The Graphic Novel
Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 quarters
In the past decade in particular, graphic novels have become recognized as an important form of storytelling, shaping contemporary culture even as they are shaped by it. These book-length, comic-art narratives and compilations employ a complex and iconic visual language. Combining and expanding on elements associated with literature, 2-D visual art, and cinema, the medium offers unique opportunities for reader immersion, emotional involvement, and even imaginative co-creation.
In “The Graphic Novel” we will study sequential narratives that represent diverse periods, perspectives, styles, and subject matter— from groundbreaking works of the 1980s (Watchmen and Maus) to women’s memoirs (Fun Home and One Hundred Demons) to the radical evocations of time and space in Richard McGuire’s newly released Here. We will carefully examine each text at multiple levels of composition, from single frames to the story as a whole, and interpret their workings with the help of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics . Our overall goal is to develop an informed and critical perspective on this powerful medium.
We will carefully examine each text at multiple levels of composition, from single frames to the work as a whole, and read selected theory, criticism, and commentary, including Scott McCloud’s seminal Understanding Comics and Matt Madden’s ingenious 99 Ways of Telling a Story . As writers, students will develop and articulate their new understandings by means of response papers, visual analyses, bibliographic summaries, and other activities as assigned.
Each quarter our studies will conclude with final projects focused on particular artists, works, and themes, or on the creation of original graphic narratives. Finally, while this is not a studio art course, we will experiment with drawing throughout the program as a way to develop an artist’s-eye view of comic art. Our overall goal is to develop an informed and critical perspective on this powerful medium.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Evening
Advertised schedule: 5:30-9:30p Tue/Thu. Event Outside Regular Schedule: Attendance at the Olympia Comics Festival in early June. First Winter quarter meeting will be Tuesday January 6, 5:30pm, in Sem 2 B2107.