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Friday’s Guest Spot

by  in Comic News Comment
Friday’s Guest Spot

Well, I went and did it again.

Despite a heavy workload and the end of the school year bearing down on me like a freight train, and with less than two weeks to pull it together… I somehow still idiotically committed to trying to schedule a field trip for the Cartooning Class to the Olympia Comics Festival on June 5th.

So once again I am up to my hips in work, trying to keep up with all my regular commitments and also assemble the raft of paperwork necessary to transport a mini-van full of 6th and 7th graders from Seattle to Olympia on a Saturday.

Honestly, I think it would be easier if I was trying to buy the damn van instead of just reserve it for a Saturday afternoon. (Long-time readers may recall that last year’s attempt to get the use of the YMCA mini-van did not go well at all.)

But I’m refusing to give up on this, I am certain we can pull it off. However, it does involve a lot of extra time for me — for example, one of the hoops I have to jump through before they let me drive the van is to get CPR and first-aid certified, just to give you an idea — and so, there’s not much of a column from me this week.

However!

I was smart enough to conscript a replacement.

Here’s the story. Tom Pomplun at Graphic Classics was kind enough to put us on his review list some time ago, and I like to take his books in to the Cartooning class and let my students review them. The students enjoy it, it’s a change of pace for me, and I daresay Mr. Pomplun probably gets a better sense of how the books play to kids from the students’ comments than from anything I might say.

The current offering is GRAPHIC CLASSICS: EDGAR ALLAN POE. This is actually a revised edition of an earlier volume, with 40 new pages.

Here’s the roster:

• The Pit and the Pendulum,
adapted by David Hontiveros and Carlo Vergara

• The Raven and Annabel Lee,
both illustrated by J.B. Bonivert

• William Wilson,
adapted by Rafael Nieves and Dan Dougherty

• The Black Cat, illustrated by Gerry Alanguilan

• The Imp of the Perverse, illustrated by Lance Tooks

• The Premature Burial, illustrated by Joe Ollmann

• The Tell-Tale Heart, adapted by Rick Geary

• The Fall of the House of Usher,
adapted by Matt Howarth

• The Cask of Amontillado, adapted by Pedro Lopez

• Never Bet the Devil Your Head,
adapted by Milton Knight

This volume is all black-and-white interiors, which has two benefits, one practical and one artistic.

The practical one is that it’s cheaper; it retails for just $12.95 (but you can get it for $10 at the graphic Classics web page.)

The artistic benefit is that black-and-white suits the material better, and shows off the artists’ strengths, particularly Rick Geary and Gerry Alanguilan.

Anyway, I liked it quite a bit, but I’m not really the target audience. I offered it to my students and only Emma took me up on it. But she was quite vocal in her appreciation, and ended up passing the book around to her classmates quite a bit.

So here is what Emma had to say:

I liked how I can now understand Edgar Allan Poe’s poems and stories since I have read the comics. The illustrations really helped me understand the poems.


My favorite story was “The Black Cat.” I liked this story because when you read the original without illustrations it doesn’t make much sense but when you read it here with the pictures it made perfect sense.

Another reason I like it is because the pictures made it vivid and fun.

My least favorite was “The Raven.” Because i didn’t really understand it. The illustrations were in a style that don’t help you get the story.

But most of them are great and help the story make a lot of sense.

One of the really good artists was Milton Knight, I liked his story. Also Rick Geary. And J. B. Bonivert was really good, I just didn’t like “The Raven.” I think that would have worked better with a more descriptive kind of illustration style.

These artists help make Edgar Allan Poe understandable for kids like me. This book would help a lot of people to understand Edgar Allan Poe.

Emma D., age 12

*

So there you have it. Thanks to Tom Pomplun and the crew at Graphic Classics for thinking of us, and to Emma for pinch-hitting for yours truly.

See you next week.

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