Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Interlude: A day of CCS is like a day of...

As I'm bundling off to the north country for the day, here's a brief break from the comics-industry-related posts.

Today the online University of Vermont class that I've been teaching with filmmaker Walter Ungerer comes to an end. I've just posted the new day's (and final) online material, and save for the discussion board exchange to come, that's that for the active engagement. Final projects and journal assessment, and then grading, follow next week.

It's been a two-week one-credit class built around a diverse selection of Walter's films -- which they access via a three-DVD set purchased with the class workbook, viewing one short film per night and a feature and two shorts during the two weekends -- and a lively ride. This is the second year Walter and I have done this, and if all goes well we'll be doing it again. I'll keep you posted.

For me, there are longterm implications. Having learned some of the ins and outs of this particular online teaching technology and venue, I can see where this is an ideal medium for teaching comics -- and hope that may be realized one day (perhaps in conjunction with the Center for Cartoon Studies and Henderson State University, or mayhaps they and The Joe Kubert School? I can dream, can't I?). If so, count me in as an instructor.

It's been an intensive educator-oriented couple of weeks for me, between CCS preparations, seeing to/co-teaching the UVM online class daily, and popping in at Bennington VT's Mt. Anthony High School last week to deliver three lectures on comics, graphic novels, and my work in a row to a mixed group of high school students. The zinger for all three groups were my panel-by-panel presentations of some of my own comics works, including complete stories; the popular fave (coaxing gasps and chatter from the crowd as the last panel appeared and I read the final caption) was "Sleeper", a four-page horror tale originally published in Shriek (FantaCo Enterprises), and two of the groups also enjoyed a reading/showing of "Seeker", which originally saw print in Secrets of Haunted House (DC Comics). So, two ghost stories and a lot of comics, graphic novel, and personal history from yours truly, heavily illustrated (thanks to the power of laptop computer slide show technology), all in 45-50 minute timeslots. Whew -- still, all have gone well. I'll be doing it all over again in Danville in February, and elsewhere, no doubt, before the winter is over.

I've also been cranking on two scripts, which may account for tonight's sleepless night. Between too much time at the keyboard/computer and too much whirling in my head (it's been great fun to reconnect with the medium comics via these scripts, which I won't be drawing -- no, I'm not telling!), I found myself just laying in the dark for two-three hours while Marge snoozed beside me, so I tottered downstairs to type this post as today's entry. Afterwards, back to bed, and hopefully some sound sleep!

I'm visiting my filmmaking friend Nora Jacobson this afternoon (the director of the excellent My Mother's Early Lovers and Nothing Like Dreaming) before popping in to the Center for Cartoon Studies to powwow with James Sturm and Michelle Ollie over some end-of-semester stuff from last month and some before-next-semester stuff in anticipation of the new semester starting on the 23rd of this month.

Then it's time to hunker down with the students stranded in White River Junction during break over a pizza and some beverage and brighten their night with a private screening of my favorite Mexi-Monster movie El Baron del Terror aka The Brainiac, in which Abel Salazar slyly silver-spoons brain bon mots between bouts of Liberace-like suave and transformations into his head-inflating, tubular-double-digit-twitching madness as -- the Brainiac! Per usual, I'm also icing the program with some weird & wild short subjects, adding up to two hours of big fun before I slip & slide the 90 minute ride home.

No, sorry, you can't come with.

But, thanks to Al Nickerson (thanks, Al!), who brought the following link to my attention yesterday, you can vicariously visit the CCS online right now right
  • here!

  • (Oddly enough, the moniker for Tim, the man behind the CCS online tour, is "Tundraboy" -- man, can't we ever get away from Tundra?? BTW, neither CCS nor I have anything to do with the site Tim sponsors or his post, so enjoy the non-commercial peek at CCS.)

    So, like, we'll sorta like see you there, but -- well, not.