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Comic improv, on paper (slideshow)

Mercedes Mejia
Michigan Radio
Patron at the Green Brain Comic store browsing through comics. Green Brain Comics is open to the public while the comic jams are going on.

When you think about improvisation you might think of comedy or jazz. The idea of cartooning or drawing comics is probably not what comes to mind. But a little comic book shop in Dearborn is giving artists a space to try out new ideas, together, on paper.

Green Brain Comics hosts a monthly  comic jam.  It’s similar to the writing exercise known as an exquisite corpse. In this case, an artist draws one panel, then passes it to someone who draws another panel, and so forth.  The end result is an entire comic strip, created by eight artists.

Store co-owner Dan Merritt says imagination is what brings comic books and cartoons to life. He even named his store Green Brain Comics because he says the magic of comics happens in a very intimate place—our heads.

“Comics don't play out in front you like a movie does. It’s a series of images that are juxtaposed to show you a story evolve. But the real evolution of the story is in your brain. It gives you the power to figure out what happens between the panels.”

But for the artists at the comic jam, collaborating like this is a way to step outside that mental process and to step into something more physical and active.  As artist Paul Seizer said, these comics jams are like jumping jacks for your brain.

Kyle Norris is from Michigan and spent ten years as a host and reporter with Michigan Radio, the state’s largest NPR-affiliate. He lives in Seattle and works as a substitute host and producer at KNKX.
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