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Monday, September 06, 2010

Suspended Animation Review - Comic Book Literacy

As a 35-year comics fan, it’s always satisfying to me when I find the medium of comic books examined in a meaningful way. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to happen enough by way of video documentary. However, for fans of comic books, there is a new light on the horizon…

The documentary, Comic Book Literacy, by Todd Kent, is an engrossing piece containing interviews with the likes of Art Spiegelman, Joe Quesada, Paul Dini, Scott McCloud, and many more professional comics producers. Using a bit of the medium’s history to kick things off, the doc is, for the most part, concerned with comics as meaningful literature. To that end, there is some concentration on various organizations which work to get comics into libraries, schools, and even into the hands of our troops overseas.

There is also contained within the documentary, a well-defined explanation of why the comic book medium can be so instrumental to the development of the ability to read in children; to wit, it’s ability to use narration in pictures, and word balloons, to pique a child’s curiosity as to what characters are saying. When compared to the more traditional storybook, or chapter book, it’s easy to see why this is true. And, of course, it’s something that many comics fans have known for quite some time. Viewers of the documentary will even discover the usefulness of comics as part of the process of learning and teaching a second language.

Comic Book Literacy is much more than a video cheerleader for those who are already fans. It is a serious look at the value of the medium, and a must-see for parents, librarians, and education professionals.

Especially satisfying to me are the appearances of Michael Vance, John Suter PhD, and R.A. Jones, all Suspended Animation alumni.

Comic Book Literacy is currently being submitted to film festivals, and enjoying public screenings at various comic book conventions. Hopefully, a distribution deal will be worked out for 2011. It is highly recommended for those mentioned above, as well as fans of pop culture itself.

Learn more about the documentary at www.comicbookliteracy.com.