Author Bio

Masterpiece Comics

posted: 2.22.11 by archived

UntitledCartoonist R. Sikoryak has published a series of books entitled Mastepiece Comics. In these graphic works, he has taken famous novels and reinterpreted them by making the protagonist of each book a superhero. For instance, in his reinterpretation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov is played by Batman.

Many have dismissed these comics as simplifications, but the work he does to translate these canonical novels into new terms also reveals important interpretive moves. As one reviewer argued, “Sikoryak [has] found the comic in the classic, the classic in the comic. In what is both parody and homage, he retells the classics in ways that are both funny and, oddly, deep.”

Students might not learn as much from reading his comics as they would from reading the original works, but being asked to write like Sikoryak could help them summarize the key themes in a work, and synthesize and translate information. Students don’t necessarily have to draw a comic, but they can be asked to discuss or write about ways to make a novel, poem, or other literary work fit into a new genre. This needn’t be a “dumbing down” of the text, nor would this discussion have to replace other, more traditional means of reading and analyzing literary works. Instead, it could serve as one avenue into literary analysis and one imaginative activity among others.

This multimodal activity could also be applied beyond literary analysis. Students could use the comics medium and its themes, characters, and narrative techniques to distill current events. What would the gulf oil spill or the recent Egyptian protests look like when framed as a comic? Who would play the roles of heroes and villains, and what would their super-powers be?

You can view (and then share) an excerpt from Sikoryak’s work here

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Jay Dolmage, Literature
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