Spotlight on Los Alamos: McCranie changing the world one panel at a time

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By Kelly LeVan

“I was 5 or 6 when I drew my first comic,” said cartoonist Stephen McCranie. “I was drawing comics before I knew how to write.”McCranie, a graduate of Los Alamos High School currently studying art at the University of New Mexico, has also been reading comics his whole life, everything from Jim Davis’ “Garfield” to Art Spiegelman’s “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.” He cites Hayao Miyazaki’s “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” and Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art” (entirely in comic format) as two of his most edifying favorites.His first job in the business came from Los Alamos National Laboratory. His supervisor wanted to see “what comics could do in teaching people how to use a program to access database information,” theorizing that people were more likely to read a comic from beginning to end than a more traditional users’ manual, McCranie said.“It catered exactly to what I wanted to do,” he added. “I think the comic has a whole lot of potential for transferring information … I would love to see more comics in schools, teaching kids how to read.

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