By Meghan Flynn / Correspondent
Thu Jul 09, 2009
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After nearly a month of cloudy gray weather, local children and families were thrilled to experience the latest exhibit at the Wenham Museum — “Colorful Characters: Storytelling Through Comics.” The exhibit opened on June 9, but Saturday, June 27 was Superhero Saturday, a three-hour event to kick off the summer exhibit....
The second workshop is a one-day event on July 23 with Jay Piscopo, the Maine-based author and illustrator of “The Undersea Adventures of Capt’n Eli.” The workshop will be a step-by-step comic strip drawing course for aspiring artists ages 7 and older.
Piscopo was at the Superhero Saturday event with lots of free mini-comics of his two “Capt’n Eli” graphic novels, which feature a 9-year-old hero maritime detective in the tradition of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. The character was originally the brand icon for Capt’n Eli’s Soda, a line of sodas produced by Fred Forsley and Alan Pugsley of the Maine-based Shipyard Brewing Company.
Piscopo said the stories of Capt'n Eli are designed in the spirit of Forsley’s father, Eli Forsely of Grey, Maine, who believed in the power of good stories and the importance of fun.
“Comics and superheroes are our mythology, and it is equally important to have the kid-friendly parables as it is to have the darker, anti-hero stories we’ve been seeing recently,” said Piscopo, who said he was eager to take on the Capt’n Eli series to create a comic for the young and young at heart to enjoy. “The comic industry will only survive if it embraces both sides of this art.”
Piscopo and Capt’t Eli were a great match for the event for another reason: The comic has recently been adapted by award-winning technology integrationist and educator Laura Richter into interactive lesson plans covering geography, scientific research techniques, ancient mythology, history, art and more.
The Colorful Characters exhibit runs through Sept. 15 at the Wenham Museum, located at 132 Main St., Wenham. For more information, visit www.wenhammuseum.org.