CLiF would like to introduce or re-introduce you to Marek Bennett of Henniker, NH. Marek – a comic, musician, and educator – creates comic books based on primary sources and real experiences and places. Marek’s work ranges from his newest book – Sharjah Sketchbook about art, education, immigration & more in the Middle East – to the Freeman Colby series based on his civil war diaries to hiking with monsters.
See a clip of Marek’s presentation from CLiF’s Virtual Author’s Series.
Things to think about:
- Marek defined himself as a cartoonist. Here are some helpful definitions he prepared for CLiF: CARTOONS are the style of art. COMICS is/are the (awkward English word for the venerable) medium. GRAPHIC NOVELS are a particular publishing format. (Consider also mini-comics, strips, posters, murals, scrolls, &c. — all of which formats could be comics.) At the heart of what we do (in COMICS WORKSHOPS & in this work in general) is the practice of cartooning, so I think “cartoonist” is most appropriate here.
- How do comics work as non-fiction? Mostly we are used to them being about superheros! Marek recommends these books for learning more about comics.
- Marek plays many traditional folk instruments. Hear his bands The Cold River Ranters and The Hardtacks. How do you think it is different and the same to tell stories through music and comics?
Here are a few ways to get to know Marek’s work better:
- Read his cartoonist bio!
- Subscribe to his YouTube channel – wow! there are so many cool how-to videos!! Marek has been offering a comics camp, live draw activities, and lessons on creating comics using his own Freeman Colby graphic novels
- Make a mini-comic out of one piece of paper (so many ideas for minis!)
- Learn more about how Marek makes NH history into comics
- Read through a step-by-step guide to using primary sources to make 3 panel comics that he put together for CLiF
- Bring Marek to your school or program
CLiF has created literacy activities for students of all ages here. Here are some that would go nicely with Marek’s work:
For younger kids:
- Grab-A-Word – using simple words, create a story then make it into a comic
- The Best Part of Me – use Marek’s comic bio as a way to illustrate yourself
For older kids:
- Book Trailer Posters – create a cartoon of your favorite main character
- Coming Attractions – sell your favorite new book with a comic