Kapow! Reading and Writing (Comics)

Scholastic Readers Camp, 2022

A presentation slide. The title reads, Kapow!, in large yellow comics font against a blue cartoon explosion background. The subtitle reads, Reading and Writing with Scott Lee Chua, in plain black text beneath.
Eight hand-drawn stick figures divided into two groups. The first group includes magician, chef, scientist, and student. The second group includes alien, cyborg, spy, and clown.
Left: an explosive title slide. Right: some of the characters participants used in their comic booklets.

In July 2022, I was invited to run a writing workshop for grade school students at the Scholastic Readers Camp, a wonderful annual event meant to cultivate a culture of reading.

After sharing a bit about my own journey as a reader and writer, I led the participants through the process of making their very own comics. Inspired by Sarah Mirk’s zine-making workshop, we each folded, wrote, and drew an eight-page comic booklet! I had lots of fun listening to the participants share their stories.

Page One, Panel One: Storytelling in Comics

Yale-NUS College Writers’ Centre, 2021

First of two posters designed like a comic book page, for comics and zines fest of writers' centre of yale N U S college on 25 to 26 February 2021. It hosts five events. First, page one panel one, storytelling in comics, with Scott Chua. Second, zines one oh one, tell your story, with Sarah Mirk. Third, writing your comic, with Tait Bergstrom. Fourth, the sight, bidirectional arrow, the phrase, with Vanessa Thian. Fifth, comics as personal journals, with Farheen and Olivia.
Second of two posters for comics and zines fest of writers' centre of yale N U S college. Each of the five fest events has an entry with title, description, time and place, and facilitator's photo and biodata.
Posters courtesy of the Yale-NUS College Writers' Centre.

In February 2021, I was invited back to my alma mater to run a workshop as part of their Comics and Zines Fest. The goal was to teach aspiring comic writers the basic elements of sequential storytelling, so that they could better articulate why a comic is (or isn’t) working, and improve their craft in a more systematic way.

Zoom is wonderful for many things, but free-flowing discussion is not one of them. So I asked participants to pre-read some comic excerpts and respond to them however they like, as articulately as they could. I then synthesize their responses into a guided close reading of sorts for the workshop session itself — see what we cooked up here.

Are graphic novels literature? A comic conference

Xavier School, 2018

Screenshot of presentation slide. On the left is the heading, are graphic novels literature?  Next line. A comic conference. Next line. Scott Chua, comic author. Next line. Lio Mangubat, publisher. Next line. Xavier School, March 2, 2018. On the right is the cover page of Doorkeeper written by Ethan Chua and Scott Lee Chua. Next line. Surnames of artists, from left to right. Duran, Felizmenio, Geneta, Guerrero, Lesaca, Mikel, Sabas.

In March 2018, I gave a talk to the eighth-grade students of Xavier School (my other alma mater!) together with Lio Mangubat, editor-in-chief of Summit Books and the publisher of Doorkeeper. We had a great time talking about our favorite comics, the publishing process, and the false dichotomy between “highbrow” and “lowbrow” entertainment — see our slides here.