Too often teachers do nothing more than preach fact regurgitation, while using uninspired texts. Before cracking a one ton tome by David McCullough or Doris Kearns Goodwin, I always try to find a big picture primer for their subject, and through the years, I’ve found no better primer than comic books. Sometimes I’ve found all the information I’ve needed on a subject within a comic book’s pages. Malcolm X: a Graphic Biography was written by Andrew Helfer, and illustrated by Randy DuBurke.
Helfer and Duburke’s work might not be suitable for younger readers, but I’ve found Capstone Press’ “Graphic Library Series” to be a virtual clearinghouse of education for all ages. While 08 might have questionable political neutrality, there is no question whatsoever, about the stance taken by Cole Dixon’s False Witness: The Michelle Bachmann Story. And when it comes to haunting imagery, there is no darker hole in the universe than Goddamn This War!
I could go on and on about the growing value of historical comic books, praising numerous other works like Will Eisner’s Last Day In Vietnam, Margane Satrapi’s Persepolis, and, of course, Art Speigleman’s Maus. Max Brooks is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of World War Z, The Zombie Survival Guide, and The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks. Looks like all of your potential employers are hiring candidates with programming skills (which you don’t have).
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The Zombie Survival Guide is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now. The end of the year always seems to be a time of reflection and rethinking about the past 12 months and preparing for the next 12. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. They numb the brain and extinguish the heart with a flood of intricate details without ever taking the time to tie those details together. Unlike Gonick’s voluminous omnibuses, these short, simple booklets focus on one specific subject and or individual. Issue #1 of this comic was thrust into my hand at a convention, and after reading it, I went right over to their booth and bought the other two. However, I must cut this short as my son just turned 9 and he’s eager to read to me from his birthday present: World War II and the Cold War.
Fully illustrated and exhaustively comprehensive, this book covers everything you need to know, including how to understand zombie physiology and behavior, the most effective defense tactics and weaponry, ways to outfit your home for a long siege, and how to survive and adapt in any territory or terrain.Top 10 Lessons for Surviving a Zombie Attack 1.


July 31, 2016 Russ HendersonObama?s Rebuke to the GOP July 31, 2016 Ed SimonFollow My Life is History on Facebook! I’ve been lucky enough to have some great history teachers, and what made them great is that they always started with the BIG PICTURE. To see the clothing, hairstyles, architecture and technology in vibrant color (or even black and white) serves as an instant time machine. I thought I was in for a quick, illustrated repeat of the original work but was pleasantly surprised at the impact it had on me. It takes us back through the roller coaster ride of the Obama’s first term victory over John McCain.
These Frenchmen can rightly take their place along Erich Remarque (All Quiet On The Western Front) as some of the greatest World War I storytellers of all time. They introduced their subjects in the broadest, simplest, most easily digestible manner before diving into the specifics.
Helfer’s language is stark and dramatic with phrases like, “Now his enemies were black men he had once called his brothers… and they wanted him dead.” DuBurke’s imagery is nothing short of iconic. I don’t mean to sound like a commercial, but before we discovered these books, reading was a chore for my son.
Quotes make up the majority of the text, from everyone from the candidates, to the pundits, to comedians like David Letterman who joked that “someone’s putting something in (McCain’s) Metamucil.” The artwork is a stark black and white representation of the historical figures involved.
Bachmann (The banner on Issue #2 reads “Right Wing Nuts RULE”.) Unlike 08, the artwork is cartoonish, with images like Mrs.
Chapter 1 retells the epic of Gilgamesh and Enkidu with their original dialog replaced by the modern speeches of George W. Verney’s illustrations begin with vibrant color; blue skies, green grass, bright red trousers on enthusiastic French soldiers. To this day, the “life story of the human race,” to quote one of my college professors, is nothing short of a lifelong passion. That big picture thinking kept me as focused as the finished image on the box of a jigsaw puzzle, and it’s a method I continue to use whenever I tackle a new subject. His artwork is simple -- black and white drawings mixed in with quick, witty bullet points.
Now, he devours at least one a day -- and night, as he is finally reading himself to sleep! Bachman (with cross in one hand and assault rifle in the other) accepting a crown from a blonde Jesus.
His facts are imparted either through narrative captions, or through historical characters themselves, such as a George Washington lamenting that his egalitarian, racially integrated army was “against the sacred law of the plantation.” Gonick’s blending of art and words transmits a shocking amount of information.


In just one month he’s learned about Harriet Tubman, Franklin Roosevelt, Cesar Chavez, Patrick Henry, Fredrick Douglass, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington Carver, Booker T. Personalities are sometimes drawn with exaggerated expressions, like when a somewhat psychotic looking Ann Coulter tells Sean Hannity that she would campaign for Hillary against McCain.
Others show her standing on a surfboard above a crowd of right wing protestors, bursting through an American flag with an AK47, and anxiously reading a book entitled History for Extremist Kooks.
In just one page (ONE!) of his American History comic, he discusses drugs, AIDS, cults, mass murders, political assassinations and something called the “Perception Gap” (as personified by JFK with his head sticking up through a TV set while his pants drop to his ankles.) If you want to learn a lot of history in a little bit of time, there’s really nobody better. Washington (who he’s actually been teaching me about), the Boston Tea Party, the Moon Landing, and the attack on Pearl Harbor. Other pictures show character mash-ups, such as Obama drawn alongside Paris Hilton to illustrate how the Republicans tried to portray him as a "celebrity." My personal favorites are two of the last images that seem to crystalize the cultural conflict beneath the campaign. Regardless of what someone might think of the series’ political views, no one can dispute that its authors have done their homework.
The black and white art falls somewhere between the stark reality of O8 and the surreal cartoons of False Witness. Two pages have nothing but a collection of 18 human faces that have been horribly disfigured by combat. Each claim is backed up by citations at the back of each issue, and they chronicle Bachmann’s public statements. Images vary from the humorous, such as Australian Oil Baron, William Knox Darcy, dipping his pipe-shaped nose in a pool of oil, to the tragically haunting, such as the deposed, house-arrested Mussadegh, now a living skeleton, surrounded by blackness as he quietly cooks his dinner. Some are rooted in paranoia, evident when she demanded an investigation into the loyalty and patriotism of members of congress. And, of course, many of her words and deeds are simply rooted in hatred, such as equating the homosexual lifestyle to bondage, child abuse, and Satan. This book is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now without your even knowing it.
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