I wanted to tell you about a new comic that I picked up yesterday. It’s called Postal and comes out via Top Cow and writer Matt Hawkins.
I’m a big fan of Matt Hawkins, and since friending him on Facebook, have had the opportunity to sort of get the inside loop on how he thinks. Matt strikes me as one of those guys that’s always thinking much deeper than just what’s going on around him, as if he’s analyzing people and what makes them tick and why they do things.
Although he’s been around comics for a long time, I’ve only recently gotten addicted to his works, starting with his book Think Tank. I like the way he takes characters who aren’t perfectly normal and allows us to glimpse what life is like from their point-of-view.
So far (with what I’ve read), he’s given us…
A person controlled by others (Aphrodite IX)
A young man with Asperger’s (Postal)
A child prodigy (Think Tank)
One of my children has dyslexia, and during a recent reading of David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, the issue was visited in detail about how special a child like mine is. He’s one that needs shepherding, not pity. He needs special attention to discover his unique abilities, not special education to make him fit into the mold of the other kids. It’s not a learning disability, but an enhancement because he has the ability to think differently than we do. Malcolm even went so far as to ask, “why wouldn’t you want a kid to be born with dyslexia?”
I get that idea by reading about Mark in Postal issue #1. People with differences can become heroes. That’s what I tell my 7yo every day. Dyslexia is the name of his superpower.
Aside from the amazing POV, he also does an amazing job of creating incredibly detailed scientific stories that are based on reality, no matter how fantastical the world is that he creates. Most of his books include a science class section at the end of each issue. As a homeschool parent, I see this as an ideal way to help educate my kids, by drawing them into real science through comic books. So, you see, Matt’s books don’t only sit in my personal collection, but also on our school bookshelf.
I use science and comics in this way to inspire my kids. My 10yo wants to be Iron man, so guess what I tell him? “Alright, let’s do that. What skills will you need to create that suit?” The other day he came to me and asked about jet engines and why we can’t use those for the suit. A simple kid question, right? Then he took it a step further and asked how we could change the fuel source to make the engine smaller. Now I have a chance to sit down and teach him something.
I love this review of Matt’s writing that was posted in regard to Wildfire–
“This is the genius of Matt Hawkins, to take very real science and extrapolate it into an exciting and very readable narrative, something he’s been carving out quite the niche with Aphrodite IX and Think Tank previously and now with Wildfire. One thing his stories inspire, which not many others do, is a chain reaction of interest in the science laid out on the page with helpful starting points just waiting for you in the Science Class portion at the end.” Chris, Comic Hype
Even these days comics are still often maligned as useless pop culture trash. Sure, some of them are (like Archie), but so many comics out there these days are now written with the same depth and exposure you get from good fiction. In the case of Matt’s books, you also get the benefit of a science textbook as well. Be sure to check out his stuff.
If you want a good idea of how to use comic books to educate your kids, check out my book Using Comic Books for Education.
This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!