I love it when I get to follow up on a good story. Longtime readers of Fleen may recall previous discussions of John Baird and his Create a Comic Project at the New Haven Free Public Library, and Baird has written to tell us that today:
… the Create a Comic Project will celebrate its one year anniversary. It has touched the lives of dozens of children, with over 2000 comics produced by kids from every walk of life. As a youth literacy activity, the project has had tremendous success in inspiring children to create their own stories — to shape their own worlds — using webcomics as the spark to kindle imagination’s torch.
In addition to the regular weekly sessions, the comic project has conducted workshops, a tournament, and even been tested in a university classroom. It has been sponsored by several organizations, including Yale University, the New Haven Public Library, and the Human Services Center Corporation. Its first tournament drew support from several local businesses in New Haven.
Most importantly, the Create a Comic Project has found support from numerous comic creators, including Shaenon Garrity, Kazu Kibuishi, T Campbell, and Phil Foglio. Special thanks goes to Yukihime, who provided inspiration with his Penny Arcade Remix Project; Emily Snodgrass, whose webcomic was the first used; Erin Ptah, who’s helped provide hi-res art; and Robert Anke, who brought the project into his own classroom. Over 50 different comics have pledged their support for the comic project. Without the permission of these creators to use their art for community outreach, none of these accomplishments would have been possible.
The next year promises to be even more edifying. The comic project will continue to orient youths to the creative medium of comics through workshops and sessions. It has been awarded a grant supporting a second Comic Making Tournament (coming March 8, 2008) from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. Also, a research study will examine the potential benefits of using the activity in education.
Awesome job there, John. If you’re interested in what else can be done with comics to do good in your corner of the world, Baird has written a series of essays on the theme of Comics and Community Service; please note that this is the good kind of community service, not the kind that misbehaving celebrities get sentenced to.