Here’s the course description for my Fall 2010 graduate class on graphic novels (ENGL 685:003):
This course considers the storytelling potential of graphic novels, an often neglected form of artistic and narrative expression with a long and rich history. Boldly combining images and text, graphic novels of recent years have explored divisive issues often considered the domain of “serious” literature: immigration, racism, war and terrorism, dysfunctional families, and much more. Informed by literary theory and visual culture studies, we will analyze both mainstream and indie graphic novels. In particular, we will be especially attentive to the unique visual grammar of the medium, exploring graphic novels that challenge the conventions of genre, narrative, and high and low culture. While our focus will be on American graphic novelists, we will touch upon artistic traditions from across the globe. Works studied may include Nat Turner by Kyle Baker, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, Black Hole by Charles Burns, Sand Man by Neil Gaiman, Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli, Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan, Watchmen by Alan Moore, Uzumaki by Junji Ito, In My Hour of Darkness by Wilfred Santiago, Maus by Art Speigelman, and Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware.
(Image: Wilfred Santiago’s In My Darkest Hour)