Graphic Novels On Stage

Showcase 2011

I couldn’t blame my students for being nervous. Being young “graphic novelists”, they’re naturally introverts (for the most part). They sit at tables in a classroom two days a week and design characters, think up stories, and draw comics. The most contact they expected to have with the public was maybe somebody reading their printed comic book. And here I was asking them to stand on stage at the Broadway Performance Hall and show their work to a live audience at Arts Corps’ Showcase event for 2011. And it was a packed house!

How did we show off the work of young graphic novelists at a performance event? Thanks to a program called Powerpoint (which is usually thought of as projecting endless pie charts to bored executives), we were able to project images of the students’ art, bigger than life, on the screen. My students gathered on stage (with no little anxiety) and we talked about what was being shown.

I gave them the option of talking into the handheld mic, or letting me talk about their work. Out of six students, two were willing to talk to the audience, which was really quite brave. Keep in mind that these are third, fourth, and fifth graders.

The most talkative of the students not only talked about his comics (an adventure story set in WWII), but told the audience how much he looked forward to the after-school graphic novel class because it was the one time during the week when he was able to draw. I was not expecting to hear this. I assured the audience, with a smile, that he had not been coaxed into saying it. And inside I felt really glad that I’m a teaching artist.

See a selection of my students’ work here:

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