Comic book class one of many in the Summit Summer 2017 lineup

Comic book class one of many in the Summit Summer 2017 lineup

Summit third grader Kadyn Keeney works on a drawing of a comic book character for a storyboard during his Summit Summer class. Kadyn is one of several students who took Comic Book Creating with Summit teacher Brendan McEachern this summer.

KAPOW! The Summit Country Day School’s summer program, called Summit Summer, began with a burst of energy as students become superheroes of storytelling in a comic book camp.

Middle School language arts teacher Brendan McEachern, who has collected more than 12,000 comic books throughout 30-plus years, is leading Comic Book Creating. He says comics are the reason he became hooked on reading in third grade.

“I moved from comics to reading prose fiction and nonfiction,” he said. “But years later here I am as a sixth grade reading teacher, still reading comics and teaching about this genre.”

Mr. McEachern’s class is part of the “Pick Your Fun” menu for grades 1-8.

“It’s important to recognize that reading can take place outside the confines of traditional chapter books,” he says. “I like to showcase a variety of reading choices through comic books, graphic novels and daily newspaper comic strips.”

During his one-week class, the kids will strengthen their vocabulary, discuss character development, and study how to tell a story through panels before drawing their own comic book.

The campers also will meet a local dynamic duo. Writer Jay Kalagayan and artist Dylan Speeg are the creators of MeSseD, which follows an Asian-American heroine’s adventures in an underground world inspired by Cincinnati’s Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD). Like Mr. McEachern, Kalagayan says his love of comics started early, at age 9.

Mr. McEachern is a fan of DC Comics’ Swamp Thing, and he is proud of owning every issue about the character, dating to 1971. He also has collected almost every issue of Batman, The Incredible Hulk and The Fantastic Four, dating to the 1960s.

“I love digging into bins at garage sales, flea markets and conventions,” he says. “I am always searching for lost comic book treasures.”

Summit Summer, which runs through Aug. 18, is full of camps and classes where youths age 3 through high school can create art, conduct science experiments, practice a sport, play music, study other cultures, prepare for entrance exams and more. School credit is available for some classes. Participants need not be enrolled at The Summit. Registration is still open for remaining camps here.