THE COMICS RESPONSE TEMPLATE
Respond to each new novel (and your outside novel) using the following template. Though the questions are the same, your answers will be completely different with each new work and author. The responses are due on the day we discuss a given work; for example, on Thursday we will discuss Batman: Year One, so bring your responses to class with you on Thursday (or e-mail them and/or post them to the blog).
1. How is the work illustrated? Be specific: would you characterize it as sketchy, realistic, cartoony, artistic, ornate, spare, expressionistic, tight, loose, etc.? What is the overall feel of the artwork, and what kind of tone does it create for the reader? Do you feel it is the uniquely suited to the story being told? Consider the differences between Crumb and Cavey’s illustrations for Pekar’s American Splendor.
2. Why was this story written as a graphic novel? What might this story lose if translated to a novel, short story, or even a film? What elements of the story almost require the juxtaposition of words and images? In other words, what does the comic format allow us to see and experience that a traditional novel wouldn’t? Again, be as specific as possible.
3. Who narrates the story? How do they do this? Traditionally, narration is told from either a third-person or first-person perspective; how does a graphic novel challenge this approach? Consider how the form of comics ‘tells’ a story and allows us to see multiple points of view within a single narrative frame.
4. Describe one scene in the novel, either a single frame or a series of frames, that you feel is particularly significant. Why is this sequence so important? Do you admire this passage more for its narrative (the words) or its art (the images)—or both? Make sure we can not only see what’s going on here, but we see how it relates to the story at large.