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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Sunday, April 05, 2015

Colonial Comics Classes and Events in April

During Massachusetts’s upcoming school vacation week, I’ll speak about the Colonial Comics series alongside top editor Jason Rodriguez, my fellow assistant editor A. David Lewis, and other contributors and comics creators in various combinations.

We’ll talk about the art and mystery of making history comics in two types of events: workshops designed for creative kids and evening talks for anybody interested in translating history into graphic form.

Tuesday, 21 April, 2:00 to 4:00 P.M.
Family Day Program for Young Historians, Parents & Grandparents
Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston
Come to M.H.S. during the school vacation week for a hands-on history program. Historian J. L. Bell will tell participants the story of the riots that followed the passage of the Stamp Act in 1765 from an eighteenth-century child’s point of view: young people participated in marches to Liberty Tree and witnessed the ransacking of Thomas Hutchinson’s mansion.

After that talk, local comic book artists associated with the Boston Comics Roundtable, Fulcrum Publishing, and the Massachusetts Historical Society will help the young historians make their own historical comic depicting the conflict over the Stamp Act. Finished comics will be part of a temporary display. This workshop is free, but registration is required.

Tuesday, 21 April, 5:30 to 7:00 P.M.
Author Talk: Colonial Comics with Jason Rodriguez
Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston
Colonial Comics editor Jason Rodriguez will speak about the process of putting the collection together, ensuring historical accuracy, and selecting the topics to be covered. He will discuss how this illustrated book brings to light tales about free thinkers, Pequots, Jewish settlers, female business owners, dedicated schoolteachers, whales and livestock, slavery and frontiers, and other aspects of colonial life.

This talk will be followed by a Colonial Comics Happy Hour open to M.H.S. Associate Members (age forty and under). Those members are invited to a nearby restaurant with Rodriguez to continue the discussion about historical events as subject matter for comic books and graphic novels. Registration required at no cost. Please call 617-646-0543 for more information.

Wednesday, 22 April, 7:00 P.M.
Colonial Comics Book Talk and Signing
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge
The store welcomes Eisner Award nominee Jason Rodriguez and local writer J. L. Bell for a discussion of Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750. Co-sponsored by Mass Humanities. Free.

“In the first of three proposed anthologies, beautifully produced comics reveal the rich, often overlooked lives of Native Americans, women, and servants in colonial New England. Each of the two dozen selections is based on primary sources, and most pieces feature individuals whose names can be found fairly readily elsewhere. Unlike those other resources, however, the selections in this anthology take the vantage point of more marginalized groups, bringing attention to the people history has tended to view as mere props to stories featuring white male upper-class settlers.” —Booklist

Thursday, 23 April, 10:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.
History, in Panels: A Comic Book Making Workshop
Concord Museum, Concord, Massachusetts
Make your own comic book! Professional comic-book artists and writers will introduce kids to the world of comic-book creation and mentor them as they create their own history-themed comics. Working with editor and writer Jason Rodriguez, along with artists behind Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750 and the upcoming Colonial Comics: New England, 1750-1775, participants will get a hands-on look at how a historical comic book story is created, from working with primary and secondary sources, piecing a narrative together, and finding references, to illustrating the piece.

Then participants will create a comic of their own using first-hand accounts from colonial Concord, as well as objects and images from the Concord Museum’s collection. The workshop is designed for ages 8-16. The cost is $10 per person for museum members, $15 for others. Register online or by calling (978) 369-9763, ext. 216.

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