Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Welcome to the Course!

This is the official blog for ECU's annual Winter Intercession Graphics Novels course.  Below you will find the syllabus for the course, including the book list, assignments, and course calendar.  Please let me know if you have any questions! 

Humanities 4983: Graphic Novels (or, Comics as Literature)
Winter Intercession 2011 / Horace Mann 325 / Dec.14-21 9:00-1:00

“The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen.  The visible and the invisible.  The dance is unique to comics.  No other art form gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well.  That is why I think it’s a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction.  What happens between these panels is a kind of magic that only comics can create.”  --Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics

Instructor: Dr. Joshua Grasso, Assistant Professor of English
Office: Horace Mann 336c
Office phone: 580-559-5430 (or x 340 on campus)

NOTE: Be sure to bookmark and visit our course blog: grassocomics.blogspot.com.  Many required assignments and resources will be found there, and I will continue to update it over the next few weeks. 

Required Texts (in order of reading):
  • Miller/Mazzucchelli, Batman: Year One
  • Thompson, Good-bye, Chunky Rice
  • Simmonds, Tamara Drewe
  • Speigelman, Maus I & II

Required Work:
Participation / Absences (15%); Daily Writing (20%); Blog Assignments (20%); Final Paper (45%)

Participation: In a 6-day course, participation=coming to class every day (unless special arrangements have been made in advance), having completed the reading and questions for the day, and being able to discuss or at least listen attentively.  Skipping class, sleeping, texting, or otherwise being disengaged will lower your participation grade.  However, I assume that everyone will get full points since this material is so riveting!  How could you not stay awake? 

Daily Writing: For each class except the last, you will have a ‘Response Template’ due.  This is a series of four questions (always the same) that you will answer for each work.  These responses are due on the day we read the work in question (ex: your first response is due in class on Thursday for Batman: Year One). 

Blog Assignments: You have two short blog assignments due at any time during our course (which technically goes until December 30th). 

(1)   The first one is simple: post one of your four responses to the Template Questions as a ‘comment’ on the blog.  In other words, if you wanted to post on Maus I, you would simply write your responses as usual, and post one of the answers as a comment to the blog post.  This way other students can see your response and consider your viewpoint as they read the novel and write their own responses. 
(2)  The second response is more involved: for this response, I want you to read a sixth graphic novel outside of class (we’ll discuss this more on Thursday) and write a Template Response over the book.  When you finish this, e-mail it to me and I will post it to the blog as a separate post.  This is due no later than Friday, December 30th) by e-mail. 

Final Paper: This is a 5-6 page paper that answers one of three questions relating to current issues and scholarship over the graphic novel.  We will discuss this more during Week 2, but the paper will require you two graphic novels as well as additional outside sources.  It will be due no later than Friday, December 3oth) by e-mail. 


W 14: Introduction/Pekar’s American Splendor
R 15:   Miller/Mazzucchelli, Batman: Year One
F 16:   Thompson, Good-Bye, Chunky Rice

M 19:  Simmonds, Tamara Drewe
T 20:   Spiegelman, Maus I
W 21:  Spiegelman, Maus II

Week 3: Work on your Final Paper and second Blog Response (see above).  All work is due by Friday, December 30th. 

Some Graphic Novel Resources:
Ø  ComicsResearch.org (a site full of academic and popular content)
Ø  ComicsResarch.org/blog (a blog full of comics news and events)
Ø  Gravett, Paul.  Graphic Novels: Everything You Need To Know.  New York: Collins Design, 2005.  (ECU has it!)
Ø  Lambiek Comiclopedia (an on-line encyclopedia of comics: http://lambiek.net/artists/index.htm)
Ø  McCloud, Scott.  Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art.  New York: Kitchen Sink Press, 1993 (I own it, will happily lend it to you)

1 comment:

  1. The Flash: Wanted
    1. The illustrations in this comic are very detailed and realistic, I really enjoyed the artwork and the story it told. The colors are bright even when things aren’t exactly happy but the detail on the character’s faces show their emotion so the colors don’t really take away from the seriousness of the scene.
    2. There are Flash movies and series on Netflix, which I have watched, I enjoyed both the comic and the films. The comic does tell a different kind of story but I think the films do a good job in representing The Flash. You really need the artwork to tell the story because without it you would really miss the important emotions that the characters show and all the color that adds to the story that you could not get with a normal novel.
    3. The ethics of Flash area that of a hero because although he is told he will murder a man he still fights for justice and tries to find out who really kills the man and bring that person to justice. While the Renegades believe themselves to be in the right and Flash is the villain that must be stopped. Much like the heroes of X-Men and Black Panther. All three stories really depend in what prospective you read them in. So is Flash the true hero being framed for a murder he didn’t commit or are the Renegades the heroes trying to destroy a rough Flash? That’s up to you the reader to decide.
    4. I chose a scene on pages 8-9 where they are watching Mirror Monarch’s body being loaded into an ambulance and Iris states “So you believe them?” “Yeah” “Do you think you’re guilty of murder?” “Crimson cowl on or off, I’m a cop. If there was no other choice, if it saved an innocent life, I wouldn’t like it, but I’d do what I’d have to do. But you know I’d never murder someone in cold blood. They’re going to sweep Mirror Monarch’s body at the lab. I’ll find some evidence. I’ll show them they have the wrong suspect, and find the right one.”
    I thought this was an important section that shows his ethical dilemma and also gives us a look into what his plans are. While he admits he is capable and willing to kill someone as long as it was for the greater good, he will continue to search for the clues to who committed the crime and catch them to prove his innocents.
    By Tasha Mckaughan