Posts Tagged ‘Understanding Comics’

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Comics as Critique: Some Approaches to Graphic Teaching, Part 2

posted: 4.9.12 by Elizabeth Losh and Jonathan Alexander


As promised, here is Part 2 of my thoughts and ideas about teaching with comics. This time, I want to focus on the texts I assigned in my course dedicated to the graphic novel (described in this post).

I wanted the works we read in the course to reflect a range of styles and themes in the history of the development of the comics medium and the genre of the graphic novel:

Will Eisner, A Contract with God

Osamu Tezuka, Metropolis and MW

Alan Moore, Watchmen

Frank Miller, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Art Spiegelman, Maus 1 & 2

Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis

Jessica Abel, La Perdida

Yoshihiro Tatsumi, The Push Man & Other Stories

Alison Bechdel, Fun Home

Frank Miller, 300

As you can tell, I mixed in works about superheroes (Moore and Miller) with more “literary” works (Satrapi and Bechdel) that tended toward social commentary, or works that attempted to locate the personal in larger cultural and even political systems.  Interestingly, as we discussed in class, the book-length superhero-oriented comics often worked with socio-political and cultural issues as well.  Moore’s Watchmen (original run, 1986-1987), for instance, seems preoccupied with the post-Vietnam loss of faith in the American democratic project, metaphorized (perhaps metonymized?) through the move of crime-fighting superheroes into middle age, with its attendant crises and loss of confidence.  And to show that such concerns had been a part of the maturing of the medium, we looked at some underground and alternative comic artists of the 60s and 70s, such as R. Crumb, and I made sure that we read the work of Will Eisner, whose classic A Contract with God (1978) and its graphic portrayals of Bronx tenement life, helped move the comics toward more explicit social commentary.  And certainly Maus 1 & 2 (1986, 1991) solidified that move, particularly as Spiegelman uses cartoony characters to render palpably real the impact of the Holocaust on multiple generations of one family. [read more]

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Graphic Novels in FYC

posted: 3.11.09 by archived

I recently asked about using graphic novels in FYC. Here are some of the most popular graphic novels people use:

9/11 Commission Report

There is also Bradway and Hesse’s book on creating nonfiction , which uses graphic novel excerpts. Plus, Scott McCloud’s book, Understanding Comics, and the TED lecture he gives on comics.

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Categories: Adjunct Advice, Creative Writing, Gregory Zobel
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