne Robinson is a five-time award-winning American writer. Housekeeping won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award; Gilead won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Ambassador Book Award; and Home, a companion to Gilead, won the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Robinson's newest book is a non-fiction work entitled Absence Of Mind: The Dispelling Of Inwardness From The Modern Myth Of The Self. The book consists of lectures given at Yale University about science, religion, and consciousness.

Comic Artists Forum features Star Wars artist Katie Cook

Katie CookKatie Cook

The Forum moves Downtown in December. Join us in the Multipurpose Room for a presentation by Katie Cook who does licensed work for Star Wars products, webcomics for The Clone Wars, The Lord of the Rings, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Heroes and Fraggle Rock. She’s also the creator of the webcomic Gronk: A Monster’s Story.

Afterwards take time to chat and share your work with fellow cartoonists or draw while listening to other cartoonists as they discuss techniques. Basic drawing supplies will be available.

Comic Artists Forum | Sunday, December 5 | 1:00-3:00 PM | Downtown | Grade 6 – Adult

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