Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Nickelodeon Magazine comics

The Best of Nickelodeon Magazine All-Comics Special

I would never, ever have picked this up in a grocery store and I would never have guessed what treasures were inside. With The Fairly Odd Parents on the cover, I automatically assumed that it would be nothing but branded junk from the network. Wrong! There are a Sponge Bob and an Oddparents strip at the beginning and the end, but sandwiched in between is such comic-y goodness! Strips, interviews, gags, and games by young, talented creators like Charise Mericle Harper, Souther Salazar, Andy Ristaino, and Jason Shiga (Eisner and Ignatz winner). Not convinced? How about Gahan Wilson, James Kochalka, Craig Thompson, and Jordan Crane? Thought that might get your attention.

In addition to the strips and gags, which really will make you laugh, this is a really wonderful way to get your creative juices flowing and learn more about how comics work. There are two great games – match the missing item to its gag (Robert Leighton), and mixed-up word balloons (Craig Thompson) – and lots of gags which really get you thinking about how to tell an entire story in one panel. The “how to” strips by Ellen Forney and Gahan Wilson and the interview with gag writers Felipe Galindo, Johnny Ryan, and Karen Sneider were so inspirational and instructive that I actually got out my crayons and drew some comics – for the first time ever!

Sarah says: I liked the Nickelodeon comics because there are many different stories and all of them are cool. I liked the Gag Station because it’s by all these different artists and each one is only one picture. They are funny and I especially like Ian Baker’s because it’s about a teenage fish getting her lip pierced and it made me laugh.

Shelby says: It’s all about how to make comics. There’s the kind that it could go different ways, like a maze. There’s some really interesting ones like “The Worst Comic Book Villains That Never Existed,” like Doctor Buckethead, Pants-On-Head-Man, and the Crayoniacs, who wear dog costumes and draw on people’s walls. I also like the one called “Rules for Falling in Public.”

The All-Comics Special, especially the Forney and Gahan bits and the interview with the gag writers, is a must-have for anyone teaching kids about making comics. This would also be a great little booster shot of creativity for anyone who writes or draws funny stuff. Next time you see a Nickelodeon Magazine in the grocery check-out line, pick it up and look for The Comic Book – you’ll be surprised. Check out some samples at the Nickmag Comics Livejournal.


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