Comic Club Spotlight with Ellie Egleton

Ellie Egleton tells Hannah Sackett all about her experience of running a comic club.

Can you tell me about the comic club you ran at your old school? What did you do in a typical session? I am currently preparing for my postgraduate teacher training course and so for work experience I returned to my secondary school as a teaching assistant. I really enjoyed the work and so I asked if I could please organise an after-school Comic Book Club which I was kindly allowed to do.

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Every Friday I had a group of students, ranging from 11-15 years old, come to my Comic Book Club! It was great to see a real mix of boys and girls! The activities varied from week to week but the basic idea behind the club was to give the students a starting point where they can jump into reading comics. I have found that with the volumes and volumes of comic books published, it is often difficult to know where to start reading. So, I would prepare a PowerPoint showcasing a particular character such as Spider-Man or the Avengers (usually characters who the students requested) and give them an introduction into the character’s history and recommended my favourite stories. To finish we would have a fun quiz based on the character and I would give out comic books as prizes!

We threw a Batman murder mystery party where the Joker had been “killed” and the students each had a part to play to work out who had committed the crime. My Dad also came in as a guest speaker a few times to show the students some cool comic booksranging from classic back issues to first appearances and issue ones. We also had weeks where I would help the kids create their own comic books and they wrote and drew some amazing things!

We all had a great time geeking out at Comic Book Club! All of my PowerPoint slides have been posted at http://thamesmeadcomicbookclub.blogspot.co.uk/ , a blog I made for the kids to refer back to and to help those interested in starting their own comic book club!

Did club members have a favourite activity? I think that the comic book quizzes were very popular! The kids had the choice whether they wanted to work on their own or in a team and there was certainly some friendly competition! I think that the students also really enjoyed leading the session. We would often discuss what they were reading or creating and so Comic Book Club members became a close friendship group which was nice as I’m not sure if the students would have had a chance to interact with one another outside of the club. Sometimes the kids would create their own PowerPoints to showcase the characters that they loved reading!fig-06


Can you tell me about the research you’re doing at the moment? 
I am currently conducting research for my dissertation which is to investigate how comic books can be used in the classroom to help students’ with their ongoing identity development! It has been great interviewing teachers about how they might incorporate comic books into class and running activities with students to see how they may relate to characters such as Spider-Gwen and Ms Marvel! I am also organising activities where the students can create their own comic books all about their identity in order to explore what is important to them and what makes them who they are! I think that comic books can be very useful in the classroom as resources which students can relate to and be creative with! My dissertation project is due in April and so I look forward to concluding the research!

In addition to all this, you also find time to make a web comic! Haha yes! When I was at school I wrote an all-ages book called Classified Files of a Superhero which I am now lucky enough to be making into a graphic novel! Classified Files of a Superhero had a very small print run, only 100 copies, which went to family, friends and a few book shops. Now, the graphic novel is being published page by page over at http://powerpunchbootcamp.tumblr.com/  featuring art by Kurt Wood (@kurtwooddotcom) and Alejandro Rosado (@aleroart).

Power Punch Boot Camp is a place for future heroes, world domination and pancakes and is absolutely my childhood dream come true! I loved showing the Comic Book Club kids the process behind making the comic and I hope that it has inspired them to carry on creating!

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Which comics should we be reading right now? This is a very tricky question as there are so many great comic books out there right now! Recently, I have really enjoyed reading Gwenpool! I think it is such a quirky, fun comic book and I really like the character! I think that the DC Comics’ Rebirth range is also a great place to either start or continue reading comics! I’ve been particularly enjoying Green Arrow, Nightwing and Titans! I am also super excited for Marvel’s new Jean Grey ongoing series and so, as a big fan of the character, I always recommend classic X-Men stories including the Dark Phoenix Saga, Phoenix Endsong and X-Men Origins Jean Grey #1! They’re some of my favourite ever comic books!


What are your plans for the coming year? 
I’m currently counting down the days until I graduate from the University of Surrey! I am looking forward to spending time in Florida over the summer at Disney and starting my teacher training in September. I also have plans to contact publishers with the Power Punch Boot Camp graphic novel and so I am keeping my fingers crossed for that one!

Many thanks to Ellie for finding the time to talk to us – we’re looking forward to hearing more about her research and wish her all the best with her PGCE and her graphic novel!

Comic Swap!

Has your comic club made a comic? Why not get involved in the new Comic Swap run by Hannah Sackett and Lydia Wysocki, with Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books

Hannah and Lydia tell us how it works…

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Comic Swap helps groups of children share comics they’ve made. Our first swap is now open!

How it works:
  • You, as the adult responsible for a children’s comics-making group, send 6 copies of your comic to us at Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books.
  • We add one copy of your comic to the Comic Swap library at Seven Stories.
  • We shuffle the comics sent to us by the groups taking part in the swap.
  • You wait excitedly by the letterbox to receive 5 comics made by other comic swap groups.
  • You read your new comics!

The closing date for emailed permission forms is Friday 7th April 2017.
The closing date for posted comics to arrive at Seven Stories is Friday 14th April 2017.
Swapped comics will be posted out in May 2017.

Each comics swap group must be formed of multiple children and at least one responsible adult. Please do not send us any money: your group pays postage costs to send your comics to us, then we pay the postage to send you 5 new comics made by other groups.

Visit our blog for full details of how to get involved: https://comicswap.wordpress.com/about/

Don’t worry if you don’t have a comic to swap this time round – there will be more Comic Swaps to come, so start making those comics now!

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Comic Club Spotlight with Dundee Comics Creative Space

This month we head to Dundee – birthplace of The Beano, The Dandy and many, many more comics. Damon Herd tells Hannah Sackett all about the brilliant Comic Clubs running at the Dundee Comics Creative Space.

Name of your Comic Club: Comics Club at Dundee Comics Creative Space

Where do you meet and how often? We meet every week in our own dedicated space in The Vision Building in Dundee. Tuesdays from 4.30-6.30pm for 10-13 year olds and every Wednesday from 4.30-6.30pm for 14-17 year olds. We also do outreach workshops at local schools and community groups.

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Average number of members: 15-20

How long have you been running? Since March 1st 2016

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Tell us about your club: DCCS is a social enterprise and studio project set up by the University of Dundee with funding from the The Rank Foundation. The aim is to provide educational workshops and to encourage creative learning through comics. Ink Pot, our studio, is filled with comics artists, many of whom are graduates of the comics courses atthe University and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design here in Dundee. The Ink Pot artists facilitate our workshops.

Most weeks we will do an exercise to learn a bit about comics but there will always be free drawing time. Sometimes we are working towards a publication, such as our anthology Tales From Dundee & Beyond, which was launched at Dundee Literary Festival last October. The Comics Clubbers also put together 8-page zine-style comics of their own work for the festival. Some of them became super entrepreneurs, handing out flyers and encouraging people to buy their comics! We also had an exhibition of comics in Dundee last year and the children’s comics were included in that too. Our connection with the University means we are able to get some great guests, such as Will Morris and Cam Kennedy. Dave Gibbons is our patron and did a workshop and portfolio review here when we first opened.

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Do you have a comic club activity you’d like to share: We love to start our workshops with warm up exercises and the favourite, by a long way, is consequences (or exquisite corpse), which always has everyone in stitches when the wacky characters are revealed at the end.

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Which comics should we be reading right now? Tales From Dundee and Beyond: Comics Club Comic Strips Volume 1. The anthology of strips by the young people in our workshops from the first six months of Comics Club – available from our website! The characters on the cover were designed for us by Glasgow-based artist Letty Wilson, who is a graduate of the Comics Masters at the University of Dundee. The Beano is still a favourite with our comics clubbers, and there is usually a Marvel/DC argument going on among some of them. Anything with a pug in it would be a big hit too. We looked at Lumberjanes a few weeks ago and that was popular, everyone started running round shouting ‘What the junk?’ Personally, I really like The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Love and Rockets and anything by Julia Gfrörer.

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What are your plans for the coming year? More of everything. More Comics Clubs, more anthology comics, more exhibitions, more guests, and more collaborations with other groups.

Where can we find out more? Here at our website. We also have a mailing list if folks want to be kept up to date with all things DCCS: http://eepurl.com/ct8XFn

Many thanks to Damon and to the members of the Comic Clubs for sharing their work!

 

 

Club Spotlight with Team Ketchup

Every month here at comicsclub.blog Hannah Sackett will be shining a spotlight on some of the great work being done at Comics Clubs around the country, to share some amazing kids’ comics and to help give you ideas you can try in your own groups. Let’s get things started with a visit to beautiful Yorkshire!

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Name of your Comic Club:

The Team Ketchup

Where do you meet and how often?

Once a month at Skipton Library, for a ‘Library Lock-in’ – we get to stay on after the library has closed to the public. When we’re judging for the British Comic Awards we meet once a week, but that’s only in the autumn.

 

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Average number of members:

30 members as we can’t take any more and there’s a waiting list. Ketchup Splats! the junior section has ten children at a time on six week courses, we have run two of these so far, and are planning some more to
get more children involved.

How long have you been running?

We started in 2013, just as judges for the British Comic Awards Young People’s Choice, but it really took off in 2014 when we decided to publish our own comic and take it to Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival in Leeds, and we haven’t stopped since!

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Tell us about your club: 

We are aged from 10 to 17, with members from seven different schools around Skipton area and beyond, run by parent volunteers and one employee of the library.  We all love reading comics or creating out own materials, and come together once a month to talk about our own comics, read each other’s materials, and make plans for events like Thought Bubble, Skipton’s Sheep Day and holding public comic-jams. We have published five issues of our comic ‘Pink Fluffy Ketchup Covered Flower Ponies ‘ (which was the original name of the group, but Team Ketchup is much easier to remember!) and have published a small run of the junior section’s comic Ketchup Splats!.

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We originally bid for some money from Craven Dragons’ Den so that we could publish one comic, but it seems to have grown since then. We have exhibited at Thought Bubble three times, and last year ran the family area of the convention, inviting the public to comic-jam with us, draw a doodle for our awesome doodle wall, or just to drop-in and draw with us. We won the Craven Community Champions Arts Award in 2015 and were runners up for the North Yorkshire Volunteer Awards for Best Community Group.

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We’ve had two artists come and do workshops with us and the public, Neill Cameron, creator of MegaRoboBros, Tamsin and the Deep and other Phoenix Comic stories,  and Dan White, creator and independent publisher of Cindy and Biscuit. These were really helpful and made a difference to our comic drawing style. We’ve also worked with other agencies who have realised how awesome comics are for communicating information, and we had a commission from Rural Action Yorkshire to make some materials to go out to schools with one of their campaigns. Mostly, the group is a fun place to meet up, make friends, make and read comics with like-minded people and eat biscuits. It just so happens that the members are developing a lot of skills along the way – bidding for money, meeting and selling to the public, talking to professional comic creators, marketing their materials, time management, meeting deadlines,  matching commission briefs,  democratic decision making and creativity.  But don’t tell the kids that!
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Do you have a comic club activity you’d like to share?

 Comic-jams are always fun and a great way to get people to work together. At public workshops we’ve had people in from age 4 to 84, and so many of them say they can’t draw or don’t know how to make a comic until they see how easy it is to develop a story working with someone else. Probably the most popular activity are the end of term parties that involve a lot of cake and balloons!

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Which comics should we be reading right now? 

Ooh, too hard a question! With thirty members there are so many different styles and genres of comics that are favourites. The Phoenix Comic is always popular with all members, even the older ones love the stories and different styles – most of us voted for Lost Tales by Adam Murphy for the British Comic Awards, which was the winner –it is beautiful and interesting, and has such detail in each story. Squirrel Girl and Ms Marvel are popular, Ghosts by Rainer Telgemeier, all the Hilda books by Luke Pearson, and of course, anything with Deadpool!

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What are your plans for the coming year? 

We will be creating and publishing Issue 6 in time for Skipton Sheep Day (yes, it’s a thing!) and will be selling the comic on a stall on the high street as well as holding a public comic-jam workshop. Last year we had over two hundred people so we’re hoping to beat that this year. We have plans to collaborate with the Reading Hacks and the Reading Agency in holding a competition to create some zines, that’s for the older members of the group. We might be able to run Ketchup Splats! again, depending on the older members of Team Ketchup who run it. We will be at Thought Bubble again, running the family area with drawing activities, and we might have time to produce another issue later in the year!

Many thanks to Alix for answering my questions! Find out more about Team Ketchup’s activities here: @theteamketchup

Please get in touch via the Contact page if you would like your comic club to be featured here!

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