Welcome to HistoryComics.
I have been a public high school social studies teacher for more than twelve years – in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. Throughout my entire life, including today, I have been an avid fan of comic books. As I began to take graduate coursework for a reading specialist degree, the women in my cohort (I was the only male) often lamented that boys just did not like to read; many also commented that males in general did not read much at all. As a life-long reader, I was caught a bit off-guard and asked what they were giving their male students to read. Ah – the lightbulb went off – I did not enjoy reading those titles either. I can remember being forced daily to wade through Anna Karenina in high school – ugh! Just not for me. I then brought up to my classmates the ideas of comic books and graphic novels – I was met with some resistance as to having students read comics. It was not their fault – most had never read a comic book and none had ever been to an actual comic book store. Sure – there are comic book titles that are fluff – but there are many romance novels that qualify as the same type of fluff. However, there are so many academic and challenging titles in comics as well – it is not 60’s camp Batman anymore. Writers of comics know that their audience is much more mature and academic than ever before. I knew then what my Masters thesis would be – using comic books in the classroom.
It has been several years since I completed my Masters Degree – I have been able to put much of my learning to good use. I have managed to include several comics in my classroom over the past few years – I would like to include more. This wiki is an attempt to help us share resources and ideas – it has taken me a lot of research to find these titles – I have not been able to find any sort of complete “list” of titles that would make it easy – so here we go!
Please don’t think comics are just for boys – many girls love them, and many boys would never read one. I teach a comic book course during a specialized session that our high school offers twice in a six day cycle. The students are allowed to choose from many different options – both academic and “fun”. Whenever I offer the comic book session, it is standing room only and there are as many female as male students. I love being able to connect with my students in a different way other than the textbook – and it is something for which I have a life-long passion.
There are so many ways to open students’ eyes to history – it can be great if Spiderman, Batman, and other characters can make it even more engaging for all of us.
Check out my wikispaces – a database of comics about history – some lesson plans, reviews, etc. all categorized by time period – http://historycomics.wikispaces.com/
Send me a line – Historycomicsguy@gmail.com
Western Civilization – 9th grade. Academic and Honors.
AP European History
Social Studies Department Chair’Historycomicsguy@gmail.com