The Secret Language of Comics

A Visualization of Visual Learning

The process of creating this cumulative ENGRD learning chart was fairly tedious. At first, I didn’t even know where to begin: what format or images I wanted to use. I tried drafting a few hand-drawn sketches but eventually decided to go the digital route and use pixlr. I used a blank comic format for obvious reasons, and over an hour, I assembled a few photos that I thought represented the learning goals for this class.

Daydream Believer


My mix is mostly comprised of songs about a subject conceiving of fantastical things, as opposed to songs about fantastical things on their own. The general theme of my mix is daydreaming, though I put special thought into how I ordered the songs. Taking a cue from Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, my mix opens with The Doors’ The End which ironically represents the beginning of the day. The next several songs address themes of daydreaming or projecting a fantasy onto mundane things, as is the case for Pale Blue Eyes and Real Love Baby, or perhaps where it does not exist at all, as is the case for Manifest and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. My mix ends with George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass followed by The Beatle’s A Day in the Life representing the end of a day of daydreaming.

Benjamin Meyer Halfa Kucha Reflection

I found writing my halfa kucha argument difficult because of the medium’s streamlined nature. I ended up cutting 3/4 of what I had written down initially on my brainstorming document. Although I thought the oral component of my presentation was solid, I think it was slightly muddled by the fact that I was trying to deliver an argument that might have necessitated several more pages of substance to be fully fleshed out. Perhaps I should have opted to form a more concise argument or restructured the one I had already conceived of.

I feel the visual aspect of my presentation was strong. I carefully constructed each of my slides using scans of panels and images from Fun Home and Sabrina. I then assembled them into collages that represented the central themes of my argument. I typically become obsessive over art projects such as this one. I take pride in constructing visually appealing slide shows. My final product for this project was intentionally simplistic, though if I had started creating the slides earlier, I am fully convinced I would have tricked myself into creating a slideshow that rivals installations at MoMA.

Healthy Habits?

The problem I wanted to tackle with this project was the effect five fairly mundane lifestyle habits had on my general happiness. I admittedly selected a unique set of days to track data as I spent 03/11 and 03/12 in London with some of my friends on spring break, 03/13 in an airplane flying back to Atlanta, and 03/14 and 03/15 doing an ungodly amount of school work. I imagine if I were to repeat this process over seven ordinary days, my findings might be slightly different.

I found that a good night’s sleep generally added to my happiness. However, extraordinary circumstances might have overruled the effect sleep had on my well-being over those days. However, my eating patterns certainly had a noticeable relationship with my happiness. I found that three meal days contributed to me being relatively happy. Although the days I ate three meals pales in comparison to the previous days, my ability to maintain a healthy eating schedule made those days better than they could have been. I found that typically when I was eating four meals, it was because I had not eaten three complete meals earlier in the day and became ravenously hungry, resulting in a second dinner of sorts.

I did not drink out of my water bottle as much I had expected to while I was in London, partially due to my access to other fluids but also partly due to neglect. I found that I typically drank more when I was isolated in my room with my water bottle being my exclusive source of fluids. In this sense, I don’t think that metric as I measured it was very effective. I do, however, believe that there is some correlation between my general hydration and my happiness levels. The same can be said for the time I spent exercising. Although I spent a lot of time on my feet whilst in London, I suspect I would have been equally as happy viewing the city while on the top of a guided tour bus. Being somewhere exciting contributed to my happiness more than my physical activity.

Writing So. Revised

My return to my alphabetic literacy narrative proved to be challenging. I am coming off a reasonably tricky month in terms of workload and general wellbeing. I think I was beginning to hit a wall as I started to think about how to meaningfully revise So., making the writing process cumbersome. That said, I do believe I took strides in the right direction by framing my narrative to give an answer the big so what? Still, I think it is unrefined and far from perfect.

I derived my idea to make my fifth-grade experience with Ms. Mannering the centerpiece of my alphabetical narrative from my comic. This is an excellent example of how interacting with a visual medium like comics enriched my ability to reason with traditional text. I don’t think I would have generated that idea if it weren’t for my time considering my narrative visually. However, I slightly altered the story’s focus from finding Heaney’s Beowulf in a bookstore to my experience with his poem Digging. My comic directly inspired me to incorporate a poem’s content and themes into my alphabetical story, similar to the way I intertwined the text of Ozymandian into the comic version.


On So. The Comic

So. The Comic

The past few days have been exhausting, but I can finally see the finish line. All in all, drafting, storyboarding, writing, and drawing a comic has been pretty fun and decent means for detachment in the shadow of looming mid-terms. Even after drawing my fairly ambiguous storyboard, I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go in textually. I am content with how my comic turned out, though. I drew from scenes in my textual literacy narrative, though took a different in terms of plot structure. I think it all worked out for the best, though. I am happy with the end result. My only concern is that certain stylistic mechanisms are a little too vague.

Babbling Balkans

Over the course of the past few days, I have had more work than time to do work which is why I had to put this Sunday sketch off for a little. When I finally sat down in front of my sketchbook, which I recently ordered on Amazon as I figured it would come in handy for this class, I found that my mind had been completely drained of all creative inclinations. I had no idea what I wanted to draw or what story I wanted to tell, I think the fact that I was only limited to four squares made it more difficult. So I sat in front of a blank page for 30-45 minutes pretty much just thinking. I have no clue why I decided to take the route that I did (it likely has something to do with eastern Europe being in the news quite a bit lately), but I am happy with the result. I’m not sure if the joke is self-evident. Despite the fact that Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia are nations with significant cultural overlap and nearly mutually intelligible languages, they have a long violent history of infighting and genocide. The punchline is supposed to be ironic, though I am sure if I had more time I could have found a better way to deliver the same joke.

Writing A Bad Dad

The process of writing and compiling my tracing pages assignment, A Bad Dad, was demanding. It had been a while since I last traced anything for any reason, nonetheless a comic book page that I was going to critically analyze. But frankly, I found that I enjoyed that particular holdover from arts and crafts. The actual process of tracing was peaceful, and I didn’t mind annotating as we have been thinking about the comics format for several weeks now. My troubles arose from structuring a thesis and an essay. The ABT thesis format was new to me, and I am not sure I crafted the strongest thesis. Although I don’t think my topic is terrible, I think if I had tackled this project sooner I might have been able to do better. I attempted to grapple with the moral compositions of the fathers in Stitches and Fun Home, arguing that on both the pages I selected to analyze, they were acknowledging their own shortcoming, though Bruce Bechdel does so more implicitly as he struggles to fully acknowledge the life he has lead. I think this project has made me appreciate the subtleties of comics, and I look forward to engaging with more interesting books this semester.

Tracing Stitches and Fun Home

What I’d Pack to Hell and Back

Items pictures starting at the top, progressing clockwise:

I have fairly ratchet bedhead, so I’ve become wise enough to always keep a hat on my person. Honestly, aside from my phone, wallet, and keys, there is no more essential item to me than a good hat.

I don’t drive. In fact, I don’t even have a driver’s license; I never really thought I needed one living in the city. Accordingly, my passport is my primary form of state-issued ID and has carved out a home for itself in one of the back pockets of my backpack.

Despite the strenuous bulk of reading I have to do for school, I have decided to start reading for recreation more frequently. I am currently (slowly) making my way through Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, and I try to keep the book on my person as often as I can.

I have one multi-purpose school notebook that I have been using for all my classes this year. Frankly, the vast majority of the pages comprise mindless doodles, but the notebook has served me well nonetheless.

I have also been using the same pencil all year. It’s just a pencil, though high school me would have characterized the variety pictured above as a fancy pencil.

My sister bought me a leuchtturm (boujee planner) at a fancy office supply shop in SoHo when I went to go visit her. When she bought it, I did not think I was going to use it at all. To my surprise, it has turned out to be one of the more useful things in my life right now.

I don’t think I need to explain why my computer is a critical facet of my life. An absolute no-brainer.

I bring my speaker with me everywhere. You never know when it might come in handy. Simple as.

Once I laid all my essential items out, I was surprised by how little I actually kept on my person. I think this is primarily due to the multi-purpose function of a handful of my items, namely my notebook and computer, and because I am generally a relatively low-maintenance type of guy. None of the objects portrayed above have inherent character, they don’t necessarily say much about me as a person aside from vaguely indicating my values. Perhaps one could infer that I like music and reading and that I am a student. Honestly, one of the hardest parts of this post was coming up with a unique and creative title. It took me a little while, but I think I am content with how it shaped up all in all.

Sketch 6: What’s in your bag?