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
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)