The gymnasium at Bishop Klein School held enough superheroes on June 2 to make the League of Justice jealous.
Student-created characters such as Never Negative, Fantasha, Rico the Samurai, Fairies, Cybernator, Eco Man, and Danny the Really Good Guy made their debut at Comic-Klein, an event based on the popular Comic-Con events featuring comic book heroes. Students in Grades 5 through 8 designed their own comic characters and books to promote youth literacy.
Using a 3D printer, students brought their characters off the page, and, using stop-motion animation, brought them to life in a short movie.
"Superheroes are hugely popular. We thought it would be a great way to pique the interest of our students," said Kayla Elash, the Grade 7 teacher at Bishop Klein who spearheaded the initiative. "Blockbuster movies, action figures and other merchandise have their roots in comic books, so we went back to those roots to stress the importance of literacy and reading."
Elash noted that adding modern touches with the 3D-printed characters and stop-motion movie made it interesting and relevant for today's technologically-driven students.
Special guest Tom Grummett, an artist with DC Comics who has worked on titles such as The New Titans, The Adventures of Superman, Superboy, Power Company and Robin, was at the event visiting classrooms, answering student questions and showing some of his own work.
"I was the kind of kid who would read everything I could get my hands on, and comic books grabbed my attention," said Grummett. "I've been fortunate; I was able to turn my passion for reading into a career. Maybe one of these students will be able to do the same."
When asked if he had any tips for budding artists, Grummett said that there are no shortcuts to success. Like everything else in life, it takes "practice practice practice."