J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Colonial Comics Coming in 2014

As long as I’m discussing book projects like Reporting the Revolutionary War, I’ll highlight another new project I’m involved in. Here’s the scoop from editor Jason Rodriguez in an interview with the Massachusetts Historical Society’s Emilie Haertsch:

1. Tell us about your current project with Fulcrum Publishing editing graphic novels on colonial New England.

Colonial Comics is a series of graphic novel anthologies about colonial life up to and a little bit beyond the American Revolution. The first book, scheduled to be released in the spring/summer of 2014, will focus on the early settlement of New England. The book will feature stories of pilgrims and Puritans, Pequots and pirates, midwives and printing presses, whales and livestock, slavery and frontiers, and many other aspects of colonial life. The second book, scheduled to be released in the fall/winter of 2014, will focus on the pre-Revolutionary period. It will depict the unconventional stories of Revolutionary men and women, the early ideas and seemingly insignificant moves that brought about revolution, and a shot that was heard around the world. . . .

4. Why do you think comics are a good medium for exploring history?

Comics tend to immerse the reader in the time period. Every panel is a moment in time, and each moment allows the reader to pause and take note of the buildings and the dress and the people. Since the words are printed on the page in little balloons, the reader can note the dialog and the pacing. There’s also a layer of subtext you get with comics that you don’t necessarily get with books and film. When someone is in panel for an entire story and hardly says a line of dialog it says a lot about that character and how he or she fits into the context of the story. And of course there’s the narrative aspect. These historic figures become interesting characters within the stories. Readers are inspired to learn more about them, either on their own or in their courses.
The image above is from a real colonial comic, word balloons and all: it’s a detail from Paul Revere’s print “A View of the Year 1765” showing a supposed Stamp Act supporter hanging in effigy.

3 comments:

RodFleck said...

Really excited to hear about this project. Been working w/my kids' Children of the American Revolution chapter and having more ways to engage kids on this critical period of time in history is really important. Great project!

Joanq said...




So who do you think was H-- K--?

J. L. Bell said...

That's actually "H—k," a slightly misspelled reference to John Huske.