Comic books and graphic novels in education.

Comic books and graphic novels can be used in schools to stir excitement for reading, and to explore and teach a variety of subjects.

Today a panel of educators shared their thoughts about Words and Pictures Together. The hour-long panel was part of a Will Eisner Week event at the San Diego Comic-Con Museum.

Will Eisner was a pioneering cartoonist and writer whose work both inspired and influenced almost every comic artist that followed him. He practically invented the graphic novel. His amazing artwork is legendary. His stories are often complex, surprising, challenging and philosophical. Not unlike great literature.

The panelists at the Comic-Con Museum yesterday discussed how they have used Eisner’s work and other comics in the classroom.

As I sat in the audience listening, I learned there are many benefits to using certain comic books or graphic novels as educational tools.

Perhaps most importantly, they are accessible to young people. Particularly kids who struggle with reading. Those who resist reading or have limited language skills will often turn the pages of a comic, greedily devouring both words and pictures. After all, most comic books and graphic novels are written to engage and excite.

Another benefit can be the development of critical thinking. There are plots to analyze and characters to understand. Allusions and themes can provide subject matter for discussion. Stories that involve historical events or contemporary issues can open a young mind to interesting ideas and questions.

And there is the graphic art itself. Why did the artist make certain choices? The page layout, typography, style, visual point of view . . .

What I found most inspiring was that students can be encouraged to make their own comic art. To tell their own stories. Express their own thoughts and feelings. When you’re a young person, secretly unsure of many things and trying to figure out life, personal expression can help you grow.

By producing their own comic or graphic novel, students also learn how to plan a creative project and execute it. And they write!

What’s more, the opportunity to show their finished art provides a sense of accomplishment!

The panelists mentioned a few works and web pages that you can use or peruse:

The beloved Owly book series for the very young.

Necessary Trouble Archives.

“testing wally wood’s 22 panels to see if they always work”

Years ago I described how high school students in San Diego were creating their own graphic novel. Their amazing Jasper and the Spirit Skies was launched last year at Comic-Con@Home! You can revisit that past blog post here.

There’s another reason why I found this panel of educators so interesting. Classrooms around the world are reading my short story One Thousand Likes. This small work of fiction (no pictures!) concerns the use of social media and human isolation. Read the story here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera (and write)! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Spider-Man comes home to San Diego!

The first reviews of Spider-Man: No Way Home are coming in and it’s going to be awesome! By all accounts the movie is going to be an epic multiversal thrill ride that brings laughs, tears, fond memories and cheers! Are you stoked, too?

Did you know that Spider-Man makes his home in San Diego? It sure seems that way. Because I see him in the city frequently. At least, I see a lot of him when Comic-Con comes around!

Enjoy this collection of Spider-Man cosplay photos that I’ve taken over many years of walking around downtown during San Diego Comic-Con. If you’d like to see hundreds of cool photographs of Comic-Con related stuff, just click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Cosplay and fun at Comic-Con Special Edition!

Here comes a bunch of fun photos!

Comic-Con Special Edition is happening this weekend in San Diego, and I walked around San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter and convention center today with my camera.

By the early afternoon I was surprised to see a good crowd forming, and there was more cosplay than I expected. The La Brea and Peacemaker offsites were pretty busy, too!

The Freak Brothers bus behind the convention center near the Hilton Bayfront seemed a bit lonely, but that made it easier to snag three cool posters and some collectible mints!

Enjoy these photos of cosplay and fun during Comic-Con Special Edition on a sunny Saturday!

Rick and Morty cosplay on Fifth Avenue in the early morning.
When I returned to the Gaslamp around midday, people were lined up at NBC’s La Brea offsite activation.
Flash stopped running for a moment to smile for a photo!
Not nearly as busy as a normal Comic-Con, but still a fair amount of activity.
Pikachu and friends!
A good crowd at the Peacemaker Proving Ground.
Spaceballs cosplay!
Inside the Peacekeeper Proving Ground, participants had to help rescue a hostage.
Another tactical group enters the dangerous obstacle course.
Working my way back, going to head toward the Hilton Bayfront.
The X-Men are poised for action! Is Magneto nearby? Great cosplay!
It’s “Bat” Girl! Very cool!
Spider-Man cosplay. I saw many kids out having fun.
Uh, oh! It’s Cheetah! Is Wonder Woman going to save me?
Freaking out at The Freak Brothers bus!
A future Superman!
A little Marvel, a little DC. Lots of fun!
Even more creative cosplay in the Gaslamp!
Deadly Crimson is a comic created by Melissa LeEllen. Learn more at DeadlyCrimson.com!
More cosplay on Fifth Avenue. But now I’m heading home.
Hogwarts cosplay!

Today I also checked out the brand new Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park. It’s amazing. Stay tuned for that!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Friday morning outside Comic-Con Special Edition!

Today, Friday, is the first day of Comic-Con Special Edition in San Diego!

Early this morning I walked through downtown San Diego to see what’s going on. I took photos of the three Comic-Con offsites near the convention center and anything else interesting that caught my eye!

Enjoy!

A cool smile at NBC’s La Brea offsite! It’s very early–just after sunrise. No fans yet!
I spotted more cool chalk art in front of Blarney Stone Pub as I walked down Fifth Avenue through the Gaslamp Quarter.
Looks like a work in progress.
There’s a Peacemaker van parked near the HBO Max activation that promotes their show!
It looks like fans will walk through Peacemaker’s trailer before reaching the obstacle course, which is behind the fence. It opens today at noon.
Take your selfie here at the Peacemaker Proving Ground!
Guy with Marvel t-shirt poses on steps of Harbor Drive pedestrian bridge.
The Freak Brothers bus is parked on the grass in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel.
The show on Tubi features stoners with the munchies–and their cat.
Some exhibitors are arriving! Who’s that guy taking photos?
Must be an artist!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

San Diego readies for Peacemaker and The Freak Brothers!

Comic-Con Special Edition, during this Thanksgiving weekend, will be featuring a few cool offsite activations in and around San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. They are free and open to the public.

I walked along Martin Luther King, Jr. Promenade this morning and saw a big new Peacemaker display and workers readying an offsite that promotes Tubi’s new show The Freak Brothers. (UPDATEpossibly The Freak Brothers! It might actually be the Peacemaker Proving Ground. We’ll have to see Friday!)

NBC will also be promoting La Brea in Gaslamp Square next to the Tin Fish, across from the San Diego Convention Center. I took updated photos of that offsite yesterday, which you can see here.

A security guard told me a homeless person tried to rip off the plastic wrapping, breaking the Peacemaker sign below.

Here’s a photo of the big Peacemaker building wrap on the Marriott Marquis. Peacemaker is a show about the DC Comics character, who appeared in the latest Suicide Squad movie. The new series will be on HBO Max.

Here come more pics from this Thanksgiving morning. It looks like (maybe) The Freak Brothers will be living in a trailer. The animated Tubi show satirizes both the drug counter-culture and the establishment. It’s based on an underground comic about stoner characters and their crazy exploits.

The Garden of Peace sign makes me wonder if this isn’t actually the Peacemaker Proving Ground, referenced here. We’ll find out!

UPDATE!

Turns out I was wrong! What I thought might be The Freak Brothers activation is actually the Peacemaker Proving Ground. That would explain the obstacle course I photographed earlier.

A bus promoting The Freak Brothers will be parked by the Hilton San Diego Bayfront!

I’ll have to check that out this weekend!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Getting ready for Comic-Con Special Edition!

Preparations are now underway in downtown San Diego for this Thanksgiving weekend’s big Comic-Con Special Edition!

I walked around the Gaslamp Quarter this morning and spotted a building wrap on the Marriott Marquis. In the evening, after dark, I saw workers setting up a couple of Comic-Con offsites!

One offsite, by the Tin Fish, promotes NBC’s television show La Brea. The premise, I learned, is a sinkhole opens up in Los Angeles, swallowing modern people and depositing them in a mysterious subterranean world–where their smartphones don’t work! What will they do when they encounter dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures? The La Brea offsite will be giving away premium swag to all visitors!

The other offsite I spotted is on some grass by Martin Luther King, Jr. Promenade, where Deadquarters has been located the last couple Comic-Cons. Workers were setting up an obstacle course. One person I spoke to thinks this offsite promotes a show on Tubi. Possibly The Freak Brothers. I’ll be providing updates with more photos and info. Stay tuned!

Comic-Con Special Edition banner at one end of the San Diego Convention Center.
These workers confided they’re getting stuff ready for the big pop culture event!
More banners on the convention center along Harbor Drive.
Comic-Con International banners on posts by the convention center. Celebrating the popular arts.
A Peacemaker building wrap on the Marriott Marquis. The television series concerning a DC Comics character will be on streaming service HBO Max.
Setting up an offsite in the dark. The workers didn’t know what it was–except it’s for Comic-Con.
Part of the same offsite, which includes an obstacle course. Someone surmised it promotes a show on Tubi.
The NBC La Brea offsite by the Tin Fish.
Looks like mammoth tusks! Visitors will walk through here to an ambulance where cool swag will be obtained!
Looks like Syfy will also be represented outside Comic-Con Special Edition!
La Brea ads are all over the place.
Stay tuned for more pics later this week!

UPDATE!

I walked all around the Gaslamp and convention center early Wednesday morning. This is what I saw…

First, some large banners have been on the Hilton San Diego Bayfront’s parking structure for a few weeks now. They promote local rapidly growing tech company ClickUp, which is headquartered in the Gaslamp!

Next, I took a pic of exhibitors lined up behind the convention center, waiting to unload trucks.

I took some pics of construction of what I think might be The Freak Brothers offsite near the Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter. (UPDATE! Now I’m thinking this might be the Peacemaker Proving Ground–we’ll see on Friday!)

And finally some daylight pics of the La Brea activation.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A huge Fandom Invasion in Escondido!

Dude Vader, Hawkeye and Captain America with actors from The Supernatural University, a television series now in development.

Fans of popular culture have converged today in Escondido for the first ever Fandom Invasion!

This big family-friendly event, which is being held at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, features lots of exhibitors, panelists, video gaming, storytelling, celebrities, cosplay, and even a play zone with Batman bounce houses for kids!

Fandom Invasion was conceived by the San Diego cosplay group Science Fiction Coalition, whose costumed members have become a common sight at events all around the city.

I arrived at Fandom Invasion as it opened, and I walked around the sizable exhibit hall where there were booths overflowing with awesome stuff. And awesome people, too!

For a while I listened to the Geek in the Streets Podcast panel, where there was a detailed discussion concerning cosplay.

Indeed, cosplay was everywhere I turned! As you can see from the upcoming photos.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Fandom Invasion was its focus on kids and their creativity. There were more than a few tables with young artists and makers and cosplayers!

Hopefully this is the beginning of a fun annual tradition.

Check it out!

Cosplayers wearing Mandalorian armor pose in front of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido Conference Center.
Hulk welcomes visitors at the Science Fiction Coalition table. I think he just arrived from Planet Hulk.
Oh, man! Look at all this super cool nerdy stuff!
Many local Star Wars groups were present, including the 501st Legion.
R2-D2 and friend were created by Droid Builders.
Author Janet Racciato has written novels for different age groups. Her heroine Julie grew up in Oceanside and can teleport. She told me writing comes easily to her.
Dr. Artemus Peepers and Wonder Woman pose for a cosplay photo.
Look at all the cool pop culture patches at one vendor table. What’s Yoda doing over there on the right?
And check this out! All these awesome creations are from the Gears & Roebuck Rusty Junk Emporium.
Star Wars Corn Flakes and Godzilla!
And here’s an angry Lord Vader himself! No, I didn’t call you corny or a flake! That box contains cereal!
The happy Addams Family.
Future artist Gavin Richter. Future? More like present!
Young artist Zeke of Swirl Waffle at work.
Lots of comic books, naturally. But it’s hard not to look at a phone.
Whoa! Ultra-cool helmet by CostumeBiz!
Now it looks like I’m in trouble!
Ian and Arielle discuss cosplay in the Large Panel Room.
Miss Ellie Honeybee posed for a cool cosplay photograph!
David L. Drake and Katherine L. Morse, San Diego-based authors of The Adventures of Drake and McTrowell, read their book.
Gamora and Star Lord are outside by a face painter!
Cars from the animated movie Cars! They were brought to Fandom Invasion by Dr. Justin Wu, of the Healing Little Heroes Foundation.
Cosplay everywhere!
Even Hawkman showed up in Escondido, all the way from the planet Thanagar.
It seems Wolverine was a bit late, however.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Comic-Con week cosplay parade in the Gaslamp!

In 2021 lovers of San Diego Comic-Con are enjoying an online experience of the international pop culture convention at home. But that hasn’t stopped fans in San Diego from having fun in the Gaslamp Quarter!

This afternoon I took a bunch of photographs of cosplay at the San Diego Causeplayer Community Shrine by the Tin Fish Restaurant.

At one o’clock the cosplayers started up Fifth Avenue in a big parade! Diners along the street and those watching from the sidewalk were in for a treat!

I followed the parade as superheroes and supervillains passed a simulated torch from one to the other. The costumed characters finally gathered at the parade’s end for an amazing group photo!

Check it out!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Friday morning at SDCC Causeplayer Community Shrine!

The San Diego Causeplayer Community Shrine is kicking off in the Gaslamp Quarter by the Tin Fish restaurant this morning. What was referred to in 2020 as the Comic-Con Shrine has grown for 2021 into a full-fledged event!

Today through the weekend, the Causeplayer Community Shrine will feature chalk art, cosplay (including afternoon parades up Fifth Avenue), 91X FM dance parties, and, most importantly, a big blood drive by the San Diego Blood Bank! Everyone is invited to swing by and add their own words and Comic-Con memories to the shrine, this second year that San Diego Comic-Con was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I captured these photos this morning as I walked by the shrine!

The SDCC Causeplayer Community Shrine has many memories from past San Diego Comic-Cons.
It’s Dude Vader and Lightning McQueen!
Dude Vader chalk art.
I met my girlfriend at SDCC.
Look at all the Funkos!
Free Funko for every blood donor!
Thor holds up her hammer at the 2021 Causeplayer Community Shrine!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Black Widow appears at San Diego Convention Center!

Black Widow of Marvel’s Avengers made an appearance this afternoon outside the San Diego Convention Center!

She passed me in a big hurry, no doubt pursuing a crafty supervillain, but was nice enough to pose a few seconds for my camera.

I noticed that Black Widow is wearing her white costume in San Diego, so I’m assuming she recently arrived in the Avengers Quinjet from snowy Russia.

Yes, Black Widow’s upcoming movie features this white costume, so I’ve concluded that in her rush to intercept some despicable villain she probably didn’t have time for a change. As for the Quinjet–perhaps she landed it atop the Convention Center. I looked up and down but didn’t see it anywhere.

Most everyone knows that San Diego Comic-Con was cancelled for 2021 due to uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic and its trajectory. So I really enjoyed snapping this unexpected cosplay photograph.

Hopefully during traditional Comic-Con week in July there’s some outdoor cosplay by the Tin Fish just like last year. If there is, you can bet I’ll be taking photos!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!