In the 2022 school year, I decided to run a comic book club in the school library that I manage. I’ve run a manga club for 9 years there and decided to start a comic book club to focus on the massive popularity of the comics and graphic novels that we have on the shelves. I’ve talked before about the huge popularity of our annual ComiCon, this is one of our most sought after programs. I felt like having a dedicated, weekly comic book club would be very popular.
There are many different activities to choose from and many approaches with a comic book club, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. You simply need to see if there’s a need, then jump in and give it a try.
I aim our comic book club at ages 11 and up, it usually attracts between ages 11-13 and I have found that I’m having to bring over extra tables and chairs — it’s great to see! Our comic book club was very popular from the start and it’s been really great to see the students taking part in such an enthusiastic way. Here are some activities and events I’m doing this year.
I started out by simply giving attendees a huge sheet of paper from our flip chart and asked them to jot down ideas as to what the comic book club should be called. The group decided on the “Comics Are Awesome Club,” which sounded fine with me. This was a fun, easy, and quick activity to get them started during their first session. They loved having a voice in deciding the name of their comic book club.
YouTube is amazing for finding great “how to draw” videos. There are really simple ones out there and sometimes, I just put up the screen and show a few of those during lunch hour and the students really enjoy them. They often stray into their own thing but you find videos out there for all kinds of different tastes. I find these work better for the younger crowd but it’s something worth looking at if you have access to screens. All club attendees need are tables, pens, and pencils and they’re all set!
Jarrett Lerner has some really simple and effective comic book based activities on his website. These are free to print and distribute, and I always like to give him credit on social media when I post pics of our students’ work. Essentially, Jarrett starts a comic book panel and asks kids to finish the panels for him. They LOVE doing these and will ask for the sheets even when comic book club is not going on. This is an easy go-to if you need something quick to give students a fun activity.
I know it’s not something everyone can do, as money is tight. However, if you can find the dough somewhere, booking an illustrator would be an amazing event. I can’t tell you how much our students love having illustrators come to the library. My goal this year is to try and have the comic book club come to our ComiCon and have an illustrator visit them on that day. I think it will make it extra special for them.
The comic book club isn’t all about drawing, as not everyone enjoys drawing if they don’t feel confident in it. My goal this year is to get even more students reading comics and writing reviews of them for other students to see. I want to create a buzz around the school regarding comics in order to stop the stereotype that they aren’t real books or don’t count as reading (things said mostly by adults). Comic book circulation is the highest it’s ever been in our school, and my hope is that it can go even higher as we can spread the word about comics in a positive and fun way.
I run our comics club program every week at lunch. It lasts around 45 minutes and is a lot of fun. It’s chaotic, noisy, and boisterous but I really enjoy it. The students that come all have the same thing in common: they love all the different comics we have to offer. My advice is to not stress yourself out with complicated crafts or activities. We play Pictionary, we draw, we talk about comic books, we have fun, and I’ve grown to really love it.