hunt's Blog
This is a blog for the thoughts and ideas that happen upon me as I persevere through the college class known as English 102 – Honors.

Dec
05

A Brief Abstract:

My research project is quite simply an ethnographic essay. Now if you’re anything like me when I first started this class then you have absolutely no idea what that is, so I’ll shine a light through the fog by telling you that it’s a report on the research of a particular subculture. My study just so happens to be about – comic books! With my project I set out to find what influences how our literacy history effects how we read/write comic books in the present. Through numerous interviews with prospective comic vendors, comic artists, avid comic fans, and even with the “average joes” I sought to find the answer to this elusive enigma. Thankfully my efforts were brought to fruition when I discovered the fact that while there are many numerous things that effect how we read and write comics, a few examples stand out more than others. In my ethnographic essay these examples are unmasked and clearly defined.

Dec
03

There wasn’t too much preparation needed for me in regards to completing WA-5. I’ve kept probably 90% of all of my data in a single location so that I could easily access it; the real challenge for me was scanning every little piece of information. Unless you’re counting me clipping out specific comic strips out of the Sunday funnies, then the only preparation I really had to do was to gather the stray permission form or two lying in a bin outside my room, heheh. Guess all that organizing early on really paid off here. The only questions that I have are in regards to the structure of the final portfolio. I’m not 100% clear as to how you’d like all of the information arranged, are you wanting us to strictly follow your script, or can we deviate slightly? (I’m runnin’ a little behind on this RJ due to an all-nighter trying to finish WA-5, so I know the answer to these questions now, but I’m writing this like I would have written before class on Thursday)

To make WA-4 into my final project I’ll need to review my interview with Dr. Derek Royal to see where I can integrate what he has to offer into my research paper. Also, I’d like to go back and put more of Meaux’s interview into my essay. Finally I need to continue reading Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud. I was able to derive a LOT of useful information from his book which I worked into WA-4. I would like to know your thoughts on my WA-4 though. What do you think that I should elaborate on to make a solid final ethnographic project? I was thinking of removing a few of the super-short (“What do you see…”) clips, possibly narrowing that section down to a max of thirty seconds. This would give me more lee-way to add in clips from my interviews with Dr. Royal and Meaux. I really don’t have any questions right now about the Celebration of Student Writing or the Commerce Writes Symposium. Thanks for the help.

Dec
03

1)      Fieldnotes

  • Dr. Derek Royal’s Interview

Royal, Derek. Personal interview. Dr. Royal’s Office. 3 Dec. 09.

This is a digital copy of the fieldnotes that I took when I had an interview with Dr. Derek Royal, an English professor at the University of Texas A&M-Commerce. Dr. Royal goes into great depth about the advantages of utilizing comics as a teaching tool and he reveals his personal teaching methods in regards to using comics both as a supplement and as a focus of his class. Through Dr. Royal’s eyes my readers will get a clear view of how comics not only can be, but in some cases should be used to help teach a class.

  • Melissa Archer’s Interview

Archer, Melissa. Personal interview. Melissa’s Room. 18 Nov. 09.

These are the notes that I took while interviewing Melissa Archer, a comic artist for the local school newspaper The East Texan. I found that she was more influenced by other people than anything else. Her views as an artist help me to see what influences artists to draw comics.

  • Nathaniel Brinlee’s Interview

Brinlee, Nathaniel. Personal interview. Prairie Crossing Apartment 218. 9 Nov. 09.

These are my notes taken during an interview with my roommate Nathaniel Brinlee. Nate is an avid comic book reader who has studied, in depth, the science behind many of the villians of such comic book series as Batman and the Amazing Spider-Man. With Nate’s perspective I’m able to see how our past influences effect how we read new material (more specifically new comics).

  • Anthony Rodriguez’s Interview

Rodriguez, Anthony. Personal interview. Gee Library. 2 Nov. 09.

These are my notes regarding the interview that I conducted with Mr. Anthony Rodriguez, a local student (majoring in Business) and long-time comic book fan. Since Mr. Rodriguez hopes to open his own comic book shop after attaining his degree I felt that his views would be a valuable resource to draw upon, because it would give my readers a view of how someone with a rich history in the comic book universe is influenced by these past readings.

  • Michael Miller’s “On Being an Artist: Daily Affirmations and Gang Violence” Lecture

Miller, Michael. “On Being an Artist: Daily Affirmations and Gang Violence.” Commerce Week on Writing. Art 111, Commerce. 22 Oct. 09. Lecture.

Here are some notes that I took while attending a lecture from artist Michael Miller, who was influenced by the culture around him to view text in a new way. It’s through the eyes of this artist that my viewers will be enlightened as to new ways to view literature and art. Mr. Miller transmutes the two seamlessly.

  • Comic Book Reading Group

Brinlee, Nathaniel, Morgan Saxon, Arielle McMahon, Stephanie Langford, Douglas Boney, and Jeremy Borden. Personal interview. Prairie Crossing Apartment 217. 10 Oct. 09.

This was a study in which I observed a group of my friends reading various comic books. As they read, I noted their joys, anguishes, moments of confusion. I felt that giving my viewers an insight as to how various people read comics would help them to better understand the effects past influences have on reading new material (more specifically comics)

  • Other Fieldnotes that didn’t contribute to my final ethnographic essay

These are some other fieldnotes that I took during my fieldresearch that just didn’t quite make the cut when I started to weed out data that wouldn’t prove useful to my final ethnographic project. Though the fieldsites that they were taken in were relevant enough, the data that was yielded was fruitless.

  • “Writing Local History” Panel
  • Introduction to Engineering 101 Class Notes
  • Expanded Fieldnotes
    • Melissa Archer’s Interview

Archer, Melissa. Personal interview. Melissa’s Room. 18 Nov. 09.

Here I expanded on the fieldnotes that I took of Melissa’s interview. I found that of all the influences Melissa has, various people influence her the most. It is my hopes to integrate this finding into my final ethnographic essay to illustrate that many things can influence artists/readers/writers.

  • Nathaniel Brinlee’s Interview

Brinlee, Nathaniel. Personal interview. Prairie Crossing Apartment 218. 9 Nov. 09.

I wrote this up after interviewing my roommate Nate. Nate really showed me that he knew a lot about the psychology behind the villains, and that he’d done plenty of outside research to support this. This goes to show that comics can influence people to read other materials to deepen their understanding or quench their thirst for further knowledge.

  • Anthony Rodriguez’s Interview

Rodriguez, Anthony. Personal interview. Gee Library. 2 Nov. 09.

These were the first expanded fieldnotes that I’d taken from an interview. As I reviewed my original fieldnotes, I noticed that Mr. Rodriguez had many influences that effected the way he read and viewed comics today. His interview will be referenced quite often during my final ethnographic essay, because he is the perfect example of how there is no single factor that accounts for the reason that we interpret literature the way we do.

  • Michael Miller’s Lecture

Miller, Michael. “On Being an Artist: Daily Affirmations and Gang Violence.” Commerce Week on Writing. Art 111, Commerce. 22 Oct. 09. Lecture.

These are my expanded fieldnotes over Mr. Michael Miller’s lecture during the Commerce Week on Writing. I found that Mr. Miller was strongly affected by the culture that surrounded him. He drew upon this influence to transform everyday text into works of art.

  • Comic Book Reading Group

Brinlee, Nathaniel, Morgan Saxon, Arielle McMahon, Stephanie Langford, Douglas Boney, and Jeremy Borden. Personal interview. Prairie Crossing Apartment 217. 10 Oct. 09.

After conducting my comic book reading quorum, I wrote up these expanded fieldnotes. This little experiment showed me that no one interprets literature the exact same way as another. I witnessed a few readers getting frustrated, while others kept digging through stacks of comic books for more to read. I’ll use this experiment as an example of how past influences can attract one to, or repel one from, literature (more specifically comics).

  • Other Expanded Fieldnotes that didn’t contribute to my final ethnographic essay

These are the expanded fieldnotes of some of the fieldnotes that I took early on in my fieldresearch. As my research continued I began to find these expanded (and original) fieldnotes becoming less and less relevant to my final ethnographic project, until I decided to not include them in my final project at all.

  • “Writing Local History” Panel
  • Introduction to Engineering 101 Class Notes

2)      Codebook

  • Influences
    • I1 = Influenced by book
    • I2 = Influenced by movie
    • I3 = Influenced by person
    • I4 = Influenced by environment
    • I5 = Influenced by other
    • I6 = Influenced by a character/story
    • I7 = Influenced by text/script/words (in general)
    • I8 = Influenced by comic strips
    • I9 = Influenced by work/job
    • PI = Positive Influence
    • NI = Negative Influence
  • Affects
    • A1 = Affect on teaching methods
    • A2 = Affect on learning methods
    • A3 = Affect on social skills
    • A4 = Affect on morals/beliefs/ethics
    • A5 = Affect on emotions
    • A6 = Affect on scheduling/planning
  • Comic History
    • CH = Comic history fact
    • CH2 = Major turning point in comic history
    • CH3 = Comic book stat

3)      Artifacts

  • The Paris News
    • Garfield (Nov. 29th)

Schulz, Charles. “Garfield.” Comic strip. The Paris News 29 Nov. 09. Print.

This is a comic strip, taken from my local Sunday newspaper, of Garfield. Melissa referred to Garfield a few times during our interview when illustrating the idea that text “makes or breaks” some comic strips, so I felt that my readers should have an example of this popular comic strip to deepen their understanding of this concept.

  • Dilbert (Nov. 29th)

Adams, Scott. “Dilbert.” Comic strip. The Paris News 29 Nov. 09. Print.

This is a comic strip, again taken from my local Sunday newspaper, of Dilbert. Dilbert happens to be a personal favorite when it comes to the Sunday funnies, so I thought I’d include it to give my readers something tangible with which to relate to when I discuss comics.

  • Flyer for ENG-202 Class

Royal, Derek P. ENG 202 – Multi-Ethnic American Literature with a focus on Comics & Graphic Novels. Commerce: University of Texas A&M – Commerce, 09. Print.

This is a flyer I stumbled upon at the Hall of Languages promoting a class taking place during the Spring 2010 semester at the University of Texas A&M – Commerce. The teacher of this class plans to utilize comic books to help his students learn about the humanities, and I thought that it would be good for my readers to see how this flyer displays the various techniques that Dr. Royal employs to use comics to educate students.

  • Flyer for ENG-305 Class

Royal, Derek P. You Decide! Take English 305. Commerce: University of Texas A&M – Commerce, 09. Print.

This is another flyer I saw taped to the outer doors of the Hall of Languages advertising Dr. Royal’s ENG-305 class at the University of Texas A&M – Commerce. The teacher of this class plans to teach an entire English course simply through comic books. I thought that it would be good for my readers to see how this flyer displays the various techniques that Dr. Royal employs to use comics to educate students.

  • Comic Book Covers
    • the Amazing Spider-Man: 30th Anniversary

Michelinie, David. “The Amazing Spider-Man: 30th Anniversary.” Comic strip. Ed. Danny Fingeroth.The Amazing Spider-Man: 30th Anniversary. #375. New York: MARVEL COMICS, 93. Print.

This is the cover of the Amazing Spider-Man: 30th Anniversary comic book. I wanted to use this particular issue as an example of your stereotypical comic book, because it is very elaborate, holographic, and well-laid out.

  • Daredevil: The Man Without Fear

Nocenti, Ann. “Daredevil: The Man Without Fear.” Comic strip. Ed. Ralph Macchio and Tom DeFalco. Daredevil: The Man Without Fear. #283. New York: MARVEL COMICS, 90. Print.

This is another great example of your average comic book. Here we see the merging of two comic book heros, which goes to illustrate that writers/drawers/readers are influenced by other characters in the comic book universe.

  • Predator (Free Comic Book Day)

Arcudi, John. “Predator.” Comic strip. Ed. Chris Warner and Samantha Robertson. Free Comic Book Day. Milwaukie: Dark Horse Comics, 09. Print.

Here we have a comic book adaptation of a film. From this my readers should be able to see that movies and other forms of media influence writers/readers of comic books; in this particular case enough to warrant the desire to create a comic book series devoted entirely to the character from a classic Sci-Fi film.

  • Comics I Drew
    • The Adventures of CheeseMan #2

Joyce, Marshall H. “#2.” Comic strip. The Adventures of Cheeseman. Honey Grove: Marshall Joyce, 2003. Print.

This is one of the comics that I drew during my middle school years. Readers will be able to see the specific influences that I talk about effecting what I drew. Most notably in this comic readers will see that I took a leaf from Stan Lee’s book, so to speak, by having my protagonist take orders from a newspaper editor.

  • The Adventures of CheeseMan #6

Joyce, Marshall H. “#6.” Comic strip. The Adventures of Cheeseman. Honey Grove: Marshall Joyce, 2003. Print.

Here’s another comic that I drew during my middle school days. My main influence for this comic actually came from an episode of The PowerPuff Girls, as I based this comic on a plot that they wrote.

  • Comics in Educational Setting
    • Foxtrot in Henderson

Amend, Bill. “Foxtrot.” Comic strip. Henderson Hall. Print.

This is a comic strip that I found hanging in the halls of Henderson, which is the building in which I attend Calculus – I. I’d like my readers to see, with the help of this example, that any and every one can be affected or influenced by comics.

  • Invincible in Hall of Languages

Kirkman, Robert. “Invincible.” Comic strip. Hall of Languages. Print.

As I walked through the Hall of Languages in search for my teacher’s office I found this comic strip hanging off the door of a graduate assistant. After seeing this comic strip hanging from an educator’s door I realized, and I hope that my readers will as well, that comics can affect how we learn and can even aid us in our endeavors.

  • Other artifacts that weren’t integrated into my final ethnographic essay

Naturally as I trudged through my various fieldsites I came across many, MANY artifacts. Not all of these artifacts were worth cluttering my final project with, however, so I decided to select only the most pertinent artifacts to include in my final ethnographic essay.

  • Other Sunday Funnies
    • Peanuts (Nov. 29th)
    • Hagar the Horrible (Nov. 29th)
    • Peanuts (Nov. 15th)
    • Garfield (Nov. 15th)
    • Postcard from Star Wars Fan Days
    • Nate’s Hand-written Note about “ComicCon”
    • Floor Plan of Star Wars Fan Days
    • Marvel Evolution Trading Card Pack
    • Other Comic Book Covers
      • Aliens (Free Comic Book Day)
      • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Free Comic Book Day)
      • At Last! The Avengers and… the Amazing Spider-Man
      • the Amazing Spider-Man: The Return of the Sinister Six
      • Gambit
      • the Amazing Spider-Man: 5 Oct.
      • the Amazing Spider-Man: 56 Jan.
      • the Amazing Spider-Man: 136 Sept.
      • the Amazing Spider-Man: 137 Oct.
      • Star Wars Days Convention Pictures
        • Comic Book Vendor
        • Comic Book Rack
        • Tony Harris
        • Tony Harris at Work
        • Clone Trooper CosPlay
        • Array of Clone Troopers CosPlaying
        • More Clone Troopers and a Sith CosPlaying
        • More Clone Troopers CosPlaying
        • Bobba and Jango Fett Replicas
        • Me with Bobba Fett Replica
        • Other Comic Strips Found in Educational Settings
          • The Adventures of Danny Donkey in Hall of Languages
          • Comic Book Reading Group Pictures
            • Nate and Germ
            • Arielle, Steffers, and Morgan

4)      Consent Forms

  • Dr. Derek Royal
  • Sarah Hays
  • Vanesa Navarro
  • Arielle McMahon
  • JenAnne Shumway
  • Anthony Rodriguez
  • Nathaniel Brinlee
  • Tony Harris
  • Melissa Archer

5)      Research Tools

  • Interview Scripts
    • Dr. Derek Royal’s Interview

Royal, Derek. Personal interview. Dr. Royal’s Office. 3 Dec. 09.

This is the interview script that I followed during my interview with Dr. Royal. I decided to use a different interview script for Dr. Royal because he is a teacher that uses comics, so I wanted to focus more on how he uses comics to help him teach classes. Through this interview my readers will get a great view of comics through the eyes of an educator.

  • Anthony Rodriguez

Rodriguez, Anthony. Personal interview. Gee Library. 2 Nov. 09.

This is the interview script that I followed while interviewing Mr. Rodriguez. I was able to copy down a condensed version of his answers to my questions, which will provide my readers with a bit of an abstract to the concepts that Mr. Rodriguez portrayed to me during our interview.

  • Nathaniel Brinlee

Brinlee, Nathaniel. Personal interview. Prairie Crossing Apartment 218. 9 Nov. 09.

Here’s the script that Nate and I followed during my interview with him. We focused mainly on the lessons learned from his heroes and how the villains affected him. My readers should be able to see that Nate was greatly influenced by a few of the villains (most predominately those from the Batman series).

  • Tony Harris

Harris, Tony. Personal interview. Plano Star Wars Fan Days Convention. 24 Oct. 09.

This is the script that I walked Mr. Harris through while he proceeded to finish one of his Star Wars sketches. Mr. Harris showed me that even though he wasn’t influenced by many things, or by very much at all apparently, even he was influenced to draw comic books.

  • Arielle McMahon

McMahon, Arielle. Personal interview. Prairie Crossing Apartment 135. 22 Oct. 09.

Here is a copy of the interview script that I used while interviewing Arielle McMahon. Since Arielle is a student, I used a bit of a different interview script with her. This script was more geared to find out how her enjoyment of comics is affected by her school life.

  • E-mail Survey
    • Kenneth Moore

Moore, Kenneth. “Re: Comicbook Survey.” Message to the author. 24 Sept. 09. E-mail.

This is an e-mail survey that I sent out to all of my friends from the Syphers, the local Sci-Fi club on-campus at the University of Texas A&M – Commerce. My readers should be able to see that people from all walks of life can enjoy comics, even if they don’t influence them in a major way.

  • Erin O’ Grady

Grady, Erin O’ “Re: Comicbook Survey.” Message to the author. 23 Sept. 09. E-mail.

This is an e-mail survey that I sent out to all of my friends from the Syphers, the local Sci-Fi club on-campus at the University of Texas A&M – Commerce. Ms. O’ Grady goes into detail about how a certain teacher of hers taught a class with comic books and about how that affected the way she learned the material in that class.

  • John Huizar

Huizar, John. “Re: Comicbook Survey.” Message to the author. 23 Sept. 09. E-mail.

This is an e-mail survey that I sent out to all of my friends from the Syphers, the local Sci-Fi club on-campus at the University of Texas A&M – Commerce. Mr. Huizar was so influenced by Joe Sacco’s stories that he pursued research on places such as Palestine and Bosnia. This goes to show my readers that comic books can be a valuable tool to help students learn new material, or at least aid in presenting old material in a new way.

  • Codebook…again…
    • I1 = Influenced by book
    • I2 = Influenced by movie
    • I3 = Influenced by person
    • I4 = Influenced by environment
    • I5 = Influenced by other
    • I6 = Influenced by a character/story
    • I7 = Influenced by text/script/words (in general)
    • I8 = Influenced by comic strips
    • I9 = Influenced by work/job
    • PI = Positive Influence
    • NI = Negative Influence
    • A1 = Affect on teaching methods
    • A2 = Affect on learning methods
    • A3 = Affect on social skills
    • A4 = Affect on morals/beliefs/ethics
    • A5 = Affect on emotions
    • A6 = Affect on scheduling/planning
    • CH = Comic history fact
    • CH2 = Major turning point in comic history
    • CH3 = Comic book stat
  • Copy of Audio for Interviews
  • Dr. Derek Royal’s Interview

Royal, Derek. Personal interview. Dr. Royal’s Office. 3 Dec. 09.

Thanks to some help from Sarah Hays I was able to get an audio recording of my interview with Dr. Derek Royal, an English professor at the University of Texas A&M-Commerce. Dr. Royal goes into great depth about the advantages of utilizing comics as a teaching tool and he reveals his personal teaching methods in regards to using comics both as a supplement and as a focus of his class. Through Dr. Royal’s eyes my readers will get a clear view of how comics not only can be, but in some cases should be used to help teach a class.

  • Anthony Rodriguez’s Interview

Rodriguez, Anthony. Personal interview. Gee Library. 2 Nov. 09.

This is an audio recording of the interview that I had with Mr. Anthony Rodriguez. Since Mr. Rodriguez hopes to open his own comic book shop after attaining his degree I felt that his views would be a valuable resource to draw upon, because it would give my readers a view of how someone with a rich history in the comic book universe is influenced by these past readings.

  • Nathaniel Brinlee’s Interview [Partial due to technical difficulties]

Brinlee, Nathaniel. Personal interview. Prairie Crossing Apartment 218. 9 Nov. 09.

Here is the audio recording of my interview with my roommate Nate. Nate is an avid comic book reader who has studied, in depth, the science behind many of the villians of such comic book series as Batman and the Amazing Spider-Man. With Nate’s perspective I’m able to see how our past influences effect how we read new material (more specifically new comics).

  • Copy of Video for Interviews
    • Arielle’s Survey

McMahon, Arielle. Personal interview. Prairie Crossing Apartment 105. 22 Oct. 09.

This is the video recording that I took of Arielle as she answered my survey question, “What do you see when you look at a comic book cover?” She gives my readers a good perspective of what goes on in the minds of your average comic book reader. After watching a few of these recordings my readers will see that how we perceive comics varies greatly from person to person, due to our different influences.

  • JenAnne’s Survey

Shumway, JenAnne. Personal interview. Prairie Crossing Apartment 105. 17 Nov. 09.

This is the video recording that I took of JenAnne as she answered my survey question, “What do you see when you look at a comic book cover?” She gives my readers a good perspective of what goes on in the minds of your average comic book reader. After watching a few of these recordings my readers will see that how we perceive comics varies greatly from person to person, due to our different influences.

  • Sarah’s Survey

Hays, Sarah. Personal interview. Prairie Crossing Apartment 105. 17 Nov. 09.

This is the video recording that I took of Sarah as she answered my survey question, “What do you see when you look at a comic book cover?” She gives my readers a good perspective of what goes on in the minds of your average comic book reader. After watching a few of these recordings my readers will see that how we perceive comics varies greatly from person to person, due to our different influences.

  • Vanesa’s Survey

Navarro, Vanesa. Personal interview. Prairie Crossing Apartment 105. 17 Nov. 09.

This is the video recording that I took of Vanesa as she answered my survey question, “What do you see when you look at a comic book cover?” She gives my readers a good perspective of what goes on in the minds of your average comic book reader. After watching a few of these recordings my readers will see that how we perceive comics varies greatly from person to person, due to our different influences.

  • Melissa Archer’s Interview

Archer, Melissa. Personal interview. Melissa’s Room. 18 Nov. 09.

Here is the video recording that I took of my interview with Melissa Archer. As a comic artist for the local school newspaper The East Texan and a fellow student here at the University of Texas A&M University, I found that she was more influenced by other people than anything else. Her view as an artist will help my readers see what influences artists to draw comics.

6)      Writing Assignments (WA’s)

  • WA-1

My WA-1 was about my history with computers, robotics, and gaming; and therefore was not relevant to my ethnographic study on the comic book fan subculture.

  • WA-2

This writing assignment was focused mainly on my explanation of how comics can be used as a teaching tool in the classrooms. With any luck, I’ll be able to combine this with my findings from my interview with Dr. Royal to illustrate to my readers that comics are an untapped resource when it comes to aiding in the education of literature.

  • WA-3

The purpose of this writing assignment was to help me compose my thoughts about what message I intended to portray through final ethnographic project. I was also challenged to formulate a plan regarding how I was going to go about getting this done. Using what I wrote in WA-3 as a guide, I should be able to simply fill in the blanks with pictures and examples derived from extensive fieldresearch. This process should result in my final ethnographic project.

  • WA-4

This is a combination of the results of my “What Do You See…?” survey and my interview with Mr. Anthony Rodriguez. Since both of these yielded such valuable data, I’ll likely end up reusing most of what I’ve already written in this writing assignment in my final ethnographic paper.

7)      Research Journals

  • RJ #24

Here I not only review all of the research that I had done as of November the 22nd, but I also included my most recent codebook as well as a copy of my most recent table of contents. To me it always seems good to refer back to an older codebook/table of contents just in case you left something out of your latest one, or forgot about a specific entry due to it being overshadowed by a later addition.

  • RJ #18

Box #27 was the focus of this research journal, which had me look up various quotes that were related to comic books (my field of study for this project). Looking back over some of the quotes that I found, I’m starting to see the potential of adding some of these in to my final ethnographic essay. Hopefully, as I begin my rough draft I will find areas that could really be reinforced by one or two of these quotes.

  • RJ #17

I wanted to highlight this research journal because it contains my analysis of my fieldnotes taken over Michael Miller’s lecture that was given during the Commerce Week on Writing. After reviewing my fieldnotes I discussed what surprised me, intrigued me, and bothered me about attending this event. Looking back on this will ease the integration of Mr. Miller’s lecture into my final ethnographic project by helping me remember why I even considered it relevant in the first place.

  • RJ #10

My analysis of Brandt’s essay takes center stage in this research journal. I was really planning on citing Brandt a few times in my final ethnographic essay, so going back and re-reading what I got out of reading Brandt the first time refreshed my memory of her work. Now I should be able to more easily recognize points throughout my paper in which to meld Brandt’s words on the “sponsorship of literacy” with my own.

  • RJ #6

Since I want to reference Yancey in my final ethnographic essay, I feel that my response to her reading would be helpful to go back and skim over. After a brief glance, I realized that I should be able to reference her work quite easily as she discusses using technology to help the general public become a more literate society. With my final ethnographic essay I plan to try to help people to realize that comic books, like technology (as Yancey states), can be utilized to help our world become a richer literary society.

  • Other Research Journals that weren’t as helpful in writing my final ethnographic essay

Throughout these past three months I’ve written 25 research journals, with a few more still to come. Quite frankly though, not every single one of them contains EXACTLY what I need to help with my final ethnographic essay, so I only highlighted the entries that seemed to offer the most potential with helping me write my final ethnographic essay.

For the Celebration of Student Writing I plan to go to Wal-Mart to buy one of those science-fair type boards to hang up a few of my personal comics as a display. As people pass by I’ll give them a short one or two-minute version of my study and what results it has yielded. I also plan to decorate the science-fair board with a myriad of speech balloons and action panels similar to those that you would see in any given comic book. To accompany my explanation of the results of my fieldresearch I also plan to have the movie Alien vs. Predator playing on my laptop with my personal copy of Free Comic Book Day: Alien & Predator. It’s my hopes that people will begin to see that watching the movie affects the way one reads the comic and vice-versa.

As for the Commerce Writes Symposium I’m going to prepare a, hopefully, 10 – 12 minute video that will showcase the audio version of my ethnographic essay. Since my topic is comic books, naturally, visuals are very important to my subculture; so I intend to prepare a sort of hybrid slideshow to play while my audio essay is going to show my listeners various examples of comics, comic books, and other material that is relevant to what my ethnographic essay is saying at the moment.

Supplies:

1)      My laptop

2)      My copy of Free Comic Book Day: Alien & Predator

3)      Science-fair poster board

4)      My personal collection of comic books (mounted on the science-fair poster board)

5)      Cord to charge my laptop

6)      My camera to take pictures of the event

Dec
01

What’s In That Portfolio Anyways?:

Ok, so it’s startin’ to get down to crunch-time and now I’ve been asked to take a moment to look at all the data that I’ve collected throughout my studies… oh geez. Man, guys seriously this entire project has been a blast, because not only does the topic absolutely envelope me with intrigue and excitement, but it’s just been so darn easy to research. I have piles upon piles, like I quite literally have stacks of my “portfolio” lying around my apartment room, of research data that I’ve collected. This entire experience has been quite fun, but now I really guess I should try to better organize it so that I can start writing the beginnings of my final project.

One of the first things that comes to mind when I think about what I have to make use of in my research portfolio would definitely be my codebook. Throughout my fieldresearch my codebook has been a valuable tool in helping me analyze my fieldnotes and artifacts. Utilizing my codebook I’ve been able to weed through massive amounts of information and highlight many key points that I’m planning to write into my final ethnographic essay. My codebook is up to 20 codes as of right now, but I’m planning on adding more as I give my information the last glance over.

Another portion of my portfolio that I plan to make extensive use of is the section dedicated to archiving my old Writing Assignments (WA’s). It includes all the writing assignments that I’ve done to date excluding the first WA-1, which wasn’t relevant to my current project at all. I plan to draw great chunks from my WA-2 assignment in which I go into greater detail about my personal history and influences as a comic book writer. This will also help as I go into detail about how my experience, through the course of writing this ethnographic paper, has evolved my own techniques and thoughts about reading comic books/comics. WA-3 houses lots of great pictures as well as some good uses of previous e-mail interviews that I plan to steal and slip into my final ethnographic essay as well. Thankfully, I should be able to draw lots of great and useful information from these previous WA’s as Dr. Carter said we should be able to.

Along with my archive of WA’s I also have my old research journals (RJ’s) from which to draw upon. I’ve found myself lately looking back to previous RJ’s to reference the latest version of my codebook or table of contents. In addition, my old RJ’s also have some very detailed notes that I’ve taken over almost ever chapter of Fieldworking. If need be, I can always refer back to these notes to check and see if anything I’ve read in Fieldworking would help me with my current dilemma. Believe it or not, I’ve actually done this within the past month or so when trying to remember certain “suggested” questions to ask yourself when expanding your fieldnotes, which brings me to another cornerstone of my research portfolio; my fieldnotes.

I have taken many MANY fieldnotes over these past two or three months ranging all the way from my Introduction to Engineering course to a small sample survey of peoples’ reaction to the question, “What do you think of when you look at a comic/comic book cover?” These notes are invaluable to my final ethnographic paper, because they are a logging of everything that I’ve experienced/witnessed/learned during my research in the field. My notes include everything from possible research paths to me making notes of something as minute as the lighting of a room that I was in during a fieldstudy. With these notes I’ll be able to more accurately recollect what my experiences were like during this study and I’ll be able to paint a more clear and definite picture of my subculture for my readers. The expanded versions of these notes simply provide me with my immediate thoughts and reactions to taking and analyzing my original fieldnotes. These may be of more worth to the readers of my essay, as it would definitely explain in clearer words what I wrote down in my original fieldnotes. When in a fieldsite I tend to take very hasty notes that only I would understand in an attempt to save time, and to help take as many notes as possible.

With a bit of luck and a lotta help from my roomie Nate, I was able to procure a great bit of artifacts that should help to more clearly define the nature of my subculture to my readers. Among the various odds and bodkins that I’ve manage to salvage upon my journeys, I have a postcard (picked up from a Comic Book Convention), a floor map of the comic book convention that my roomie and I attended, funnies from various weeks of the Sunday Paper (Dallas Morning News), my own personal comic book collection (which I started when I bought some ‘discount-bin’ comics at the comic book convention that Nate and I went to), a pack of Marvel super-heroes cards, and my own personal portfolio of comics that I drew back in middle school (hey we all have our phases…one of mine just happen to come in the form of aspiring to be a comic book artist…don’t judge me heheh). Most of this stuff will be good to talk about in my essay, but what I’m really stoked about is my personal collection, my personal comics, and the funnies from the Dallas Morning News. I plan to scan portions of these works and implement them into my final ethnographic project in order to give the reader something to truly visualize as they read about the elaborate world of comics/comic books that I’m going to paint for them. To truly know and understand the world in which I’ve immersed myself in these past few months, I feel that it’s vital for my readers to see just what all I’ve been blessed to come in contact with, and that’s where these artifacts come in. My artifacts will give my readers something to hold onto as concrete evidence that I’m not just making up what I’m writing about, and that there really are people out there who feel passionate about such things.

I was also able to collect an immense amount of fodder from various interviews, which happens to be not only the strongest pillar in my portfolio, but also the most vital. At first I was quite worried about finding someone to interview for my paper, because I thought that there was no interest in comics/comic books around Commerce, but man was I wrong. As I started to actually delve into my fieldsites, I found that there were actually too many people to interview and that there was no way that I was going to be able to speak with them all. In fact, I know that we’re supposed to have all the data that we need by now, but I actually went ahead and scheduled an interview with Dr. Royal, because he’s actually teaching an English class (ENG-333) with comics/comic books. Getting the perspective of a teacher on the comic book universe will undoubtedly help with my final project, so I’m really stoked to see what all he has to say about his class next semester, and I’m interested as to how exactly he plans to use comics/comic books to teach his class. Fortunately for me though, I’ve already conducted many MANY interviews among which include an interview with Mr. Anthony Rodriguez (comic book reader/student at TAMU-C/aspiring to start his own comic book store), Melissa Archer / a.k.a. – Meaux (comic artist for a TAMU-C paper The East Texan), Tony Harris (professional comic book artist), and Nate (my roomie and avid comic book reader). As one would imagine, I took every precaution necessary with these interviews; carefully backing each of them to a CD (the audio portions at least), filing the interview scripts that I filled out as they talked, and even filing away the tedious permission slip forms. If you even happen to briefly skim across my essay there is no doubt that you will run across at least one thing derived from one of these interviews.

Of course, my final ethnographic essay will not be solely driven by my interviews, however. Mr. Anthony Rodriguez gave me a copy of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud to read over, because he told me that he felt that it would really help me with what I was trying to accomplish with my paper. He could not have been more correct. As I poured over the words and pictures, yes the entire book was written as a comic book, I noticed that Scott McCloud really had a lot to offer me when it came to giving me insight as to how comics function, what they are defined as, and how we choose to employ them in our everyday lives. This book, as well as many other essays and excerpts, will be referenced in my final ethnographic essay to tie in what I personally have learned together with more general concepts laid down previous to my studies.

With all of this in my portfolio I just sincerely hope that I’ve collected enough to write a good, solid ethnographic essay. I really REALLY want to portray to you guys just how vibrant, thriving, alive, and amazing the comic/comic book culture here in Commerce really is. I was completely flabbergasted upon discovering the fact that not only are there people here in Commerce that like comics/comic books, but that this subculture is actually thriving down here. When you finally get to read my final ethnographic essay, please lemme know whatcha’ think, and if you’re actually inspired to learn more about the comic book universe as a result of my paper, just lemme know; because apparently I have got some sweet hook-ups in that department now. Good luck everyone, we’re almost there! :]

Nov
22

Ch. 8 Summary:

Chapter 8 offers a lot of great tips in getting started with the latter steps of writing your ethnographic research paper. Its main focus lies in what the book likes to refer to as “the draft”. Basically, I learned that I’m supposed to go over all the data that I’ve collected – again – and form a theory on which direction my paper should go. After I skim over my material again I’m going to ask myself if I need to re-evaluate my original thesis statement in order to better portray the data that I’ve collected. I’ve already reshaped my original thesis quite a few times during this odyssey of research. My latest change has been to add comics to my research instead of focusing solely on comic books, because I feel that the two are too deeply intertwined to disconnect, and that they both relate very well to the point that I’m trying to make (comics/comic books are a legitimate form of literacy). After I’ve confirmed what my research papers intentions are then I’ll need to simply write up a draft; that’s all there is to that step – just do it. Naturally, this won’t be my final paper, because after I write the draft I’ll see what holes still remain and I’ll be able to go back through my data, or gather new data, to fill in the remaining holes. As Anne Lamott describes in her essay Shitty First Drafts, the point of the first draft is simply to get the ideas that are in your head onto some paper to organize your thoughts more clearly. The revision and editing can come only after you have something to work with. Now after I get something down, Chapter 8 advises that I question my material. Why on earth would I want to question what I’ve already written down? Well, this will help you find ways to thicken and add weight/body to your project. Fieldworking provides an awesome triad of questions in some of the earlier chapters which include “What surprised me? What intrigued me? What bothered me?” Chapter 8 offers up another triad, which I plan to employ when writing my first draft. This new set of questions is designed to aid in your elaboration of your data instead of simply evaluating what you already have. My paper will be bolstered by this new triad of “What’s going on here? Where’s the culture? What’s the story?” I was surprised that during the short excerpt from Stephen King’s On Writing he actually advocates that we use the most basic grammar possible to achieve the desired effect. Our effect, naturally, should be to convey our message to our reader clearly and concisely. I was much less thrilled about his praises of using good grammar, for I was one of those high school students who said, “writing is fun but grammar sucks the big one.” Heheh, what can I say, Stephen King might as well have said, “don’t annoy me with your moans of exasperation and or your cries that [Hunter Joyce] don’t understand grammar.” As my reading of Chapter 8 continued I found that I will most likely draw heavily from experiential writing strategies, as most of my fieldwork consists of interviews and surveys. This won’t be my only tactic employed though, for I want to use aesthetic strategies to paint an elaborate picture of the place in which my interviews and surveys took place. The example story about the summer reading program for deaf children kinda helped me see how I could take these different strategies, apply them to my data, and use this application as a way of helping me assess and integrate my research findings. Chapter 8 also goes into greater detail about the two ways we’ve employed to present our research portfolios. The example annotated table of contents actually served to spur my memory and helped me remember that I have many other comic books lying around that I had forgotten about. Thanks to this little section I may actually have actually added another page to my final project, for I found the old comics that I used to draw. My plans are to use pictures and memories of these to give my reader a deeper, fuller view of what a comic book writer sees/thinks when he writes/reads comic book, because apparently (though I forgot it) I’m a comic book writer myself (EXTREMELY novice though!!!). The one-page analyses that we’ve been writing so far also help me out especially, because it provides me with a great outlet to formulate my thoughts, data, and questions. After writing my one-page analysis for a research journal I get a clearer idea of what all I have left to do in regards to fieldstudies. The final thing that I found helpful in Chapter 8 was the idea of using sub-headings. I’m really stoked that we get to use these, because again these help me establish a clear path when I write papers and essays. Normally when I write a paper I’ll go ahead and write up subheadings and just edit them out in the final draft, because when I use subheadings my papers tend to flow and read much more easily. Subheadings also help me in the writing process as they keep me on track and help prevent me from straying too far from the course that I want my reader to follow as they read my paper. I can’t say that I’m maniacally depressed at the thought of having finished the Fieldworking book, but I can say that it was extremely helpful in helping me with my research. Now the only thing I have left to do is to roll up my sleeves, hit up my fieldsites for some last minute info gathering, apply what I’ve learned from my reading, and start punishing the keys of my computer as I get a rough draft started in Microsoft Word.

One-Page Analysis of my Research Thus Far:

After another interview and a mini-survey I’ve collected some serious fodder for my final ethnographic essay. It’s insanely amazing at what I’m beginning to find. As I continue my field research I’m starting to notice that there are actually very few “common” ties when it comes to how people perceive comics. Each person seems to see/think something different when they look at comics or comic books. Naturally, there are a few recurring themes such as the vibrant colors and characters, but it’s amazing at the unique responses I’ve been getting. Some comment on the additives to the covers, like glitter/metallic sheen, while others are instantly reminded of an old comic they once read. I’m going to make full use of this finding in my final ethnographic essay and use it to help explain how diverse the affects of past literacy on the reading/writing of comics/comic books really are.  This study could provide some great insight as to what lures us as a generation and a culture to the appeal of comics/comic books. If we knew this, then perhaps teachers could embrace these appeals and utilize them to aide in the classrooms. How would comics help in the classroom? Well think about it; would you rather read a 70 page chapter about the process of photosynthesis, or would you rather flip through a short 5 page book with pictures and jokes illustrating the process? I hope that with this essay I’ll be able to convince the literary society to accept comics not only as a legitimate form of literature, but also as a viable tool to be taken advantage of in the academic field. Even with all the new additions to my study, I still have more answers that I feel I must attain. I feel that this is one of those conundrums in which no matter how many times I enter my fieldsite I’ll always leave with more questions than answers. At the moment I’m await Tony Harris’ response to my e-mail interview. My hopes are that he’ll have replied within the next few days so that I’ll be able to get a good analysis of his answers just in case I decide for a round 3 interview, Heheh. I’d also like to break away from my interview spree for a while and finish reading Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. Thus far, everything I’ve read from his book is potential material that I can reference in my essay. He goes into great detail about everything from the history of comics to the very definition of what a comic is itself. I may also see if I can go to the art building one day and just talk to a few of the art students hanging around there about comics. It is my hopes that at least a few of them would have some interest in comics or comic books. The perspective of comics and comic books from the eyes of an actual artist, instead of just my personal views and those of my comic book reading interviewees, would be an invaluable addition to my essay. I need to take into account the views of as many archetypes as possible for my final project. If I’m to fully convince the literary society of the validity of my research, then I need to have undeniable proof that comics “bring something to the table” for every culture/subculture. Which leads me to the last, but by far the most important, thing that I’ve learned throughout my studies of the comic book universe – the world of comics quite simply has something for everyone. No matter whom you are: geek, businessman, teacher, jock, reader, or artist; the comic book realm has a series to cater to your exact needs. Got an urge for a good laugh, then pick up the Sunday funnies. Wanna learn how to operate the little oxygen mask that’s stationed above your head in an airplane seat, browse over the comic arranged neatly on the back of the seat headrest in front of you. As my research slowly starts to draw to a close I’m scrambling to try to fit in as much research as my busy schedule will allow. I still have plans to conduct, yes, even more interviews. My next possible interviewee is a friend of Breanna who has plans to start a comic of his own. I’d like to know why he wants to start his own comic strip, what/who his influences are, and how he plans to go about starting this comic. There’s so much to do; yet so little time in which to fit it all in. This project continues to remind me of how my life is slowly becoming more and more like the rabbit’s from Alice in Wonderland (So much to do, so little time, no time to say ‘hello’ ‘goodbye’, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!). I’m having a blast with this project though, and I’m super stoked to show all of y’all the end results. Expect ‘em soon guys and good luck to you all!

Updated Codebook:

I1 = Influenced by book

I2 = Influenced by movie

I3 = Influenced by person

I4 = Influenced by environment

I5 = Influenced by other

I6 = Influenced by a character/story

I7 = Influenced by text/script/words (in general)

I8 = Influenced by comic strips

I9 = Influenced by work/job

A1 = Affect on teaching methods

A2 = Affect on learning methods

A3 = Affect on social skills

A4 = Affect on morals/beliefs/ethics

A5 = Affect on emotions

A6 = Affect on scheduling/planning

PI = Positive Influence

NI = Negative Influence

CH = Comic history fact

CH2 = Major turning point in comic history

CH3 = Comic book stat

Updated Table of Contents:

  • Interviews
    • CD of the Video from my Interview with Melissa Archer (Meaux)
    • CD of the Video from my mini-survey on Comic book covers
    • CD of the Audio from my Interview with Nate Brinlee
    • CD of the Audio from my Interview with Anthony Rodriguez
  • Fieldsite Artifacts
    • Sunday Funnies (Nov. 15th)
    • Aliens/Predator Darkhorse Comic book
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars Darkhorse Comic book
    • Daredevil: The Man Without Fear Marvel Comic book
    • At Last! The Avengers and… the Amazing Spider-Man Marvel Comic book
    • The Return of the Sinister Six (part 5 of 6): the Amazing Spider-Man Marvel Comic book
    • the Amazing Spider-Man: Spidey vs. Venom: The Final Confrontation Marvel Comic book
    • Gambit Marvel Comic book
    • Collection of my old Cheeseman comic books
    • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud
    • Pack of Super-Hero Trading Cards
    • Map of Convention Layout
    • Nate’s Handwritten Note of the Event
    • Postcard From the Convention
  • Permission Forms
    • Arielle McMahon
    • Sarah Hays
    • Vanessa Navarro
    • Melissa Archer (Meaux)
    • Nate Brinlee
    • Anthony Rodriguez
    • Tony Harris
    • JenAnne Shumway
  • Interview Scripts
    • Nate Brinlee (Nov. 9th)
    • Anthony Rodriguez (Nov. 2nd)
    • Tony Harris (Oct. 25th)
    • Arielle McMahon (Oct. 22nd)
    • Kenneth Moore (Sept. 24th) [e-mail]
    • Erin O’ Grady (Sept. 23rd) [e-mail]
    • John Huizar (Sept. 23rd) [e-mail]
  • Expanded Fieldnotes
    • “On Being an Artist…” (Oct. 22nd)
    • “Writing Local History Panel” (Oct. 20th)
    • Comic Book Reading Study (Oct. 10th)
    • IE Class (Sept. 30th)
  • Original Fieldnotes
    • Melissa Archer (Meaux) Interview  (Nov. 18th)
    • Nate Brinlee Interview (Nov. 9th)
    • Anthony Rodriquez Interview (Nov. 2nd)
    • “On Being an Artist…” (Oct. 22nd)
    • “Writing Local History Panel” (Oct. 20th)
    • Comic Book Reading Study (Oct. 10th)
    • IE Class (Sept. 30th)
  • Writing Assignments
    • WA – 2
    • WA – 3
    • WA – 4
Nov
19

Hey guys! I decided for this research journal to give you guys a bit of a transcript for my WA-4. I’ve written out all of the parts spoken by me, and you’ll notice that everything in brackets or next to a bullet is a sound clip that I spliced in. The past few days in my fieldsite have included me conducting a short survey, interviewing Melissa Archer (local comic writer for The East Texan), and e-mailing the writer/drawer of the Star Wars: Clone Wars comic book series, Tony Harris. Now I’m just waiting for a reply from him (One hopefully full of answers to the various questions I asked him. Yeah I’m tryin’ an e-mail interview…sue me.) while I review the video of my interview with Melissa.  Fortunately, I was able to surmise a treasure trove of audio clips to use for my WA-4 from both her interview and the mini-survey. If you’d like to be my peer reviewer for Thursday, November the 19th, just hit me up when class starts. Well guys, I hope you enjoy my WA-4 outline, and I wish you all the best of luck as we draw closer to the end of our research. I can’t wait to see/read/hear all of y’all’s final ethnographic essays!

WA – 4 Outline:

Comics & comic books have come a long way. They speckle our history with simple cave drawings, Egyptian hieroglyphs, series of painstakingly detailed works of Victorian art, newspaper funnies, and, yes, even men rampaging across elaborately decorated panels with underwear over their pants. Comics have evolved and shaped our society just as much as our society has shaped them in return. A local Commerce student and avid reader of comics felt that…

<Def. of Comic Book>

Scott McCloud, author of the book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art defines comics as juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer. But what does this mean to us, the comic book readers, because we’re really the ones who define what is and isn’t a comic. I pose the question, “What do you see when you look at comics?”

  1. What Do You See (AR1) [edit]
  2. What Do You See (N1)
  3. What Do You See (J1)
  4. What Do You See (M1)
  5. What Do You See (V1)
  6. What Do You See (S1)
  7. What Do You See (A1)
  8. What Do You See (AR2)
  9. What Do You See (J2)
  10. What Do You See (A2)
  11. What Do You See (N2)
  12. What Do You See (V2)
  13. What Do You See (A3)
  14. What Do You See (J3)
  15. What Do You See (N3)
  16. What Do You See (V4)
  17. What Do You See (N4)
  18. What Do You See (N5)

Heheh ok, ok so it’s apparent that we all see different things, but why is this so? What is it that influences each reader differently? Are there any recurring themes that affect us all and if so, what are they? I sat down with Mr. Anthony Rodriguez, a fellow student here at Texas A&M University – Commerce, in search of just what goes on in the mind of a comic book reader. For those of you who are, as of yet, unacquainted with Anthony just know that he has a deep passion for comics and intends to use his degree in business to aide him in opening a comic book shop of his own. Throughout our interview he enlightened me as to how he viewed comics and why he has come to see them the way he does today.

Anthony went into great detail explaining to me why he liked all of his favorite characters, but he seemed to highlight two characters very specifically…

<Invincible as Influence>

Surprisingly enough, Anthony seems to go from admiring this flawed, but quite near picturesque hero to revering some who…

<Loser Spider-Man as Influence>

<Spider-Man as Influence>

Though characters are the most common influence I’ve witnessed when it comes to the comic book realm, they are not the sole perpetuators of this sub-culture. As Spidey would say, even your “friendly neighborhood” acquaintances could influence what, how, and even when you read or write comics. Anthony told me about…

<Mom as Influence>

We may not even know our influences personally, but could have been so influenced by their works that it changed the way we viewed our field.

<J. Michael Stravenskie as Influence>

Now for my grand finale I’ll reveal one of the deepest, darkest secrets of the literary culture. What you’ve read can affect how you read and write other things! Think about it for a sec, but not too hard; trust me it can really screw with your head if ya let it get to ya. Anthony showed me that what we’ve read in the past can have a profound effect on what we read next or how we perceive everything else that we will read in the future. One such work of literature that stood out to me was…

<Wizard Magazine as Influence>

The amazing thing is that these works of literature don’t necessarily have to be books or magazines. Near the end of my interview with Anthony he told me…

<Blogs as Influence>

Bearing all this in mind, it’s easy to see that the perception of comics and comic books will differ slightly or immensely from person to person. That’s the inherent beauty of today’s comic book. It has something that caters to every subculture whether you be the nerd, the jock, or simply someone looking for a good laugh. Comics help us get through the day, and let’s face it without ‘em you’re like Calvin without Hobbes; zero imagination.

Nov
11

What’s Up in My Research:

Right now I’m not 100% where I’d like to be, but I’m not that far off either. I’ve collected three VERY solid interviews, two of which I was able to record. After analyzing these interviews I found there were things that I’d have liked my interviewees to elaborate on more, which brings me to the prospect of re-interviewing all of them. Thanks to my roomie Nate I’ve also been able to collect a good amount of artifacts ranging from a floor plan of the comic convention that he, his brother, and I attended to a pack of super-hero trading cards. All of the artifacts I’ve collected so far seem relevant to my final project, so I fortunately haven’t had to discard any artifacts yet. I still would like to do a few surveys with my fellow classmates acting as participants. The next stint of my research will likely focus more on this type of field research. A few survey skeletons can be found on my hard drive, but I’d like to use a website referred to me via Ashley Moses called surveymule.com. With this I’ll be able to create a ten question survey and have a link for my participants to follow to fill this survey out. I do have a question for you, though, Dr. Carter. Do you know of any aspiring comic book writers, or someone relevant to my topic [the study of the effects that literacy has on reading/writing comic books] for that matter, that I could possibly set up an interview with? I believe that my paper is going to end up fleshing out like Deborah Brandt’s essay on the sponsors of literacy. I feel that, as of this point, I can present my personal views on how literacy effects readers/writers of comics, and using what I’ve procured from my fieldstudies, reinforce those views with personal accounts from my interviewees. Sound like a solid plan? I just remembered how Brandt followed a similar structure by explaining how environment/parents/lifestyles affected her interviewees’ lives and the role literacy played in them. Anyways, that’s what I’ve got planned for my final research project so far. Please lemme know if you think I’m goin’ astray, or if you have any suggestions that would make my paper/thesis/research better.

Updated Table of Contents:

  • Interviews
    • CD of the Audio from my Interview with Nate Brinlee
    • CD of the Audio from my Interview with Anthony Rodriguez
  • Fieldsite Artifacts
    • Pack of Super-Hero Trading Cards
    • Map of Convention Layout
    • Nate’s Handwritten Note of the Event
    • Postcard From the Convention
  • Permission Forms
    • Nate Brinlee
    • Anthony Rodriguez
    • Tony Harris
  • Interview Scripts
    • Nate Brinlee (Nov. 9th)
    • Anthony Rodriguez (Nov. 2nd)
    • Tony Harris (Oct. 25th)
    • Arielle McMahon (Oct. 22nd)
    • Kenneth Moore (Sept. 24th) [e-mail]
    • Erin O’ Grady (Sept. 23rd) [e-mail]
    • John Huizar (Sept. 23rd) [e-mail]
  • Expanded Fieldnotes
    • “On Being an Artist…” (Oct. 22nd)
    • “Writing Local History Panel” (Oct. 20th)
    • Comic Book Reading Study (Oct. 10th)
    • IE Class (Sept. 30th)
  • Original Fieldnotes
    • Nate Brinlee Interview (Nov. 9th)
    • Anthony Rodriquez Interview (Nov. 2nd)
    • “On Being an Artist…” (Oct. 22nd)
    • “Writing Local History Panel” (Oct. 20th)
    • Comic Book Reading Study (Oct. 10th)
    • IE Class (Sept. 30th)
  • Writing Assignments
    • WA – 2
    • WA – 3

Updated Codebook:

I1 = Influenced by book

I2 = Influenced by movie

I3 = Influenced by person

I4 = Influenced by environment

I5 = Influenced by other

I6 = Influenced by a character/story

I7 = Influenced by text/script/words (in general)

A1 = Affect on teaching methods

A2 = Affect on learning methods

A3 = Affect on social skills

A4 = Affect on morals/beliefs/ethics

A5 = Affect on emotions

PI = Positive Influence

NI = Negative Influence

CH = Comic history fact

CH2 = Major turning point in comic history

CH3 = Comic book stat

I’m sorry Dr. Carter, but unfortunately I didn’t add any codes for this week. Lately, all of my codes have served me well and I don’t see the need to drop any of them. My interview with Nate provided me a great deal of facts about the history of comics so I was able to make use of my CH code quite a bit, but the interview really didn’t have anything that stood out enough to justify me allocating a brand new code to. It’s not that I’m being lazy, I just really feel that my codes are enough to cover all of my material so far. This next week though, I’ll hopefully be interviewing some writers of different kinds of comics (newspaper comics, comic strips, etc. Things besides comic books in particular) which should provoke the need for new or slightly revised codes.

One-Page Analysis:

This week I was able to add a vital interview to my portfolio. On Monday night (or Tuesday morning depending on how you wanna look at it) I was able to interview the person who had the most influence in getting me re-interested in comic books; my best friend and roommate Nate. The interview went really well, and from this interview I was able to add another permission form, a new interview script, more fieldnotes, and even a recording of our interview housed safely on a CD. My comic book sensei, so to speak, added a whole new perspective for me to think about which I’ll undoubtedly add to my final paper. Nate is extremely interested in the science behind the comics, especially the villains. He likes to study why Killer Croc looks the way he does, why Two-Face is obsessed with using a coin to decide his victims’ fate, and even how Batman is able to locate the criminals from his computer in the Batcave. I’ve often questioned these things myself, but it took Nate’s love for this kind of research to show me that this could actually warrant a section in my final ethnographic essay. Nate also provided a neat little artifact for me to add to my portfolio in the form of a deck of Super-Hero Trading Cards. Each card is part of a card game and displays a specific rule or function to adhere to the guidelines of that game, but each card also gives great insight into the character which is portrayed on that card. A few of the cards even delve into that character’s personal history or background. It was this aspect that allowed me to utilize my CH and CH3 annotations. My fieldnotes of Nate’s interview also show a myriad of these annotations as well, because Nate has base when it comes to comic book history and he was more than willing to share his knowledge with me when prompted. I’m really happy with my latest additions to my portfolio, especially since they’ve opened up a whole new subfield to explore in the comic book realm.

Though I’ve made many additions to my research portfolio, my goal for my final ethnographic essay still remains the same. I hope to show how literature affects how people read, write, use, and view comic books. It is my whole-hearted belief that past literature, among other influences, affects how writers write new comic books and how readers interpret the comics they read. My aspirations also include validating comic books as a viable tool for teaching, which is actually a recurring theme during the majority of my research. Thankfully I was able to achieve my previous goal of exploring the “dark side” of comics in a way. Nate gave me extensive details on the psyche and motives of key villains in the comic book world. These villains include such classics as Two-Face (whom Nate seemed to know the MOST about), the Joker, the Riddler, Venom, Killer Croc, as well as a plethora of other characters from various series ranging all the way from Super-Man to Alien vs. Predator. I’m still hoping to reconnect with Tony Harris or Anthony Rodriguez to gather some more about what and how writers think when writing comic books. Breanna also told me of one of her friends named Michael, I believe, who is looking into starting a comic series of his own. I’d like to get with this man to see why he wants to construct a comic, what his motivations were for this idea, and what all he plans to do with/through his comic. Heheh, this is gonna sound funny, but as I was writing that last part it gave me an idea for another interview I’d like to conduct; one with Melissa Archer (comic artist for our local paper The East Texan). The refrigerator that is slunked in our apartment is a partial monument to her early works for this paper. She has even done some cartoon drawings on our little dry-erase board perched on the upper levels of this refrigerator. I’d like to get with her and just talk and see what goes through her mind when trying to draw comics for a newspaper. How exactly would this differ from drawing comics for a comic book, graphic novel, or magazine? Apart from interviews I plan to continue my reading of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. These are a few of the things that I have planned for this next week in my field research. Things are looking promising and it just keeps getting more fun the deeper I go down the rabbit hole. Can’t wait to hear what all you guys have in store before we let our for Thanksgiving break. Good luck everyone!

Nov
10

My WA – 4:

For my WA – 4 I plan to actually try my hand at an audio essay. I was able to get conduct a dynamite interview with a fellow TAMU-C student named Anthony Rodriguez, no not only reads, but also writes comic books. I felt he would be a great person to interview, because he could give me insight as to the reason(s) why a person may read/write a comic book. Having had experience with both these aspects in the comic book universe, I decided to briefly inquire as to how he viewed comics and what influenced these views. Fortunately, he was more than comfortable with expressing his personal thoughts about how he thought comic books should be viewed by the community. Without his prior knowledge and/or prompt from me, Anthony Rodriguez had just given me exactly what I needed to put in my paper. This is the core and essence of what I’m looking for through my research. Now I’ll be able to integrate what I’ve found into my final research paper to give my readers a view of the comic book universe through the eyes a zealous comic book fan. His excellent insight and accounts have made me eager to review our interview and revise my questions for a second interview.

Codebook:

I’ve found that my most frequently used codes are the ones involving what/who influences a reader/writer and what kind of influence (positive or negative) they are. Normally this would be a bit of a problem, but since both of these codes are the foundation of my initial research question I’m not too worried about it. The majority of the data that I’ve dug up thus far has shown me the positive impact that comic books have had on the communities in question. I’ve found that not only have comic books evolved from a mere extension of the funnies to an imperative medium for literary expression, but I’ve seen it being employed as a tool for teaching. Apparently comic books have branched out from the cute, childish stories of guys running around wearing underwear over their tights. Nowadays there is a comic for anything and anybody; you name it: sports, music, learning a trade, research, classic novel adaptations, the classic super-hero stories, and much more. I found it quite interesting that the Japanese write some comic books along the same plot-style as we Americans write soap-operas. A few manga (Japanese comic books) are written to tell a story about nothing but a love story or life in high school (One Tree Hill anyone?…) or even something as simple as a boy playing football. This unique use of comic books struck me as odd, for I had always associated comic books with the standard set by Marvel and DC Comics (super-heroes). As I continue with the next portion of my field research I will not only add to, but also revisit some of my earlier codes so that my codebook will remain up to date and relevant to my general research.

Expanded Fieldnotes:

Last class period Dr. Carter graced us with the opportunity to view one of her interviews that she conducted during her work for her research project of East Caney. What I got from watching the interviews regarding East Caney was actually crucial knowledge that I wish I had before I conducted my first MAJOR interview. From reading over Dr. Carter’s fieldnotes I noticed that she took very brief, concise notes about only the important things. So far I’ve been too focused on trying to record every little spec of information during an interview that I tend to miss some of the major issues. Fortunately, I’ve been able to record my latest interviews and review them afterwards. Now, however, I’ve learned to note only the things that I feel I may be able to expand upon, or really REALLY need to make sure that I don’t forget. Most of these things include possible questions for a follow-up interview, topics to do independent research on, or key notes about the scenery that I won’t be able to pick up on later during my reviewing of the audio recording. I also noted that Dr. Carter did an excellent job of getting the interviewees to elaborate on her questions without having to ask them each and every time to do so. She accomplished this by asking “open” questions and then follow-up questions intended to challenge the interviewee to go more in depth. Another thing I was able to derive from this short exercise was the prospect of using my codebook in my original fieldnotes. This would definitely save me lots of time while taking the actual notes, and save me trouble of annotating them later during my analysis. This also led me to realize that my codebook is more of a living, organic document that’s subject to change throughout my entire research project. Unlike most documentation, my codebook wasn’t designed to be written once and then forgotten about. As Dr. Carter watched through her interview again with us, after she’s done so Lord knows how many times, I noticed that she was still looking for new codes that would help her analyze and take faster notes for the future. Utilizing this knowledge I was able to almost double my original codebook after analyzing all of the data I’ve collected. Thanks to Dr. Carter’s example I know feel that I can more efficiently take, analyze, and question my fieldnotes. I plan to encompass all of this newfound enlightenment as I embark on my next round of interviews, one of which I plan to inquire (or rather re-inquire) about the history and influences of the comic book writer Tony Harris via e-mail.

Nov
04

Table of Contents:

  • Interviews
    • CD of the Audio from my Interview with Anthony Rodriguez
  • Fieldsite Artifacts
    • Map of Convention Layout
    • Nate’s Handwritten Note of the Event
    • Postcard From the Convention
  • Permission Forms
    • Anthony Rodriguez
    • Tony Harris
  • Interview Scripts
    • Anthony Rodriguez (Nov. 2nd)
    • Tony Harris (Oct. 25th)
    • Arielle McMahon (Oct. 22nd)
    • Kenneth Moore (Sept. 24th) [e-mail]
    • Erin O’ Grady (Sept. 23rd) [e-mail]
    • John Huizar (Sept. 23rd) [e-mail]
  • Expanded Fieldnotes
    • “On Being an Artist…” (Oct. 22nd)
    • “Writing Local History Panel” (Oct. 20th)
    • Comic Book Reading Study (Oct. 10th)
    • IE Class (Sept. 30th)
  • Original Fieldnotes
    • Anthony Rodriquez Interview (Nov. 2nd)
    • “On Being an Artist…” (Oct. 22nd)
    • “Writing Local History Panel” (Oct. 20th)
    • Comic Book Reading Study (Oct. 10th)
    • IE Class (Sept. 30th)
  • Writing Assignments
    • WA – 2
    • WA – 3

Codebook:

A1 = Affect on teaching methods

A2 = Affect on learning methods

A3 = Affect on social skills

A4 = Affect on morals/beliefs/ethics

A5 = Affect on emotions

CH = Comic history fact

CH2 = Major turning point in comic history

CH3 = Comic book stat

I1 = Influenced by book

I2 = Influenced by movie

I3 = Influenced by person

I4 = Influenced by environment

I5 = Influenced by other

I6 = Influenced by a character/story

I7 = Influenced by text/script/words (in general)

NI = Negative Influence

PI = Positive Influence

Nov
04

Throughout my fieldstudies and research I come across lots of important information and artifacts. My most prized artifact, which coincidentally happens to be my latest collected, comes in the form of a CD-R with the audio recording of an interview I had with Anthony Rodriguez (a fellow student and comic book lover here at TAMU – C). This prized form of technological advancement safeguards the conversations that transpired between Anthony and I as he gave me his perspective, both as a reader and writer, of comic books and the way society views them. Thankfully I was able to backup this exchange of ideas across multiple forms, because Anthony blessed me with enough information and insight to almost write my whole ethnographic essay about him! I also was able to procure a small postcard, convention layout plan, and handwritten note from Nate while attending the Star Wars Day III convention in Plano. These artifacts provide an excellent medium of memory recollection. Though I have tons of pictures from the event, I still refer back to the layout map to put the whole convention back into perspective. The postcard and note serve to remind me of the feeling, nature, and atmosphere that was enveloping me throughout the entire convention. I was fortunate enough to interview a professional comic book writer by the name of Tony Harris at the convention, and his, as well as Anthony and Arielle McMahon’s, interview scripts are tucked neatly away inside my research portfolio as well. Throughout my research I not only want to find out what influences the writers, but what influences the readers of comic books as well. It’s imperative that I get a good look at comic books from both sides, because both have different views about comic books and certain influences affect readers differently than writers. I’m tellin’ ya guys, this is the kinda research that I actually enjoy doing, and I’m having a blast discovering all of the different ways that comic books affect (and are affected by) people. Naturally, my fieldnotes (both expanded and original) are ever-present (and growing in number) in my research portfolio should I need to refer back to them. Surprisingly enough, this is often a very frequent habit of mine when writing WA’s or RJ’s. Speaking of WA’s, I was surprised to learn that my WA – 1 had no relevance to my research project, so it was tossed aside leaving only WA – 2 & 3. Anyways, both of those are in my arsenal and I’m sure I’ll pull pictures and possibly even whole passages from them when writing my final ethnographic research paper. The rest of the contents of my research portfolio is comprised of interviewee permission forms, blank interview scripts, blank surveys, and other blank documents awaiting the hour in which they will be utilized to reap some greater knowledge of the comic book subculture.

I hope through this project to be able to show how literature affects how people read, write, use, and view comic books. It is my whole-hearted belief that past literature, among other influences, affects how writers write new comic books and how readers interpret the comics they read. My aspirations also include validating comic books as a viable tool for teaching, which is actually a recurring theme during the majority of my research. From what I’ve gathered so far I’ve been able to paint a clear picture on how comic books have bettered humanity, but now I want to start delving into the idea that comic books may have a negative impact on society. To every Yin there must be a Yang. I know of only one case in which this is not true, and that’s the case of my lord and savior Jesus Christ; but comic books aren’t perfect and are therefore subject to possessing a “dark-side”… bum Bum BUM!… Heheh, gosh I’ve been at this too long. Seriously though, I would like to know if comic books utilize such topics as the War in Iraq/Iran, anarchy, prostitution, etc. to sway the publics’ opinion in a negative way. For this I’d like to go back and conduct another interview with either Tony Harris or Anthony Rodriguez to get a writer’s perspective on such influences and how they would affect the writing process of a comic book. Who better to turn to when motivation is in question other than the original source? It is my hopes that they can illustrate how they employ certain tactics to get the reader to see things the way they’d like them to. Also, I may be able to do some online research into the history of comic books to see if the government has reports of or even conducted such experiments (experiments = using comics to influence/sway public opinion) themselves. The last item on my current agenda is to read Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud. This is a book, given to me by none other than Anthony Rodriguez himself, written entirely in the comic book format illustrating McClouds views on comic books and the comic book universe.

I’m actually really excited about starting this next leg of my research, because I mean c’mon, I get to read a comic book ABOUT comic books! Heheh, well anyways, that’s what I’ve got on tap for the next few weeks. Lookin’ forward to seeing what everyone else has got planned. Good luck guys!😛

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