Create a Comic Project
|Create a Comic Project|
|Update Schedule||Monday through Friday|
|Launch Date||November 29, 2006|
The Create a Comic Project (CCP) is an award-winning afterschool literacy program for disadvantaged youths that uses webcomics as instructional tools for creative writing. It is currently based in Pittsburgh, PA, and is the city's only non-profit comic-based educational program. Every weekday, and sometimes on weekends, the comics created by CCP students are posted to the website.
The CCP in America started in November 2006 and was run in the New Haven Public Library of Connecticut until June 2007. A series of four CCP workshops was held for children at the Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center in May 2007.
Since its first meeting on November 29, 2006, the CCP has garnered significant praise from library staff and parents and has been featured in the Yale Daily News, New Haven Advocate, and New Haven Register. It is currently one of the Top 100 comics on Comic Genesis. The CCP is supported by many notable webcomic creators, including Jeph Jacques, David Willis, and Kazu Kibuishi. It is arguably one of the largest community service programs involving webcomics in the country.
The Create a Comic Project is a youth literacy project that started in Fall 2006. It used two types of templates to teach kids: blank templates that allow kids to draw their own pictures; and comic templates where individual strips from webcomics have their text blanked out, but the art left intact. The children, given lessons in how to read and write comics, were handed various templates of both types to fill out, allowing them to practice the skills taught.
Completed templates were scanned, resized and/or typed up to improve readability, and then posted to the CCP website. Comics made from both types of templates were posted. Only the first name and sometimes age of the children were included on the posted comics to protect their identities.
The CCP had a submission box, where students could place comics they were particularly proud of. These comics were then posted to a bulletin board outside the children's room of the library after being scanned. The CCP also used a "Can of Inspiration." It contained slips of paper with ideas for character personalities, snippets of dialogue, and topic ideas. The Can of Inspiration was decorated with a cut out of Loki from Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki.
On May 2, the CCP was part of New Haven's official Big Read events with a special session based on "To Kill a Mockingbird." In Spring 2007, Yale University invited the CCP's instructor to teach at the Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center. A series of four lessons - labeled Workshops to differentiate them from the main sessions - were presented to students there during the month of May.
The last project session in New Haven was May 30, 2007. The last workshop was May 31, 2007.
A workshop celebrating the one-year anniversary of the CCP was held toward the end of 2007. Two workshops were later held in 2008: March 10 at the Human Service Center in Turtle Creek, PA, and March 13 at the Braddock Carnegie Library. Both locations serve economically depressed regions of Greater Pittsburgh.
It was in November 2007 that the "Module" portion of the project began, which sought to combine comics with education. The early experiments were conducted in conjunction with University of Pittsburgh graduate courses. This early work lead to an even larger project soon after: on February 22, 2008, the Create a Comic Project and the University of Pittsburgh were awarded a grant from the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) to assist in putting on events for National Public Health Week (NPHW), April 7 - 13, 2008. This set up an activity on April 10, 2008, where the project went to Northview Heights Elementary and another with the CCP returning to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh on April 15, 2008. Both events were centered around health education, as opposed to youth literacy.
In July 2008, regular sessions resumed through the Collegiate YMCA, a branch of the Pittsburgh YMCA. In the summer, they were held as part of the YMCA's summer camp. In the fall, the program moved to Sunnyside Elementary. For the summer of 2009, the project held sessions at several YMCA summer camps in the area in addition to the Collegiate YMCA, plus sessions at the Northland Library. The project's sessions in Pittsburgh ceased at the end of July 2009.
 New York
While no stand alone sessions were held in New York City, the Create a Comic Project's Module component was approved for use in several NYC schools to help teach math, including Roberto Clement Middle School IS195, LaGuardia High School, and the School at Columbia. While at the latter the Create a Comic Club, an after-school program, was formed. The club was aimed to help students create their own comics and publish them online. One notable guest speaker to address the club was Kittyhawk of Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki. These activities ended with the school year in June 2010.
The project is currently based in Houston.
 Anime Conventions
In April 2009, the project was invited to host a workshop at Tekkoshocon 7 in Pittsburgh. The 2-hour workshop was held Saturday, April 4. The tournament was invited back to Tekkoshocon 8 where it hosted another two-hour competition.
From the success of the first tournament at Tekkoshocon, the project has gone on to host tournaments at several anime conventions, including Otakon (2009, 2010, 2011), Ikkicon (2010), and Anime Overload (2011).
On Saturday June 2, 2007, the Create a Comic Project held the Comic Making Tournament (CMT), a full day event consisting of five activities for children to participate in with awards given for the best comics. The five activities involved the use of templates with pre-drawn art and the creation of original material in both short and long form. There was also an event emphasizing speed. The Tournament had many sponsors, including the New Haven Public Library, Yale University, Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center, New Haven Reads Book Bank, and several local business.
In June 2007, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven awarded the Create a Comic Project a New Haven Neighborhood Small Grant for $1300 to fund a second Comic Making Tournament in New Haven. The CMT II occurred March 8, 2008. It featured 7 activities, with four (short form pre-drawn, short form original, long form pre-drawn, and Endurance) from the first tournament and 3 new events (hybrid, non-linear, and Create a Comic Infinity).
In June 2008, the Community Foundation awarded the Create a Comic Project a second Neighborhood Small Grant for $1400 to fund a third tournament. The Comic Making Tournament III occurred March 14, 2009. It featured 7 activities with 6 from before (short form pre-drawn, hybrid, non-linear, original, long form pre-drawn, endurance) and 1 new activity (Round Robin Onslaught).
The Community Foundation awarded the project a third grant in April 2009. This lead to the fourth and final tournament: Comic Making Tournament IV. The CMT IV was split between two self-contained weekends, allowing more students to participate in each. It featured fewer events, but with more time for each.
The Create a Comic Project began as an ESL classroom activity developed by a teacher working for Hess Educational Organization in Taiwan, ROC. It was first used in the summer of 2005 and used templates entirely based on Okashina Okashi. Hess later published the CCP as part of a series of activity books, bringing it into the formal curriculum of roughly 60,000 students in both the Republic of China and Singapore.
 Comics Used
The Create a Comic Project used templates based on many notable webcomics. Most are used with explicit permission from the creators. Others are used from comics that have allowed themselves to be used for similar activities in the past (such as the Penny Arcade Remix). As all templates are used to teach children, the educational provision of Fair Use applies.
In alphabetical order:
- 8-Bit Theater
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
- Afterlife Inc.
- A Girl and Her Fed
- And Shine Heaven Now
- Awkward Zombie
- Blue and Blond
- Cardboard Angels
- Chaos Punks
- Chugworth Academy
- Clive and Cabbage
- The Coffee Achievers
- College Roomies from Hell!!!
- Daisy is Dead
- Delve into Fantasy
- Demonology 101
- The Devil's Panties
- Diesel Sweeties
- Dinosaur Comics
- Dominic Deegan
- The Dreamland Chronicles
- Errant Story
- Exploitation Now
- Explorers of the Unknown
- Faking Life
- Finder's Keepers
- Fork You
- Fragile Gravity
- Freshman 15
- Geeks Next Door
- Ganbare! Shimura-san
- Geist Panik
- Gello Apocalypse
- Ghastly's Ghastly Comic
- Ghost Hunters
- Girl Genius
- Grim Tales from Down Below
- Hate Song
- Hero by Night
- Hookie Dookie Panic!
- I Come From Mars
- In His Likeness
- It's Walky!
- Kastle Comics
- Kevin and Kell
- King of the Web
- Knight of Time
- Lil' Formers
- Li'l Mell and Sergio
- Little Dee
- Lovarian Adventures
- Mac Hall
- Maq #041
- Mystic Revolution
- Nemu Nemu
- No Pink Ponies
- No Rest for the Wicked
- Nothing Nice to Say
- Octopus Pie
- Okashina Okashi
- Paradigm Shift
- Paradox Lost
- The Path
- Penny & Aggie
- Penny Arcade
- Phineus: Magician for Hire
- Piled Higher and Deeper
- Planet Karen
- PowerPuff Girls Doujinshi
- Project C
- Punks and Nerds
- Questionable Content
- Red String
- Reman Mythology
- The Return of Stickman
- Rip & Teri
- Rob and Elliot
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
- Scary Go Round
- School of Rejects
- Seasons of Constancy
- Simulated Comic Product
- Skin Horse
- Sledge Bunny
- Sluggy Freelance
- Snafu Comics
- Something Like Life
- Sorcerers & Secretaries
- Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki
- Sugar Bits
- The System
- Tea Club
- Templar, Arizona
- Three Panel Soul
- Tracy and Tristan
- Tsunami Channel
- TV Circuit
- Vampire Overlords
- Venus Envy
- Versus Verses
- Workshop 13
- World of Orenda
- You'll Have That
- Zombies Calling
- Zorphbert and Fred
Additionally, several comics are based on the works of artists from DeviantArt, including Johane Matte, Sora-ko, TwinEnigma, John Su, Sailor Energy, Witch Girl Pilar, and Del Borovic.
 Sites and Sponsors
The comic project has held events at many locations and received support from various organizations.
- New Haven Public Library
- Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center
- Pittsburgh Cartoon Museum
- Human Service Center
- Braddock Carnegie Library
- Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
- Northview Elementary
- First Baptist Church - Collegiate YMCA Summer Camp
- Shadyside Boys and Girls Club
- Sunnyside Elementary - Collegiate YMCA After-school Program
- Squirrel Hill Carnegie Library
- Western Area YMCA
- Northland Public Library
- Baierl Family YMCA
- Allegheny YMCA
- Roberto Clemente IS195 Middle School
- LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts
- The School at Columbia University
- University of Texas Charter School
Sponsors are those who gave monetary or material support to the project but did not physically host an event.
- Yale University
- New Haven Reads
- Barnes & Noble Yale Bookstore
- Book Trader's Cafe
- Alternate Universe
- Hull's Art Supplies and Framing
- Community Foundation for Greater New Haven
- University of Pittsburgh
- Association of Schools of Public Health
- Teachers College, Columbia University
 Guest Comics
- Questionable Content used a CCP guest comic on March 26, 2007. "It's the funniest (unintentional) parody of my comic I've ever read," said Jeph. 
- And Shine Heaven Now posted a guest comic in October 2007. 
- For the CCP's one year anniversary November 29, 2007, several webcomics posted guest comics, including: Okashina Okashi , And Shine Heaven Now , Faking Life , Krakow , and Ghastly's Ghastly Comic .
- Shortpacked posted a two-part guest comic in December 2007.  
- Daisy is Dead posted a CCP comic as part of her break. 
- Fleen mentioned the CCP in a discussion about Wikipedia soon after the Yale Daily News article. 
- Webcomicker declared the CCP "A Wonderful Project indeed!" 
- The Spamusement forum was inspired by the CCP to adapt their own version as a forum game.  
- KittyHawk of Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki praised the CCP. "You have made my day. Teach those kids to comic well!" 
- Robert Anke of Running in the Halls was inspired by the CCP to use his own comic for a similar project in the school where he teaches. 
- Fleen helped advertise the Comic Making Tournament. 
- Daisy is Dead made a comic dedicated to the CCP after joining it. 
- New Haven Neighborhood Small Grant from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (2007)
- "This is Public Health" Campaign Award from the Association of Schools of Public Health (2008)
- New Haven Neighborhood Small Grant from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (2008)
- Runner-Up, "The Blank Comic Book Contest" by About Comics (2008) 
- New Haven Neighborhood Small Grant from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (2009)
- Baird, John & Erin Ptah. Create a Comic: Inspiration. New York, NY: Lulu.com, 2010.
- Baird, John. Create a Comic Project #1 (2nd Edition). New York, NY: Lulu.com, 2010.
- Baird, John & Erin Ptah. Create a Comic Project #2. Pittsburgh, PA: Lulu.com, 2008.
- Baird, John & Ryan Estrada. Create a Comic Project Presents: Climate Change. Pittsburgh, PA: Lulu.com, 2008.
- Baird, John. Create a Comic Project #1. Pittsburgh, PA: Lulu.com, 2008.
- Baird, John. "Create a Comic." In Language Learning Games and Activities Volume 3 pg 14-15, edited by Gary Bosomworth and Sheryn Williams. Taipei, Taiwan ROC: Hess Educational Organization, 2005.
- "Kids can learn through comic relief" - 2/8/07 Yale Daily News article on the CCP
- "DIY Youth Programs" - 2/22/07 New Haven Advocate article mentioning the CCP alongside other New Haven youth programs
- "Cartoons propel creative process" - 3/19/07 New Haven Register article on the CCP, including several of the comics used
- Create a Comic Mockingbird Special - The CCP's special Big Read session
- "Grants support New Haven neighborhood Blockwatch projects, summer community events and more" - Press release about the CCP's grant award
- ASPH Friday Letter #1506 - The 2/29/08 ASPH newsletter announcing that Baird and the University of Pittsburgh had won a "This is Public Health" Campaign Challenge Award.
- The Create a Comic Project - In-depth interview published in Carmine Magazine on March 15, 2009.
- "Comic Tournament in New Haven." Grand News Community Newspaper, April 2009.
- Otakon 2009: Manga, Literacy, and Children - Coverage of the project's Otakon 2009 panel.
- "Picturevoice: Health Communication Through Art." Presentation. Society for Public Health Education 60th Annual Meeting. Philadelphia, PA. November 6, 2009.
- "Healthy Holidays: Lessons Learned from a Community Education Event." Presentation. American Public Health Association 137th Annual Meeting. Philadephia, PA. November 11, 2009.
- "Erin E. Binkley." Wheaton College. Accessed: May 7, 2010. http://wheatoncollege.edu/blog/2010/erin-binkley/
 External Links
- The Create a Comic Project - Main page
- The Create a Comic Project Blog - Regularly updated blog with current CCP news
- Create a Comic Project - Wikipedia article