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Thoughts About Comics #2

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My Comics Classroom

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Thoughts About Comics is a new column for the comic book section of About.com. It is a collection of my musings and ramblings about the comic book world, industry, it's creators, future, and whatever else I want to add to this list. This time out I look at how comic books have impacted my everyday life and hopefully others as well.

My love of comic books, much like yours I imagine, goes beyond just reading comic books. If you are the typical collector then I bet you have some action figures, maybe a poster, print or if your lucky a piece of comic art. You might wear a shirt with their logo on it, sport a tattoo, or even name your kid after your favorite comic book characters. Comic books have had that much affect on most of us that all of these are not out of the question. I know a guy who's wife said they couldn't name their kid after a comic book character but when he suggested "Logan" she was all for it. It wasn't until years later when the X-Men movie came out that she realized she had been bamboozled.

For me, one of the ways comic books enters my life is through my fourth grade classroom. I teach in a Title-1 school, which is a school that has been designated as being in a poor area. I know what comic books meant to me as a kid, opening doors in my mind that I didn't know existed, giving me new worlds to daydream in. I have always had a varied group of kids, from kids who read at a low level to those that read at a Jr. High level. Some of those kids hate reading, and I have found comic books to be one way to help them get excited about reading.

Superman's Classroom Rules Beyond just reading, I was able to get a whole superhero theme for my room. Comic book characters are used all throughout the room. We have a superhero code of conduct, the Hulk shows us how to smash editing, Captain America and Superman remind them of the school rules of being safe, respectful, and responsible, and comic book characters decorate the room in their bold colors. We also make our own comics at one point during the year.

It seems that every year, I help create more comic book enthusiasts. This year, on the way to a presentation by Randy Emberlin, an inker and artist in comic books, one of my kids who is really into comics said, "I'm going to get my geek on." No joke.

Comic Decorations Girls get into it as well, which is always refreshing to see. I try to find comics that I know they will enjoy to show them it's not just for boys.

Sadly, the life of a comic book is fairly short in my room. They are read and read until they fall apart and become recyclable matter. Free Comic Book Day has been a great resource for me to restock my comic book selection. This year my kids were stoked when I showed them the new items for the library.

My Classroom Comic Library I wonder what others do with comics in their daily lives. I'm sure some of them hide it for the fear of being mocked, but it seems that today is one of the better days to be a comic book fan. You have a nearly unlimited supply of comics to read from, classics, modern, indy, webcomics, and over just about every genre imaginable. I'm pretty excited to show my comic book colors to the world and let them know just how cool comic books can be, even if I'm only cool to a class of fourth grade kids.

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