Bad Machinery Volume 3: The Case of the Simple Soul

Bad Machinery Vol. 3: The Case of the Simple SoulBad Machinery Volume 3: The Case of the Simple Soul
Written and Illustrated by:John Allison
Publisher: Oni Press
Format: Softcover, 12.25 x 9, 136 pages, Full Color, $19.99
ISBN: 978-1-62010-193-3


A nice fit for any educator looking to focus on the relationship between in-school and out-of-school relationships, Bad Machinery: The Case of the Simple Soul is the right choice. Originally an award-winning webcomic Bad Machinery is a collection of stories focused on a mysterious series of barn burnings, curious relationship mishaps, and friendship challenges young adult readers can certainly relate to.

English Language Arts Elements of Story

Plots: Characterization is key to this converted webcomic focused on the relationships students have both in and out-of-school.

Major Characters: Charlotte, Shauna, Mildred, Jack, Sonny, Linton, Jack, Tackleford Mummy, Jerry the Cyclops, Giant bee, Local Cybord, Colm, Mademoiselle Broussard, Shauna's mum and stepfather, mysterious troll/creature/beast, police, Fat Banshee, Charlotte’s mom, Sarah, Nell, Uncle Neil

Settings: Lumb Gill Farm, Coward's Cross, TACKLEFORD, Wee folk, school, school yard, field, Shauna's house, store, bridge, underneath the bridge, Uncle Neil's house, forrest, firehouse

Themes: past-present-future, relationships, mystery, investigation

Reading Recommendations Using the Common Core Standards For Young Adult Readers

Craft and Structure
4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

* The number referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core Standards (www.commoncore.org)

Lesson Idea for Young Adult Readers:


Because this graphic novel is hyper-focused on the relationships (or lack thereof) between schoolmates the following graphic organizer first asks you to identify each character individually, and, then, in the following columns explain how the craft and structure of the graphic novel highlight both the characters various relationships and motives throughout the graphic novel.

Major Character's Name


Relationships & Motives





























































Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida. Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2013); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts (in press, 2014). When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her two wiener dogs, Sam and Max.