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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Friday, September 25, 2009

Stan Mack and Susan Champlin Visit Boston

Yesterday I shared some general thoughts about Road to Revolution!, a new graphic novel for young readers about the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. As they created that book, Stan Mack and Susan Champlin visited the area to look at the actual buildings that play a role in their story.

Thus, when teenagers Nick and Penny attend Dr. Joseph Warren’s March 1775 oration commemorating the Boston Massacre, we see Old South Meeting-house and its galleries. When they visit Gen. George Washington’s headquarters, we see the mansion that is now Longfellow National Historic Site (albeit with its 1790s porches on either side).

And here’s the sequence in which Nick climbs the stairs inside the steeple of Old North Church to send the lantern signal on 19 Apr 1775. That page shows off another strength of this comic: the practiced pacing. Mack and Champlin could have cut from the second panel to the next page, which shows Nick at the top of the steeple. But by showing him mounting flight after flight, with sexton Robert Newman deflecting soldiers below, they raise the tension and give readers a better sense of Nick’s effort. Those church towers have a lot of steps!

Stan Mack and Susan Champlin are returning to Boston this weekend to sign copies of Road to Revolution! at the Paul Revere House in the North End. They’ll be there from 1:00 to 3:00 P.M.

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