Writing comics is a good way to attract young reluctant writers as they are able to tell a story using ready-made cartoon characters, backgrounds, props, thought bubbles, speech bubbles and more without having to spend much time on the drawings but lots of time on creating their story. I am going to investigate a series of comic creators to see what they offer. The first two are included here.
The first is from Read Write and Think.
Read Write and Think is a very simple “Comic Creator” offering 1, 2, 3 or 6 screens to build the comic in. It offers a choice of 7 different backgrounds, including a lake, a room, a castle and a city, with17 character and 23 thought or speech bubbles and interjections such as POW, THUD and VAROOM!
Review: This is a very limited comic creator as it is quite hard to build a story. For example I chose the city background with a lady but I was unable to find a vehicle to go along the road. Also the cartoon is black and white which makes it is hard to see what is on the picture as the writing and background get entangled. All one can do is print it and add colour by hand.
The second is Make Beliefs Comix
There are lots of characters available in Make Beliefs Comix. You can add props, thought or speech bubbles and once it is finished, it is possible to take a screen shot. You can also e-mail the finished version so that the work can be saved electronically if required.
Review: Make Beliefs Comix is simple to use and the characters and props can be scaled to fit. There are no backgrounds but colours can be added giving the cartoon better definition and making it more readable. There is a daily comic diary challenge which gives some really good ideas for comic strip making in the classroom. Even if you do not take part I feel the challenge ideas may really help with how to get going using comics for story telling in school.
One thing that I particularly like is the capacity to make comics in several languages with this creator. Entering the comic creator gives access to the possibility of making comics in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese or Latin.