Logically, history and culture should converge in unique and instructive ways as people talk and interact with each other, yet this kind of experience is not the norm for most students in our schools. A common result of this emphasis on testing is to boil history down to a set of particular dates and facts for purposes of the test. This de-values most features that a proper study of history would provide for any student’s education. This is not the best way it can be studied or assessed, but this is where the current educational climate is.
History is no longer used as an important lens for decision-making, as it once was. It is seldom used as that same civic compass. Since the beginning of recorded human history, graphic images have conveyed important meanings and stories. In the institution of education, the subject of history and social studies is often characterized by the endless nature of the textbook. An improved visual modality like graphic novels uniquely engages the history reader.
A solution to this dilemma, and the one around which Wood Block Press is based, lies in the proper conception of graphic mediums like graphic novels and comic literature. These mediums (printed and e-version) represent an engaging venue for learning for students of all ages. The value of graphic arts and design is self-evident in the vast social and material presence in our media. For over one hundred years, comic literature has been an essential feature of our entertainment landscape and is still evolving. Modern versions are as edgy as the author wishes to make them and with modern technology, only a mouse-click away. I believe one of the essential ingredients in the pursuit of social progress comes from the stories and examples set by those individuals around us every day and those who have come before and left their stories for us to enjoy and learn from.
This is the mission I believe in.
Dr. James Barbre
Mission Statement, Vision, and Values
Wood Block Press (WBP) is committed to the proposition that storytelling, as it relates to the human experience, is an essential element for a civilized society. Through the use of existing or partnered historical research that is rigorous and vetted, graphic series will be produced that reflect the stories of people whose contributions constitute the social fabric of human experience.