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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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Rounding Out the “History in Comics” Panel in Cambridge, 4 Oct.

As I’ve mentioned, on Saturday I’m moderating a panel at the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo in Cambridge about “History in Comics.”

Two of the panelists are Jason Rodriguez, editor of the new Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750, and E. J. Barnes, a contributor to that collection.

The third is Ellen T. Crenshaw, who with her husband Matt Boehm created a story for Colonial Comics on Roger Williams’s founding of Rhode Island. A few years back they also created a short comic about Mark Twain’s encounter with the Boston literary establishment, including “Paul Revere’s Ride” poet Henry W. Longfellow, which you can read here. The Boston Comics Roundtable published that story in Inbound 4, now sold out.

Also on the panel is Eleri Mai Harris, a Tasmania-born journalist who came to the U.S. of A. to explore how to do history and journalism in comics. Among her creations is “The Battle of Lake Champlain,” about a crucial encounter in the War of 1812 (known on land as the Battle of Plattsburgh). Lots of redcoats in that story, but Eleri acknowledges most wouldn’t have been seen back then:
During the War of 1812 American and British naval uniforms were virutally identical. . . . I made the conscious choice to depict the British in red uniforms across the board, which is not historically accurate, but is much easier to read in the comic form.
Storytelling choices like that are one challenge I hope we’ll get to.

Finally, we have Dave Ortega, creator of “Battle of Juarez 1911” and other graphic explorations of the history of the U.S. and Mexico. Providing some New England historical content, Ortega’s painting “Massachusett Never Forget” is on display until 18 October at the Boston Contemporary Art Museum for Contemporary Art, Artists, and Their Contemporaries, resurrected at Mobius.

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