Children’s Comics: A Teacher’s Guide (paperback) – Wendy Helsby

120pp   £15.99  ISBN: 1903663202   2007

“… this is a very detailed exploration by somebody who really knows their subject and is able to convey their interest and enthusiasm… [GCSE Media teachers] won’t be the only grateful users… rich enough to provide ideas for developing work on comics in relation to all the Key Concepts and media debates.”
In the Picture

Distinct from ‘magazines’, children’s comics are a discreet and fascinating medium, superficially familiar to us all, yet rarely the subject of study in Media Studies. But comics have been with us in their current form for over a hundred years and they remain hugely popular with their audience and very lucrative for their owners.

Beginning with A Short History of Comics, the Teacher’s Guide explores every area of the subject likely to be of relevance to the Media teacher:

  • Comic Language – comic ‘codes’, and how to read them;
  • Industries and Institutions – from conglomerates to cults and cross-media synergy;
  • Censorship – the history of comic book regulation in the USA and the UK;
  • Audiences – who reads children’s comics? And are they bad for them?
  • Representation – comics and gender, race and nationality;
  • Superheroes and Naughty Kids – the history, and appeal, of Superman, Batman and … Dennis the Menace.

The accompanying Classroom Resources contains numerous suggestions for student exploration of children’s comics. They are designed to open up the topic by asking students about their own comic/magazine reading through which they can explore such topics as representation and censorship. The tasks have been designed for differentiation of ability. The Resources also contains a week-by-week suggested lesson plan.

Introduction / A Short History of Comics / Comic Language / Industries and Institutions / Censorship and Regulation / Popular Culture and Audiences /
Representation / Superheroes and Naughty Kids / Conclusion / Glossary / Resources and Bibliography

Wendy Helsby is a highly experienced teacher of Media and Film at GCSE, Advanced and under-graduate level and has been an examiner at GCSE and A level. She is the author of Teaching TV Advertising (Auteur, 2004).


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