Available for Virtual Visits In: British Colombia (Kootenay Region), Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan
Genre: Picture Books, Early Chapter Books, Beginning Readers, Graphic Novels
Grades: Grade 4- Grade 8
Virtual Presentation Information
Comic Book Readers Theatre
This presentation is a fun twist on “readers theatre” for grades 4-6. I open with an excerpt from Planet Hockey, but instead of reading from a book, I share my screen to show a panel-by-panel slideshow of the story. I then briefly talk about how comic books and graphic novels inspired me to read and write as a child.
Next, I explain how I write the scripts for my comics and graphic novels, how stories go from said script to the art, and finally the printed book. During this segment, the audience will participate in an interactive “pop quiz.”
Finally, I do a second reading (a short story featuring the Archies or Teen Titans Go), but this time I recruit volunteer readers from the audience to help me! Teachers may want to select readers in advance, and we can even discuss how many “cast members” to recruit.
Comic Book Readers Theatre is like a real time, old school radio show using modern technology to tell the story and showcase the artwork!
There may be an optional Q&A and/or book giveaway to end the session.
Writing Comics (Kind of) the Marvel Way
This presentation is a creative writing workshop for grades 6-8 introducing the classic “Marvel Way” of comic book writing (a.k.a. “plot script”) invented by Stan Lee. I open with a short comic book story, sharing my screen to show a panel-by-panel slideshow of the artwork.
After a brief talk about how comic books and graphic novels inspired me to read and write as a child, I explain how I write scripts, contrasting and comparing the “full script” and “plot script” styles, as well as focusing on “art direction” and “dialogue.”
Next, we’ll have some fun looking at random comic pages from some of my work (e.g. Batman, Black Panther, Teen Titans Go, Wonder Woman, X-Men) to focus on and discuss establishing plot, setting, and characters. Students will help me re-write the dialogue and other text for these pages the Marvel Way.
Finally, the students will be left with comic pages to dialogue on their own. Teachers are then invited to submit students’ work for consideration in my informal “comic writing challenge” (a contest with rules and guidelines to follow). After Book Week, I’ll be mailing out signed books as prizes!
The session ends with a Q&A so that students may ask questions about my work, writing in general, and any clarification they need for the writing challenge.
Planet Hockey: The First Star of the Game. Written by J. Torres, Illustrated by Tim Levins (Scholastic, 2020)
Lola: A Ghost Story Written by J. Torres, Illustrated by Elbert Or and Jill Beaton (Oni Press, 2020)
How to Spot a Sasquatch Written by J. Torres, illustrated by (Owlkids Books, May 2018)
The Mighty Zodiac: Starfall Written by J. Torres, Illustrated by Corin Howell (Oni Press, 2017)
Teen Titans Go: Ready for Action Written by J. Torres, Illustrated by Todd Nauck (DC Comics, 2017)
Brobots and the Mecha Malarkey Written by J. Torres, Illustrated by Sean Dove (Oni Press, 2017)
Brobots and the Kaiju Kerfuffle Written by J. Torres, Illustrated by Sean Dove (Oni Press, 2016)
Teen Titans Go: Bring It On Written by J. Torres, Illustrated by Todd Nauck (DC Comics, 2016)
Teen Titans Go: Heroes On Patrol Written by J. Torres, Illustrated by Todd Nauck (DC Comics, 2016)
Bigfoot Boy: The Sound of Thunder Written by J. Torres, Illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, (Kids Can Press, 2014)
Power Lunch: Seconds Written by J. Torres, Illustrated by Dean Trippe (Oni Press, 2014)
Teen Titans Go: Titans Together Written by J. Torres Illustrated by Todd Nauck (DC Comics, 2014)
Power Lunch: First Course Written by J. Torres, Illustrated by Dean Trippe,(Oni Press, 2011)
Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures Written by J. Torres, illustrated by J. Bone, (Tundra Books, 2010)
Alison Dare and the Heart of the Maiden Written by J. Torres, Illustrated by J. Bone, (Tundra Books, 2010)
J. Torres was four years old when his family immigrated to Canada from the Philippines. At an early age, he learned to read from newspaper strips and comic books. By the third grade, he was writing and drawing comic strips for the school paper; and in the sixth grade he wrote and directed a play based on an Archie comic.
By the time he graduated high school, he knew he wanted to be a writer and aspired to work for the publishers of his favourite superhero comics. That dream came true in the early 2000s when he wrote some X-Men stories for Marvel and was then hired to write the Teen Titans Go series for DC Comics. He’s been writing comics and graphic novels professionally ever since.
Torres has written for all the major North American comic book publishers as well as some of Canada’s biggest children’s book publishers. He’s written stories for popular characters and titles such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, Batman, Black Panther, Degrassi, Ninja Scroll, Rick and Morty, The Simpsons, Wall-E, Wonder Woman, Yo Gabba Gabba, and many others. His graphic novels for younger readers include Bigfoot Boy, Brobots, The Mighty Zodiac, How to Spot a Sasquatch, and his latest release Planet Hockey.
- Nominated for the 2021 Silver Birch Express Award
Brobots and the Kaiju Kerfuffle
- Shortlisted for the 2017 Shuster Award for “Best Comics for Kids”
- Winner of the 2016 Parents’ Choice Awards
Bigfoot Boy: The Sound of Thunder
- Shortlisted for the 2014 Shuster Award or “Best Comics for Kids”
Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventures
- Shortlisted for the 2003 Eisner Award for “Best Title for Younger Readers”
J. Torres (Body of Work)
- Winner of the 2006 Shuster Award for “Outstanding Writer”
- Shortlisted for the 2005, 2007-2011 Shuster Award for “Outstanding Writer”
“J. Torres gave us an engaging presentation for a captive young audience as he shared his love of comic books by talking about how he became a comic writer.”
—James Cooper, Acting Manager Children’s Department, Mississauga Central Library
“My favourite part was how he brought his reading to life through reader’s theatre, which got the whole audience engaged. In fact, we were so inspired that we are incorporating reader’s theatre into our summer programming here at the library.”
—Laura Murray, Children’s Services Librarian, Peterborough Public Library
“It is apparent that J. enjoys sharing his passion with children, encouraging them to tell their stories.”
—Connie Miller-May, Youth Services, Cobourg Public Library