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Illustrator shares comic relief with local elementary students

May 23, 2007|by JULIA COPLEY

HALFWAY - Debby Lesher's students have been looking forward to this day for a month.

Students have been painting, cutting, gluing and stuffing superheroes for weeks. The walls and ceilings were covered with heroically posed characters in preparation for a special guest.

Bob McLeod, veteran superhero illustrator, visited Lincolnshire Elementary School on Tuesday and spoke to students about his work.

Lesher, the school's art teacher, has been leading superhero-themed projects for her students. First-graders colored in full-size sketches of McLeod's characters and stuffed them with newspaper to give them three dimensions. Fifth-graders created their own original superheroes out of paper towel tubes and papier-mache and hung them from the library ceiling.

McLeod said he has worked in the comic industry as an illustrator for 30 years, both freelance and under contract, for publishers Marvel, DC and Dark Horse. More recently, he has worked on private commissions, children's books and school presentations, he said.

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He told the students that during his comic book years, he rarely got to work in color because comics are processed in stages, with different artists working each phase. His audience of about 160 students, ages 5 to 7, sympathized loudly.

McLeod talked with students about his recent children's book, "Superhero ABC," which features 26 superheroes, each based on the repetition of a letter in the alphabet.

Astro-Man is "always alert for an alien attack," despite his asthma, and Bubble-Man, who is bald and wears boots, blows big bubbles at bullies. A crowd favorite was Upside-Down Man, whose underwear was worn outside his uniform.

Kindergarten student Jack Guillard, 6, of Hagerstown, said his favorite was Jumping Jack. His classmate Ryan McCauley, 5, of Hagerstown, liked Bubble-Man best.

McLeod gave the students a drawing lesson, showing them how to put depth in a picture by placing some things behind others, and putting bigger images lower on the page to make them seem closer.

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