Over the past 30 years, graphic novels have won numerous readers with their bold topics, innovative forms, and vivid artwork. These book-length, comic-art narratives and compilations employ a complex and iconic visual language. Combining and expanding on elements associated with literature, 2-D visual art, and cinema, the comics medium offers unique opportunities for reader immersion, emotional involvement, and even imaginative co-creation.
In “The Graphic Novel,” we will explore the origins, development, and unique workings of these sequential narratives, from the high-art woodcut novels of the 1920s to Art Spiegelman's influential Maus in the 1980s, and on to contemporary and experimental works by authors such as Lynda Barry and Eleanor Davis. We will carefully examine each text at multiple levels of composition, from single frames to the story as a whole, and interpret their workings with the help of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics . While this is not a studio art course, we will pursue drawing exercises that help us to develop an artist's-eye view of comics. Our overall goal is to develop an informed and critical perspective on this powerful medium.
Students who register for eight credits will read and research additional graphic works and artists or, with faculty approval, create graphic narratives of their own.
Course Reference Numbers
Humanities, literature, visual arts, education