Monday, December 12, 2016

The Comics Response Template: Use For Each of the Graphic Novels in Class!


For each day’s reading, I want you to answer these 4 questions after reading the book (or while you read it) and bring them to class the next day. You must turn these questions in during class to get a grade; since this is a short class, I cannot accept late work. Answer each question in a developed paragraph—at least a few sentences, and be as specific as possible. Try to avoid simply saying, “it was written as a comic because it has a lot of action (#2) or “I like the scene on page 23 because it says a lot of important things (#4).” You’ll get full points as long as you answer in a thoughtful, honest response even if you fear your answer isn’t ‘right.’ Remember, comics are literature, and literature is subjective, open to many interpretations. The only wrong interpretation is one based on guessing rather than reading/analysis.

Q1: How is the novel 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?  Or is supposed to go against the grain of the story?

Q2: Why do you think this story written as a graphic novel/comic book?  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. 

Q3: How does this comic discuss the ethics of being a superhero—someone who has powers and abilities beyond that of normal men/women, and is thus able to influence the world based on a hero’s specific notions of good and evil? According to this comic, what does it mean to be a “hero” and a “villain”? Do the heroes ever cross ethical boundaries in his/her quest to save humanity? Also, does a superhero always play by the same rules, or does one’s age, sex, race, or religion also play a role?

Q4: Examine a single passage in the novel, either a frame or a series of frames (but no more than 1-2 pages) that you feel is particularly significant to understanding the book.  Help us appreciate what this passage helps you (and others) see and why. Choose the passage more for the theme/characters than the technique (though you can mention how the technique helps underline the larger thematic concerns).  Make sure we can not only see what’s going on here, but we see how it relates to the story at large. 

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