At the start of the 2022 school year, I decided to lead a comic strip club in the library of the school that I manage. I ran a manga club there for 9 years and decided to start a comic club to focus on the massive popularity of comics and graphic novels that we have on the shelves. I’ve already spoken about the huge popularity of our annual ComiCon, it’s one of our most sought-after programs. I felt like having a dedicated weekly comic club would be very popular.
There are many different activities to choose from and many approaches with a comic club, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. You just need to see if there is a need for it, then jump in and try it.
I am aiming for our comic club from 11 years old, it usually attracts 11-13 year olds and have found that I need to bring extra tables and chairs – great to see! Our comic book club was very popular right from the start and it was really great to see the students taking part in it with such enthusiasm. Here are some activities and events I’m doing this year.
give them control
I started by simply giving attendees a huge sheet of paper from our flipchart and asking them to jot down ideas for the comic club name. The group chose the “Comics Are Awesome Club”, which suited me perfectly. This was a fun, easy and quick activity to get them started on their first session. They loved having a say in choosing the name of their comic book club.
YouTube is amazing for finding great “how to draw” videos. There are some very simple ones and sometimes I just put the screen on and show a few during lunch time and the students really like them. They often stray into their own thing, but you find videos for all sorts of different tastes. I find it works best for young people, but it’s something worth looking into if you have access to screens. All club participants need tables, pens and pencils and they are all ready!
finish this comic
Jarrett Lerner offers some very simple and effective comic-based activities on his website. These are free to print and distribute, and I always like to give it credit on social media when I post photos of our students’ work. Essentially, Jarrett starts a comic panel and has the kids complete the panels for him. They love doing this and will ask for the sheets even when comic club isn’t going on. It’s an easy to use tool if you need something quick to give students a fun activity.
book an illustrator
I know it’s not something everyone can do, as money is tight. However, if you can find the paste somewhere, booking an illustrator would be an amazing event. I can’t tell you how much our students love having illustrators come to the library. My goal this year is to try to get the comic club to come to our ComiCon and have an illustrator visit them that day. I think it will make them even more special for them.
read and review comics
The comic book club is not just about drawing, because not everyone likes to draw if they don’t have confidence in themselves. My goal this year is to get even more students to read comics and write reviews of them for other students to see. I want to create a buzz around the school about comics to stop the stereotype that they aren’t real books or don’t count as reading (things said mostly by adults). Comic book circulation is the highest it’s ever been at our school, and hopefully it can go even higher as we can spread the word about the comics in a positive and fun way.
I run our comic club program every week at lunchtime. It lasts about 45 minutes and is great fun. It’s chaotic, noisy and noisy but I really like it. The students who come all have the same thing in common: they love all the different comics we offer. My advice is not to stress yourself out with manual labor or complicated activities. We play Pictionary, we draw, we talk about comics, we have fun and I learned to really like it.