February 2022 Educational Series

February 2022 Educational Series

THURSDAY, FEB. 17, 2022

February 2022 Educational Series

This month we explore lessons from The Expanse that can be used in the classroom and in life to help us become our best selves

Being Your Best Protomolecule! Lessons for the Classroom from The Expanse •

In the James S.A. Corey book series The Expanse, now an Amazon Prime Video show of the same name, the protomolecule is a relentless cosmic entity that changes everything it touches, yet its origins and intentions are unknown. Faced with such a powerful force of change, the story’s characters teach us why life’s hard-earned assumptions are so important, as well as how they can become blinders if we refuse to check them. Join Dark Loops Productions “The Expanse Crew” for a lively, psychological, philosophical, fan-based discussion of how we can all face change by working to be our best protomolecule. Panelists include: Kelsey Williams, a.k.a. Sistah K (Sistah Speak Productions/indie film maker), Jennifer Williams a.k.a. Sistah J (Sistah Speak Productions/author), Dr. Leandra Parris (William & Mary), and moderated by Dr. J. Scott Jordan (Illinois State University, Dark Loops Productions).

January 2022 Educational Series

January 2022 Educational Series

THURSDAY, JAN. 20, 2022

January 2022 Educational Series

We start 2022 by discussing ways comics can connect with neurodivergent readers, also a group of psychologists and comic creators talk about working together to make a more encouraging world, and a discussion about taking learning to the next level by empowering students through authentic learning experiences.

Comics and Neurodiversity •

The visual storytelling medium of comics can engage neurodivergent readers in powerful ways. From social stories to facial expressions, comics offer a means of learning and communication that are uniquely helpful to neurodiverse learners such as those with ADHD or on the autistic spectrum. Join us as we discuss the ways comics can connect with neurodivergent readers and provide them access to literacy and education. With comic creators Jake and Led Bradshaw (Jake Jetpulse), Matt Dunford (Chair, San Diego Comic Fest), and author Sally Pla (Stanley Will Probably Be Fine). Moderator: Jana Tropper (Director of Literacy, Reading With Pictures).

We Can be Heroes? Saving the World in Your Best Way! •

As our favorite comic book characters struggle with moral dilemmas, battle big baddies, and punch their way through problems, we might say to ourselves, “But I’m not that type of person. Can I be a hero?” This panel brings together a group of psychologists and comic creators to discuss the multiple, diverse ways we can all be heroes, in our own way. Panelists will discuss comic book characters who struggle with the notion of heroism, as well as research on diversity, differences, and the seemingly unending number of ways we can work together to make a more uplifting, encouraging world. Panelists include Mr. Victor Dandridge, Jr. (Vantage: Inhouse Productions), Dr. Vanessa Hintz (Alverno College, Vivid Insights Consulting), Dr. J. Scott Jordan (Illinois State University, Dark Loops Productions), and Dr. Leandra Parris (William & Mary School of Education).

The Joy of Owning One’s Own Learning Journey Through Authentic Learning Experiences •

Aaron Maurer (Coffee For The Brain, Smart Robotics with LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor), Beth Campbell (teacher-librarian, Forest Grove Elementary), and Sarah Vice (6th grade educator, Forest Grove Elementary) share many ideas to enhance authentic learning for students. This is not a list of apps or tools, but examples of teachers who have crafted quality projects, authentic learning opportunities, and the space to learn deeply to take learning to the next level by empowering students to take the driver seat in learning.

August 2021 Educational Series


August 2021 Educational Series

THURSDAY, AUG. 19, 2021

August 2021 Educational Series

This month’s Educational Series delves into ways to improve teaching strategies with graphic novels, gaining skill through digital gameplay, and the creative process behind a series of graphic biographies for younger readers.

Teaching the Teachers: Resources and Strategies for Upping Your Teaching Graphic Novels Game •

So you want to teach with graphic novels. GREAT! what? Tune in to a conversation of expert teachers, researchers, and practitioners as we talk about the strategies, resources, and the lessons we learned along the way to improve the way to teach with this highly effective medium. Panelists are Bill Boerman-Cornell (Using Graphic Novels in the English Language Arts Classroom, Trinity Christian College), Britta Beardsley (teacher, professional development facilitator--Great Minds), Meryl Jaffe (Worth a Thousand Words, educational consultant), Shveta Miller (Hacking Graphic Novels, literacy specialist). Moderated by Talia Hurwich (Worth a Thousand Words, NYU).

Video Games That Can Grant Real Superpowers •

In 2021, everyone is staying at home playing video games OR learning new skills online to get new jobs. But what if you could do both at the same time? Engage with an exclusive panel of game designers and developers who have redesigned the way we gain real-world power-up through video and digital gameplay. The panel will consist of Eric Basu (CEO & founder, Sentek Global Haiku Cybersecurity), Nicholas Bonardi (audio director, Ubisoft), and will be moderated by Francis Kong, MD (curator & founder, Imagine Talks). Join them and learn that when the game ends in the virtual world is the time your bonus life could begin in the real one.

Show Me History™: How to Create a Successful Nonfiction Graphic Series •

In this panel, the creators of the popular 17-book (and counting!) Show Me History™(ages 8 to 12) graphic biography series explore and explain their collaborative storytelling process. Authors Mark Shulman and James Buckley Jr. lead a lively discussion on the creative process with graphic artist Cassie Anderson and well-known lettering guru John Roshell. Expect plenty of insight on producing your own true stories as these creatives share how each person's specialties improved on the others'. The final results are fast, funny, and factual full-color graphic biographies that Show YOU History!


June 2021 Educational Series


June 2021 Comic-Con Educational Series

THURSDAY, JUN. 17, 2021

June 2021 Educational Series

This month’s Educational Series features three panels from the Comics Arts Conference. The CAC is an academic conference hosted by Comic-Con International with the mission of bringing together comics scholars, professionals, critics, and historians to discuss comics with the public.

"To Valhalla!": Norse Mythology Interpretation in Comic Books and Media •

Norse Mythology has become a topic of fascination and exploration for comic book writers, movie screenplay directors, and video game developers. But how closely do these comic book and media depictions interpret Norse mythology, the plights of the gods and their interaction with other gods and beings, locations such as Asgard and Valhalla, and prophecies such as Ragnarok? This panel analyzes how several franchises engage with Norse mythology. Daisy Herrera (University of California Riverside) analyzes Dark Horse’s Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla comics with Ubisoft’s 2020 Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla video game. Semaj Garbutt (California State University, Los Angeles) explores the Dark Horse God of War comics with Santa Monica Studios’ 2018 God of War game. Jovi Hinojosa (California State University, Los Angeles) cross-examines Marvel’s Thor: God of Thunder and Loki series with the MCU film. Through these analyses, the panel showcases the translations and interpretations of Norse mythology and its impact on comic books and other media.

Beyond the Panel •

Comics are made up of more than drawings. Christine Mugnolo (Antelope Valley College) traces how the entrance of the word balloon into sequential art revolutionized the medium of comics.  Stephen Connor (Nipissing University) performs a close reading of the letters page of DC’s Blitzkrieg to juxtapose the comic’s intention of showing World War II through enemy eyes with the responses of the readership. Sam Cowling (Denison University) considers the moral dimensions of comic re-colorization, drawing upon the proposed recoloring of Alan Moore’s The Saga of Swamp Thing and the broader treatment of Marie Severin’s work as a colorist.  Finally, John Rodzvilla (Emerson College) looks at how some comics creators have used advanced web layouts to create true digital comics.

Comics Around the World •

These three panelists consider how the medium of comics works from a variety of international approaches.  Jasleen Kandhari (University of Oxford) considers the influence of the master of modern Sikh art, Sobha Singh, on the representation of the gurus in Sikh comics using the iconographic approach to the study of works of art.  Nabanita Mitra (Women's Christian College) situates the daring exploits of Bahadur (The Brave One), a quintessential Indian super-cop comics hero, in the context of 1970–80s India from banditry to espionage.  Abhilasha Gusain (Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee) analyses two graphic narratives by Clement Baloup, Vietnamese Memories: Leaving Saigon and Vietnamese Memories: Little Saigon, to outline the various potential strategies and techniques comics can employ to sensitize readers to the sufferings of others and make them hospitable to life narratives from the margins.

Click here to go to the Educational Panels playlist on YouTube!

May 2021 Educational Series


May 2021 Comic-Con Educational Series

THURSDAY, MAY 20, 2021

May 2021 Educational Series

This month's panels explore what it takes to put on an educational pop-up exhibit, a behind-the-scenes look at a graphic novel that's also a science book, and strategies for including comics in high school curricula. 

“How Did You Survive”: Using Interactive Displays to Teach About The Holocaust •

There is more to education than what is in a book. Education can be displayed on panels. Holocaust educators Susan Dubin, Esther Toporek Finder, and Heidi Straus talk with Sandra Scheller (Try To Remember Never Forget) about displaying books and creating pop up panels that can be used as an interactive display. Both Esther Finder and Heidi Straus created the pop up exhibit “How Did You Survive” These Holocaust themed panels can be used practically anywhere. Learn to create panels by starting with a theme and include personal experiences.

The Curie Society: Centering Science in Graphic Novels •

Do books and fiction have a role in science education? We certainly think so. This panel provides a behind-the-scenes view of The Curie Society, an original graphic novel created by Heather Einhorn & Adam Staffaroni (Lethal Lit, Daughters of DC, Free Hexel) of Einhorn’s Epic Productions and published by MIT Press (in stores now). It’s an exciting story with real science, inspirational characters, and some creative history. Join moderator Nadja Oertelt (Massive Science) in conversation with panelists Joy Barnes-Johnson (science educator), Kasia Chmielinski (science advisor), and Janet Harvey (The Curie Society).

Kapow! Woosh! Zap! Electrifying Learning Through Comics in the High School Classroom •

With a focus on comics in the high school classroom, this group of super teachers is excited to share their passion for comics with their students by creating rich educational experiences using comics as a medium. In this panel we discuss some of our favorite comics to teach, as well as resources and strategies for teaching comics in the classroom. Find the slides at and additional resources at Panelists: Facilitator, Jewyl Alderson Clarke (Integrated Curriculum Coordinator, San Diego County Office of Education), Mick Rabin (Youth Advocacy Department, San Diego Unified High School District), Dizzy Rogosin (History, Olympian High School, Sweetwater UHSD), Joanna Sargent (Librarian, Garden Road Elementary, Poway USD), and Scott Nielsen (Special Education, Santana High School, Grossmont UHSD).

Click here to go to the Educational Panels playlist on YouTube!

April 2021 Educational Series


April 2021 Comic-Con Educational Series

THURSDAY, APR. 15, 2021

April 2021 Educational Series

The month’s panels look at a group of people doing inspiring things in education, explore storytelling from a variety of perspectives in kids comics, and how to choose graphic novels for students.

The Superhero League of Learning •

Join Francis Kong, as he moderates a panel of special individuals who are doing amazing things in education and who have been inspired by childhood superheroes. On this panel, you'll meet Jim Kwik (National best-selling author of Limitless) - whose mission is to help people improve the ways they learn new materials through his books and online media resources, Eric Basu, (Former Navy SEAL Commander and Founder of The World of Haiku) - who has created an online cyberpunk game that teaches actual hacking skills and train players to qualify for real-world six-figure cybersecurity careers and Tina Kim (Middle School Teacher of Year Recipient and 2018 Miss Asian Global Scholastic Title Holder) - who integrates pop culture, games, movies, costumes, stories, and imagination into her classes to inspire our future leaders. Come see how they are challenging and breaking the archaic system of education with innovative insights on not just the subjects we teach, but more importantly, how we could and should better teach the next generation.

Exploring Culture in Kids Comics •

Author-illustrators Rumi Hara (NORI), Kiku Hughes (DISPLACEMENT), and Jose Pimienta (SUNCATCHER) discuss their new graphic novels featuring POC protagonists, with middle school librarian Carla Riemer. This conversation goes beyond the importance of D&I in kids comics, to celebrate excellent storytelling from a variety of perspectives. Produced by the CBC Graphic Novel Committee.

How to Find and Choose Graphic Novels for Students •

Looking for graphic novels for your students? Help is on the way! The current boom in graphic novel publishing has created a dizzying array of high-quality graphic novels over a wide range of genres, topics, and audiences. Join our awesome group of teachers and librarians as we discuss where to find high-quality reviews and title  recommendation lists, how to choose titles and match readers to texts and tasks, where to find books in both print and digital formats, and more. Jillian Ehlers (NYC School Librarian, NYCSLA President), Shveta Miller (author of Hacking Graphic Novels, Literacy Consultant and Instructional Coach, Director of Curriculum at Reading With Pictures), Karina Quilantán-Garza, MLS (Library Media Specialist, Texas Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List Committee Member), Christina Taylor (Librarian, VP Social Media, Reading With Pictures), Jana Tropper (Speech Language Pathologist, Director of Literacy, Reading With Pictures). Moderator: Tracy Edmunds (VP K-12 Education, Reading With Pictures)

Click here to go to the Educational Panels playlist on YouTube!

Cardboard Superheroes – Teachers Edition!


Pop Culture STEAM Curriculum

THURSDAY, FEB. 25, 2021

Cardboard Superheroes – Teachers Edition!

Attention educators! Looking for a way to infuse some extra fun into the classroom? Check out Cardboard Superheroes – Teachers Edition!

The brand-new Pop Culture STEAM Curriculum builds Next Generation Science Standards onto our love for iconic characters. Each hands-on lesson is designed to enhance student creativity while helping develop artistic skills, math comprehension, basic engineering and architecture techniques, design processes, and even inspire future career paths. Over the course of 10 tutorials, students will build mini-cardboard models such as Captain America’s Shield, Wall-E, and more. For teachers, each model will include pre-recorded video instruction, PDF templates, student worksheets, reference images, and teacher guides. To see a more detailed overview of the curriculum, download the Guide and Overview here.

Ready to get started? We sure are!

February 2021 Educational Series


February 2021 Comic-Con Educational Series

THURSDAY, FEB. 18, 2021

February 2021 Educational Series

This month’s panels explore humor in kid comics, reading and learning through visual storytelling, and the connection between creativity and mental health.

Laugh & Learn: Humor in Kids Comics •

What do you call a graphic novel with no humor? An adult graphic novel! But seriously: humor is key to many beloved children’s comics. In this panel, discover new funny books that will leave kids gleefully giggling and loving to read. Panelists include Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate), Sarah Kuhn (The Riverdale Diaries), Mika Song (Donut Feed The Squirrels), and Art Baltazar (Gillbert). The discussion will be moderated by Brigid Alverson (School Library Journal).

Comics and the Art of Visual Storytelling •

With the growing global awareness of visual literacy, there are elements of storytelling that have always been a natural part of our reading and learning experience. These panelists will talk about what these elements are, how they have developed and why the comics world has always been an important part of our reading and learning. Panelists include story consultant/author/master storyteller Kendall Haven (Story Smart: Using the Science of Story to Persuade, Inspire, Influence, and Teach), Professor of Art + Design Education at Northern Illinois University Dr. Kerry Freedman (Teaching Visual Culture) and award-winning freelance writer, comic book creator, playwright, teaching artist, international and educational consultant Alex Simmons (Blackjack). Moderated by publishing industry veteran John Shableski (Reading With Pictures).

The Importance of a Creative Outlet for Mental Health •

This year has brought the importance of mental health to our full attention. With thousands of people losing their jobs, the uncertainty of the world's future, and the deaths of many loved ones, we need new ways to keep our spirits up and our hopes strong. Join us as we discuss the connection between creativity and mental health with Dr. Steven Chan (Clinical Assistant Professor, Standford Medical Center), Dr. Alicia Zhou (Chief Science Officer, Color), and Liezl Fernando (Manufacturing Engineer, Bluepoint Controls) - Moderated by Dr. Francis Kong (Curator & Founder, Imagine Talks). They will share their insights on how to create a healthier mental outlook as we break through this challenge in our history together.

Click here to go to the Educational Panels playlist on YouTube!

January 2021 Educational Series


January 2021 Comic-Con Educational Series

THURSDAY, JAN. 21, 2021

January 2021 Educational Series

Our first group of panels look at comics for K-2nd grade readers, teaching graphic novels on college campuses, and teaching civic awareness with comics.

Comics for the Youngest Readers (K-2) •

Creators Jenni Holm (Babymouse, My First Comics), Andy Runton (Owly), Dan Santat (Harold and Hog Pretend for Real, The Cookie Fiasco), and Jeff Smith (Bone, Little Mouse Gets Ready) chat with Debbie Huey (Programming Specialist for San Mateo County Libraries and creator of Bumperboy) and moderator Tracy Edmunds (Graphic Novels are Elementary!) about comics for K-2 readers. Find out why comics are a great medium for boosting literacy and practicing comprehension skills, and enjoy fascinating stories about the creation of these fantastic books.

The Complexities of Teaching Graphic Novels on College Campuses • 

It's taken a while, but there's never been a time when graphic novels and comics have been so embraced by universities and colleges in formal classes, studies and even comic conventions. This panel provides an inside look at ground-breaking courses by the professionals and academics who are bringing Geek Culture to campuses nationwide (and beyond)! Join Paul Levitz (Columbia University), Rob Salkowitz (University of Washington), Frank Cammuso (Syracuse University) Darlyne Overbaugh (Ithaca College), Chris Irving (Virginia Commonwealth University) and moderator Ed Catto (Ithaca College).

Continuing John Lewis' "March": Comics to Teach Civic Awareness •

Panelist Meryl Jaffe, PhD (educational consultant/author, Worth A Thousand Words: Using Graphic Novels to Teach Visual and Verbal Literacy), Talia Hurwich (doctoral candidate, NYU and author Worth A Thousand Words: Using Graphic Novels to Teach Visual and Verbal Literacy), Andrew Aydin (author March, and Registered), Fred Van Lente (author Action Activists, Action Philosophers, Action Presidents) Ryan Dunlavey (author Action Activists, Action Philosophers, Action Presidents), Jenna Ryall (Senior Instructional Specialist, NYCDOE), Brian Carlin (Senior Instructional Specialist, NYCDOE) and Yohuru Williams (founding Director of the Racial Justice Initiative, University of St. Thomas, author Teaching U.S. History Beyond the Textbook discuss: the importance of March when teaching civics; how Senator John Lewis helped shape our world today - engaging so many in thought, in action, and in civil service; and  how we use March to teach civics in New York City classrooms.

Click here to go to the Educational Panels playlist on YouTube!