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Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

Time Event
12:14a
The funnies aren't funny anymore

Today, now, was the session on creating comics for classes. I thought it'd be about the challenge of identifying points that are usefully presented as comics, rather than in lecture or by (bleah) Powerpoint slide. It got off, for me, to an awkward start when the instructor wanted us to pair up with someone and discuss our experiences in the past in using or seeing cartoons used in class. I hate that sort of Chat With Your Classmates small talk, and it wasn't helped that neither my partner nor I could remember ever having seen a comic strip used for any useful purpose, in any classes we'd taken. (Except, of course, Charlie Brown's Super Books of Questions and Answers, but combining Peanuts and space history is an easy way into my heart, and it was never part of class.)

An important point was the question of where to find suitable art to use; the suggestions were clip art archives, drawing stuff yourself, or adapting pre-existing artwork. This was shown by the example of a reused cartoon from The Straits Times from years ago, for which the instructor had lost the publication date. The instructor said there weren't copyright problems in using this because she didn't actually use the original; she traced over it, creating a copy in a new medium, a theory so novel and wonderful I can't wait to try it out on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

Past that for some reason we got into a diversion about coloring in line art, with a Baby Blues strip -- it's unbelievably popular here, with more books and spinoff art on bookstore shelves than there is for any other comic strip, and nearly as many as for all other strips combined -- used to demonstrate such tricks as flood-fill, and drawing in small lines to close gaps in the line art. I like to think I was showing off by using the color I intended to flood-fill with to close gaps, but nobody seemed to notice.

Trivia: Shortly after the Revolutionary War, Boston residents organized a $3,000 lottery to raise money to open a glass factory. Source: Yankee Science in the Making, Dirk J Struik.

Currently Reading: New Jersey in the American Revolution, Barbara J Mitnick, Editor. The book explicitly tries to compensate for the fact that most histories of the American Rebellion mention Trenton, Princeton, ``Cockpit of the Revolution,'' and then ignore the state, even though a huge amount of the actual war took place in it. But when they try using Emmanuel Leutze's various paintings of George Washington in an essay on Revolution-era New Jersey Artwork, as opposed to Artwork That Depicts Something Happening In Or Near New Jersey, it gives the proceedings a sad cast.

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