CLASSICS for the Classroom
American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang creates a braided trilogy
to explore racism in the ethnic identities of a hyphenated society where
American pop culture is juxtaposed with Chinese mythology and teenage
angst. Yang creates an American work, not a hyphenated Chinese-American
piece of literature, but a purely American story of Horatio Algier proportions
artistic style is Nickelodeon Asian fusion where crisp lines and bold
colors form panels that are sequenced into a perfect square on each page,
a square that is topped by a small red Chinese seal floating on generous
white space. This is not anime' nor a DC/Marvel imitation, this is something
wholly different, something distinctly American born Chinese.
glance American Born Chinese appears to be a simple cautionary
tale with some subtle and not-so-subtle themes. But in reality it is about
eastern roots bumping into western ideals, an intersection that creates
tension for the characters. Yang attempts to explode stereotypes through
character transformations only to discover that you can't change who you
are. As the Monkey King says, "I would have saved myself from five hundred
years' imprisonment beneath a mountain of rock had I only realized how
good it is to be a monkey" (223).
for handout: >Questions
for Exploring Identity in ABC.
Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Dust to Dust
by PHILIP K. DICK
Two of Philip K. Dick's stories and an authorized
prequel have been drawn as comics. Electric Ants (Marvel 2010)
was drawn by Pascal Alixe and adapted by David Mack as a one shot graphic
novel. Alixe’s impressionistic and painterly style is perfect for depicting
a world of noirganic replicants. Vistas are carefully rendered with details
the reader wants to linger over; homeless people living on skyscraper
ledges, advertisements, dirigibles, flying squibs reminiscent of the golden
age of Detroit and futuristic architecture.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (2009-2011) features a noir
aesthetic as well as noir tropes and themes: the hard-boiled detective
that strattles the line between legal and illegal (Rick Deckard), femme
fatale (Rachel Rosen), and th naive wife (Iran). DADOES – collects
the entire, unabridged novel in a 24-comic series in six volumes that
was an Eisner Award Nominee. This work is a great to discover Dick or
to take another work a great piece of science fiction.
Dust to Dust is a 12-issue
series that debuted about halfway through BOOM! Studios’ 6-volume Do
Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It has been collected in two volumes
and is an authorized prequel that attempts to explain the rise of DADOES'
dystopia. The artist has an electric, frenetic line that adds to the
dark vision of San Francisco just after the end of World War Terminus.
here for PKD and comics Neo-noir Consumerism.ppt
by DAVID B.
I'm not big on graphic novel memoirs because they
are usually about some angst-ridden twenty-something who is not only writing,
but also publishing graphic novels--there's an oxymoron in there somewhere,
BUT Epileptic is different. It is a truly poignant story about
two brothers growing up under the specter of epilepsy.
parents try every alternative medicine from macrobiotics and magnetics
to psychoanalysis and alchemy to cure their son, but nothing works. David
B. expresses his inner rage by drawing beautifully illustrated epic battle
scenes to avoid giving into the madness surrounding him. His melancholy
frankness about the resentment he feels towards his brother is honest
For the college
classroom, this could fit easily into any nursing or healthy living cluster
where questions of treatment and holistic alternatives are discussed.
It is especially valuable to those treating the whole family. While Epileptic
is a bit hefty at 363 pages it's worth the visually powerful and honest
Zane Pinchback, an African American
reporter for a Harlem newspaper, travels to the American south during
the Harlem Renaissance to expose the truth of the Jim Crow south--lynchings.
Along the way he must "pass" in order to confront southern white
(in)justice leading the reader on an exploration of race and identity.
is a "secret race agent" allowing readers to consider the pain
of a man who longs to name himself, but who must blend into the segregated
south to catch a killer after his own brother is accused of murdering
a white woman.
black-and-white noir style depicts the appalling reality of Jim Crow and
engages students because sometimes the horror of a "lynching postcard"
is hard to get past.
This GN can
lead to discussions of race and identity and how things have changed (and
remained the same) in our culture.
a history lesson on Jim Crow and the Harlem Renaissance. This work is
very intertextual (like The League) in the sense that the clubs
and locations, as well as people mentioned in the book are taken from
African American history.
Incognegro has gone out of print, but here's a digital link to
Incognego that can be opened with any comic book reader. Supplemental
The Harlem Renaissance.
a club in Harlem discussed in Incogegro. It was one of the few
clubs that allowed black patrons.
the Moocher" ala Blues Brothers, famous Harlem Renaissance
C.J. White, first female American millionaire from the National Archives.
to Walter White, one of the first leaders of the NAACP.
Klu Klux Clan in the 1920s.
trailer for Incognegro (not a great copy).
adapted by PETER KUPER
review by the Chicago Tribune sums up the relevance of this work. "An
utterly literary comic . . . A fully realized effort meant to be read
as literature, albeit a kind of literature we haven't seen before."
In the college
classroom, when reading this graphic novel I focus on the theme of alienation
and Kuper's graphic adaptation of Kafka's Metamorphosis closely
emulates this original theme. When Gregor Samsa awakens from disturbing
dreams to find himself transformed into a bug, he is instantly alienated
from his species, not to mention his family, friends, and co-workers.
this graphic novel allows instructors to use any college level study guide
created for the myriad texts and contexts of this classic work, including
those that include vocabulary. "Vocabulary?" you say, "How is that possible?"
I have students find visual definitions within the graphic novel and explain
how those visuals display the definition of words, such as "vermin" or
this visual text, the first essay assignment for intensive writing students
is a narrative about a time when they felt alienated, which they then
have to turn into a graphic novel of their own.
- Companion website to Peter Kuper's (Spy vs. Spy) graphic adaptation
of Kafka's classic novella.
A good study
guide can be found at >The
Metamorphosis by McGraw Hill (24 page .pdf).
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Volume One
written by ALAN MOORE
drawn by KEVIN O'NEILL, BEN DIMAGMALIW, BILL OAKLEY
League is a great way to introduce students
to Victorian literature. The members of "The League" include
Miss Mina Murray, who appears in Bram Stoker's Dracula, while Hawley
Griffin is better known as The Invisible Man of H. G. Wells. Captain
Nemo commands the Nautilus in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
and Mysterious Island written by Jules Verne, while Allan Quatermain,
the great Victorian explorer, searches for King Solomon's Mines in
Haggard's classic. Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde allows Extraordinary League to explore
barely suppressed inner personalities.
characters are allusions to future generations of adventure lit, such
as Campion Bond, the grandfather of Ian Fleming's, James Bond. But the
majority are pure Victorian, from Ishmael, the narrator of Moby Dick,
to Mycroft Holmes, the brother of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous
itself is beautifully crafted with lots of "bonus" material
reminiscent of old-time serial magazines, including a novella by Alan
Moore featuring the purplish prose of the Victorian era, advertisements
for products, such as Ogden's "tab" cigarettes (these days,
an advertising artifact), and a paint-by-numbers portrait whose key, of
course, is linked to Wilde's, Picture of Dorian Gray.
the classroom, students can read one of the "big five" Victorian
novels and after writing a 14-line summary of an assigned chunks, get
into groups and write a best sentence summary. What is a best sentence
summary, you ask? Like a best ball golf tournament, each person in the
group must contribute a sentence to an overall 14-line "best"
summary they share with the class. At the end of the book, they combine
all these summaries into a single summary of the entire work. Why? Because
they have to write a compare/contrast paper comparing and contrasting
two original characters with their counterparts in The League,
and since they have only read one original work, they have to pay attention
to the other groups' summaries.
written by GENE LUEN YANG
art by THIEN PHAM
Ouyang is a video game enthusiast whose late night tournaments lead to
his collegiate demise, but not to worry: four greeting-card angels soon
put him back on the path. In spite of the angels’ incessant coffee brewing,
Dennis soon quits medical school and takes up gaming professionally, so
why isn’t he happy? He discovers happiness lies in doing good things for
others. He gives up gaming and reenrolls in medical school where his video
skills collide with gastroenterology in a gross yet gratifying fashion.
The art of
Level Up is completely different from American Born Chinese
or Eternal Smile. Thien Pham uses a felt pen line washed with
watercolors for a childlike effect to accompany a grown up work.
This is another
story about life choices and life lessons. So often I see students
committing to careers because of two things; 1) their parents told them
to become a nurse or an accountant; and/or, 2) they think they will make
a lot of money. However, too often students have no idea what it takes
to become an accountant, let alone what the job prospects are like once
they do, or what certain professionals make -- and money is a valid consideration.
write a process essay describing how they are going to accomplish their
career goals from college to workplace and how much they can expect to
earn (that often is the most shocking to them and not in a good way).
Yang Ted Talk: Why
Comics Belong in the Classroom.
and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-first Century
written by FRANK MILLER
drawn by DAVE GIBBONS
a 600-page omnibus collecting decades worth of material. Too much? Not
enough, I say (I'm hoping the creators go back and fill in some of Martha's
life in future serials).
not your typical superhero -- she is born into poverty, joins the army,
and then saves the world. This is a psychological tour de force, and can
be used in the classroom as such, giving students a way to think beyond
Campell, Martha's classic hero's journey begins in the rhetorical jungle
known as the Cabrini Green projects. She is separated from her mother
after joining PAX, an entity with magic-like powers that can lift anyone
out of the muck. She crosses the threshold into the belly of the whale
as she fights Fat Boy in the jungles of Brazil. Martha never atones with
the father figure projected by the Surgeon General; she is never going
to become a replica of a doctored replica, even though he literally "regrows"
our hero. Martha is reborn after confronting the mechanical physician
and realizing the government is behind society's problems. It isn't until
Martha's death that she becomes master of two worlds when she is physically
transported "home" on a lightening bolt and given the freedom to live
with the creators.
For a Freudian
spin, Martha's instinctual id breaks out when needed to keep the battle-hardened
soldier alive, while her ego is kept in line by a superego that holds
her to the highest standards. In the end, Martha is literally a human
superego who transcends into a god(dess).
There is lots
of graphic violence and a love story that will break even the hardest
of hearts. Gibbons provides lots of commentary and extras to fill in the
space between the panels.
does one describe the holocaust? This is a difficult question to answer
when the reality is so horrific. Spiegelman portrays the single most horrific
event of the 20th century using Nazi cats and Jewish mice . . . and it
works. It works because it uses a new, vital medium to engage a younger
generation of students and readers, a generation that must examine the
sins of the past to avoid them in the future.
addition, Maus explores the effects of survivor's guilt as well
as the guilt and anguish the children of those survivor's feel by not
being able to heal their parents. It is an engaging and suspenseful story
that will keep readers turning the pages. This is a complicated work contained
with an easy-to-follow artistic style.
are a ton of ways to use Maus in the classroom (and many great
websites devoted to lesson plans). One might consider using it alongside
Animal Farm because of the animal portrayals and the linkage between
group think and the horror that such uniformity and conformity can bring.
Vol. 1 on the web
this video - Life
After Maus: An interview of Art Spiegelman
by LYNDA BARRY
An "autobifictionalography" of a childhood
that is more bitter than sweet. Barry was inspired by a Zen monk's painted
demon scroll. Barry gave ink stones a try, and voila, "the
demons began to come." Layered collage title pages introduce stories
of lost friendship, lost loves, adolescence, mother/daughter dysfunction
and head lice. The epilogue includes a lesson on painting your own demons.
offer a way of introducing narratives and narrative subjects as well as
descriptive inspirations from someone who describes herself as "weird".
Students will see themselves in some of the stories from strained parental
relationships to first jobs.
One! Hundred! Demons!
also offers a good way of showing students that narratives must answer
the question "So what?" as Barry learns from her own life lessons.
byline as "a memoir . . .", is a graphic novel genre I usually try to
avoid. There are too many twenty-somethings creating angst ridden graphic
autobiographies, which are too often about "wasted days and wasted nights"
to quote Freddy Fender. But when thumbing through Stitches, the full-page
panel of David's first view of the results of his surgery reflected in
a bathroom mirror is striking. This revelation is followed by a series
of panels of ever-closer zooms focusing on David's stitches makes his
surgery all too claustrophobically real and reminiscent of Mary Shelley's
Frankenstein. After reading David Small's memoir; it can easily
be juxtaposed with Shelley's masterpiece and its theme of forbidden or
home is a house swarming with secrets and dangerous knowledge. His mother's
lesbian affair, David's cancer, each family member's unhappiness, never
spoken, but loudly reflected by screeching tires, punching bags, drums,
and slamming kitchen cupboards, are outward manifestations of their secret
tortures. His father's confession that he gave his son cancer through
overdoses of X-rays culminates a series of bad events, including his mother's
lesbian affair and his grandmother's pyrotechnics, events that finally
drive David out of this house of horrors. It is then that he creates himself
by following his artistic desire and exorcising his psychotic family through
lit questions for Stitches and Frankenstein.
fanboy culture takes on Herodotus's story of ancient Sparta's suicide
mission against the Persian, Xerxes. 300 is a great way to launch
into ancient history or cultural studies where themes of West vs. East
(especially the Middle East) can be explored--a political subject scrutinized
by everyone from the western media to Middle Eastern governments.
was especially the case for 300", according to the LA Times,
"an Iranian government spokesman described  as a cultural
slur of the highest order." Persians are portrayed as merciless,
while Spartans are honorable and duty bound.
explore the limits of free expression and the arts. Should we bridle western
pop culture in order to avoid offending other societies? Are all cultural
properties "fair game" for contemporary analysis and/or parody?
Should artists be allowed to depict Allah, or should they censor those
portrayals like the creators of South Park did recently? How
important is free expression? Is it worth dying for?
to Miller, he was making "a deliberate propaganda piece . . . [and]
when it comes to '300' I make no apologies whatsoever."
by ALAN MOORE and DAVE GIBBONS
is one of the most commonly found graphic
novels in the classroom and it seems one of the things that attracts academics
is its complicated literary format. It isn't just a graphic novel, its
pages are rife with literary genres from fictional autobiographical "tell-alls,"
to scholarly essays, ornithological journal articles, corporate correspondence,
personal notes and letters, newspaper articles, arrest and accompanying
psychological records, interviews, marketing materials, materials that
make the characters come alive.
Watchmen's diegetic, a Nixonian 1980s created after the United States
wins the Vietnam war, is a society that has finally tired of masked vigilantes
and asks, "Who's watching the Watchmen?" Teachers often assign Watchmen
alongside other dystopics like Orwell's 1984 or Huxley's Brave
New World. Historicists teach students about Vietnam, the Cold War,
and the Manhattan project, providing a grounding not only in the Watchmen's
alternative society, but also our own. Cultural critics often explore
family dynamics; the original Silk Spectre is a single mother in post
World War II America, whose relationship with her daughter is strained,
a seemingly common problem mimicked in our own living rooms, or, alternatively
students can examine the connection between Rorschach and his prostitute
here for handout: >Questions
exploring Feminism in Watchmen
-The Phenomenon: The Comic that Changed Comics a great
documentary about why Watchmen is one of the greatest books every
Within a Story: The Books of Watchmen a great documentary about
the book and the making of the movie.
is some really fun stuff of the internet for Watchmen, such as
this video a PSA called "The
Keene Act and You."
Gibbons did a 12-part motion comic on Watchmen. Start with
No. 1. There are 12 and they follow the comic text closely, but ignore
the back matter.
There is also
a complete "Black
Frieghter" (sorry, could only find one in German) motion comic
- so you can watch this comic-within-a-comic all at once which is on the
you have any suggestions for graphic novels in the college classroom please
I'm always looking for fresh reads.
for the College Classroom
list of works provides a basis for college level critical thinking and
metacognitive exploration, as well as opportunities to teach some basic
can communicate complex ideas with clarity, precision, efficiency and
convey the most knowledge in the shortest time in the small space . .
. . Visual displays of information encourage a diversity of individual
viewer styles and rates of editing, personalizing, reasoning, and understanding.
KNOW where to start?
International Graphic Novel Book Club
- Here's their latest lists.
and Pulps in PUBLIC DOMAIN
Book Plus, the original site to read and download Golden and Silver
Age comic books. All the content is FREE and LEGAL.
Comics Museum - over 15,000 free Golden Age Comics in the public
free archives contains a comprehensive collection of high-quality books
and periodical issues, including many golden and silver age pulps.
. . . In the beginning
Hieroglyphs used for 3,500 hundred years over 5,000 years ago.
Trajan's Column (107CE), celebrating Emporer Trajan's qualities
and achievements in one gigantic
The Bayeux Tapestry
(1070s), recording the Battle of Hastings.
codices (15th-16th century).
About 20 survive today.
Harlot's Progress (1733), engraving, by William Hogarth tells
the heartbreaking story of Moll Hackabout from country innocent to lady
of the night
Rake's Progress (1735), engraving, by William Hogarth relates
how Tom Rakewell inherits a fortune only to squander it.
Töpffer's "Mr. Pencil"
(1840), an artist pleased with his own work.
Contract with God by Will Eisner (.pdf)
- The Early Years (1940-42) on Scribd.
Knight Returns by Frank Miller (.pdf).
There is also
a really nice site analyzing many of the main features of TDKR at
Frank Miller's Batman.
World by Daniel Clowes on Scribd.
Luther King and the Montgomery Story published in the mid 1950s.
Good campanion to Incogegro, The March.
I: A Survivor's Tale Vol 1 by Art Spiegelman (.pdf)
II: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman (.pdf)
by Scott McCloud (.pdf)
by Alan Moore and David Gibbons (.pdf)
1982 DC Comics style guide - a blueprint for your favorites from
DC. Things have changed a bit since then, but what a great reference.
Comics out in the Verse
with Problems is one of the strangest collections on the web.
Wanna strip your M16? Will Eisner can show you how.
goes Afro for a day (yes, it's those wild 70s) and Spider-Man has a secret
(say it ain't so).
more health related wierdness than I care to discuss. I went for a minute,
stayed for days.
Collection Of Science Fiction and Fantasy at UC Riverside
....plus lots of comics.
- Oh, no I've fallen for another type of graphic novel. Started with
Black Butler and the manga just goes on from there.
State University Comic Art Collection
"The Comic Art Collection holds over 200,000
items. Most of these items are comic books, but also included are over
1,000 books of collected newspaper comic strips, and several thousand
books and periodicals about comics.
and advanced scholars from around the world find this collection to be
the primary library resource for the study of U.S. comic book publications.
Golden Age Comics Blogzine, has great articles on some obscure
golden age comics including The Green Turtle.
Comic Online - These guys have everything Marvel, DC, Vertigo,
etc. Graphic novels, comic issues, and trade paperbacks.
Words & Writing Pictures: A definitive course from concept to comic
in 15 lessons
ABEL and MATT MADDEN
"College literature courses and textbooks
are increasingly making a concerted effort to bring comics into the fold
alongside contemporary works of fiction, poetry, and drama" (xiii).
have to admit I was attracted to the title of this work, only to discover
this is not a textbook for the English classroom. With the possible exception
of the chapter "Every Picture Tells a Story", this textbook
is designed for the student who wants to learn to draw comics. I completely
enjoyed this work because one of my fantasies is to draw a strip, even
though its title would be "But I Can't Draw". A few words of
caution - this text does not teach storytelling and if the story is no
good, it doesn't matter how good the artist.
But all is
not lost! For instructors teaching comic creation this is an accessible
textbook utilizing sidebars, lessons, and detailed instructions. There
is also a companion website (www.dw-wp.com)
with sample syllabi for ten and fifteen week courses. Included is a section
about writing comics with some good exercises for getting the story right.
Storytelling and Visual Narrative: Principles and Practices from the Legendary
by WILL EISNER
"Stories are used to teach behavior within the community,
to discuss morals and values, or to satisfy curiosity. They dramatize
social relations and the problems of living, convey ideas or act out fantasies.
The telling of a story requires skill" (Eisner 1). I ask you how is this
is different from what we try to teach in the text-only classroom?
can be used to teach narrative in any medium or mode, but Eisner, being
Eisner, focuses on visual narratives and in so doing sets up the reader
for a roller coaster ride through text and visuals showing students (and
instructors) how to create good stories.
symbolism, modes of development (Eisner is not just talking narrative
as English instructors think of narrative-telling a story or giving an
account of a fictional or historic event-he also includes process and
slice-of-life modes of development), audience and its role in developing
the story, the writing process where "the dialogue supports the imagery"
(Eisner 113), voice, and of course, visual style.
Power of Comics: History, Form & Culture
by RANDY DUNCAN & MATTHEW J. SMITH
a textbook about comic books" declares Duncan and Smith (vii). And
346 pages includes detailed chapters on the history of the comic medium
and fandom, genres from superheroes to classics illustrated, and more
advanced sections on the ideology of comics and propaganda. There is even
a chapter about researching comic books. The final chapter explores comics
culture around the world. Clearly stated objections are outlined at the
beginning of each chapter and extensive reading lists are tucked inside.
While I would
recommend this to anyone needing a crash course in comic books, or as
a textbook devoted to a class on the comic book medium, this textbook
advanced and would not be appropriate for a remediation class utilizing
graphic novels. Having said that I would recommend The Power of Comics
to serious students and teachers looking for a crash course in comics.
by SCOTT McCLOUD
McCloud's work is the seminal lexicon for graphic
novelists and those who just want to understand comic "grammar". Like
mainstream textual handbooks this is a dense work that requires careful
thought and analysis, but unlike other writer's resource books, Understanding
Comics is written in a comic book format.
comics as "juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence,
intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response
in the viewer" (9) and then goes into great detail to explain comic vocabulary,
icons and symbols, concepts of comic time, closure, Japanese versus western
comic styles and their ramifications, movement and action, visible emotions,
and the future of comics as a graphic medium.
This is a must
read for any instructor using graphic novels in the classroom.
a link to a .pdf of Understanding
heroes, heroines, and villains are better? Marvel or DC? Here's a debate
topic that will keep students talking.
vs. DC - Start here with a look at DC vs. Marvel Villians using
many of the popular superhero movies (7:40).
vs. Marvel: Ripped off Characters! - a good segue looking at how
characters merged and emerged (9:10).
vs. DC Nemesis - runs through dozens of character match ups (6:30).
Events (SF Bay Area)
Press Expo, San Jose, California
Held in October. This show was recently returned to SLG Publishing and
has returned to its roots in San Jose. This is a fantastic show that features
independent artists, creators, and indy publishers in an atmosphere designed
to enable both attendees and those trying to break into the biz.
Portal to all both conferences. Yeah, I know these
aren't local, but WonderCon used to be.
Bay Comic Con, Concord, California
Held in January at the Concord Hilton. This is a small comic convention
with lots of local big-name talent. Cosplay and costume contest.
Comic Book Day
occurs every year on the first Saturday in May at
a comic book store near YOU! Participating comic book shops across North
America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE to
anyone who comes into their stores.
Francisco Comic Con
occurs during the summer.
Valley Comic Con (SVCC), San Jose, California.
in March at the San Jose Convention Center. Founded by Steve Wozniak and
friends (including Stan Lee) are bringing the best in techology and entertainment
under one roof.
you really want to find out more about graphic novels, your best resource
is your local comic book store. The best in California's East Bay is
Flying Colors, owned
by the creator of Free Comic Book Day and one of the founders of WonderCon.
from the Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Popular Culture by Stan
Lee and Dr. Michael Uslan (Smithsonian
in the 1920s &1930s
Influences on Comic Books and Superheroes
Birth of the Superhero
People Behind the Golden Age
Lee: The Beginning
Seduction of the Innocent
Society in the 1960s
Comics and the Silver Age
Lee and Marvel in the Silver Age
& New Publishers of the Silver Age
Bronze Age and the Genre of Relevancy
Storytelling in the Modern Age
Publishing in the Modern Age
Writing in the Modern Age
Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight -
from the History Channel.
Book Superheroes Unmasked
A history of superheroes in comic books, from the first
appearance of Superman in the 1930s to today's morally-conflicted, violent
anti-heroes (History Channel).
of Robert Crumb
BBC documentary (1987).
An in-depth documentary on the comic-book history of The Dark Knight narrated
by some of the industry's best creators and artists!
Request Monday: Black Panther
This is one in a great series of "Marvel Comics Explained"
Hudlin on the Black Panther
A Never-Ending Battle
documentary that examines the dawn of the comic book genre and its powerful
legacy, as well as the evolution of the characters who leapt from the
pages over the last 75 years and their ongoing worldwide cultural impact.
Lee Story 1996
Creator of iconic characters while letting us look behind the mask to
show us the human being.
- The Phenomenon that Changed Comics
History and impact of the comic series.
a link to the first chapter, you can find them all. No back matter, but
a fun way to look at the panels (Dave Gibbons).
Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
Lens production featured on PBS (trailer)
TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth
Barry TED Talk - The Ink Conference. "Why Americans Are So
The Power of Cartoons as news vehicle to illuminate serious issues.
McCloud TED talk
the creator of Understanding Comics talks about
family, inspiration, and, of cours, comics.
Moore on HARDtalk
Tyler Nobelman: The Story of Batman's Secret Creator. A TED talk
on Bill Finger.
Speigelman on Life After Maus.
Volger TED talk
writer for The Matrix movie explains Campbell's "monomyth"
hero's journey found in many of yesterday's myths and today's comics.
Luen Yang TED Talk - "Why Comics Belong in the Classroom."
from Big Bang Theory
Year's Eve Cosplay"
Girls Arguing About Comics"
Girls ask Stewart for Comic recommendations - Fables or Thor"
on AMC starring everyone's favorite, Kevin Smith. Fun show even for the
novice comic reader.
Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
by Michael Chabon
young immigrants inhabit the world of Golden Age comics as they draw and
write their way through World War II. Great read that resonates through
real world events. 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction.
HeroMachine lets you unlock your inner
artist, enabling you to create professional-looking illustrations even
if you can’t draw a straight line. Just choose a pose, then pick a set
and genre of items and click to add them.
Create Your Own Superhero
Name your superhero, mix and match costumes of all
your favorite Marvel characters, including Spider-Man, Iron Man and Wolverine,
customize face, hair, and other features, and then post online or send
Lets individuals create their own South Park alter egos.
Black and white, lots of extras, recognizable
Add comic balloons to your photos. It's easy, fast,
cool, and even free. What more could you ask for? So, they could tell
you how great this little web tool is, how it let's you upload your photos
and pictures, add comic style word balloons, then save them and use them
for whatever you want. But, just check out the app for yourself. Enjoy!
Cartoon strip creator. Don't try this one with dial-up, but an awesome
site with lots of bells and whistles.
Artists, Creators, and Authors
Archer - a comics journalist who creates non-fiction, journalistic
comics to offer a new perspective on U.S., foreign, and domestic policy
in order to give voice to stories that wouldn’t otherwise be heard.
Kuper - a graphic novelist who visualizes Franz Kafka in a beautiful
and true-to-the-text way. The current writer/drawer of Mad's "Spy
v Spy", Kuper's work has "a savage hand, radical heart, and
Miller - the best of the best from Martha Washington to
Batman, his heroes define the meaning of the word at a time when
we could use some genuine guts.
Moore at Dodgem Logic - what can I say, enter at your own risk.
Rucka - the mystery writer turned comic book writer gave us works
like Batwoman Elegy and Gotham Central. Great story lines.
Luen Yang - an alum of CSUEB, his American Born Chinese is one
of my favorites.
is so much more to include . . . check back often.
Super Afternoon with Gene Luen Yang
Thirty Years Later, Who's Reading Watachmen?
City Moves West
the Pages: The College Comic Final -- Sailor Twain
the Pages: Comics Journalism Takes on Education Reform
also available at Truthout.org.
Gray: A Super Dad on Superman
Story: Report from BigWow Comic Fest - also
available at Comic Book Resources
- Girls Just Want to Have Comics
Survey of Graphic Novels: Independents and Underground Classics
This 500-page volume by Salem Press features three
of my comic essays covering Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese,
Jason Little's Shutterbug Follies, and David B.'s Epileptic.
2012 - Interdisciplinary
Classroom Comics: Children's Medium and the New Literacy explores
the rhetorical uses of visual texts in the college classroom.
2012 - Critical
Survey of Graphic Novels: Heroes and Superheroes featuring two
essays, one on Light Brigade by Peter Tomasi and Peter Snejbjerg
and another on Frank Miller's The Life and Times of Martha Washington
in the 21st Century (a personal favorite).
journalism, GRAPHIC Essays for the College Classroom
by GENE LUEN YANG
Yang's Bonus Feature looks at how the MacArthur
Grant winner composes graphic novels. If you'd like to give creating a
comic a try, check this out.
by PETER BAGGE
Bums appeared in Reason Magazine in April
2007. I use this as an introduction to graphic texts because it is a serious
subject treated in what students believe is a "comic" way.
can answer reading comprehension questions, such as, "What is the
life expectancy of a chronically homeless person?" And since the
thesis is implied, I have students write out the main idea and then share
their answers before determining the complete thesis as a whole class.
by ALISON BECHDEL
(I think) featured this narrative essay about a young woman being force-fed
"literature" by her English teacher father. It details the subsequent
guilt she feels for the book list she hopes to read and explores how one
woman evolved a reading list of her own.
can examine the reading lists they had as children, what their parents/school
thought they should read, and what they'd like to read in the future --
hopefully, there's some graphic novels included. Students can also examine
how people resist being force-fed material and how that effects our decision
Reading questions for study and discussion .pdf
with Alison Bechdel
Disaster Capitalism Curriculum: The High Price of Education Reform (Episode
by ADAM BESSIE and DAN ARCHER
What better way to capture the Bizarro world of education reform than
with a serious work of journalism, disguised as a comic? This three-part
series is not intended to be funny, but rather, to pull back the progressive
propaganda disguising the neoliberal, corporate nature of education reform.
here for an interactive comics journalistic experience on education reform.
Episode 2: Murky Waters: The Education Debate in New Orleans
Episode 3: The Finnish Alternative: Reclaiming Public Education From Corporate
by RONALD WIMBERLY
A cartoonist reflects on the subtle racism of shifting skin tones in a
'I was 14 when I was Sold'
by DAN ARCHER
Comic Journalist, Dan Archer, draws the news for the BBC
in this true story of human traffiking.
a more immediate, vital representation of the exchange, with overlapping
speech balloons and less rendered drawings, but in a way it's a more direct
visual translation of what I'm experiencing at that moment."
is the Best Weapon
by DAN ARCHER
you thought human trafficking couldn't happen here. Story about human
slavery in the SF Bay Area from SF Public Press.
'Comic Journalist', Dan Archer, talks about what it means to blend
art and journalism to raise awareness of human rights issues in Nepal
Prayer for Uganda
by LIZBETH BROWN
Winner of the 2011 O'Keefe Prize for Graphic Literature,
A Prayer for Uganda describes the horrible conditions of war torn
Uganda through the eyes of a naive aid worker.
observe how U.S foreign policy impacts other nations causing misery. In
this case, "we" seem to be adding to the already wretched conditions
of war torn Uganda, a country that has been waging a civil war between
the government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) since the 1980s.
Students can see how visual information delivery can evoke a powerful
visceral response in readers.
Prayer for Uganda questions for study and discussion.pdf
Rule by Alison Bechdel
A quick way to spot gender inequality in movies (or any other form on
Second Mouse Gets the Cheese - Cartoonist Success Story
by JAMES STURM
Keep your chin up and keep after it. This would be a good one for analyzing
titles in essays.
Short History of America
by ROBERT CRUMB
This classic first appeared in Co-Evolutionary
Quarterly in 1979 with an epilogue added a year later.
identify cause-and-effect elements as well as making predictions about
the future. This is a way to begin a discussion about what is going on
in the urban centers where many students live, or having them think about
how neighborhoods change.
Short History questions for study and writing.pdf
Woman who Put Men on the Moon
by LUKE KINGMA
This comic comes by way of Futurism.com
and describes the accomplishments of Margaret Hamilton, one of the world's
first software engineers and a got a job as a programmer on the Apollo
Today she runs her own software company.
Her motto "Don't let fear get in the way!"
Material for the College Classroom
Comics in Scholarly Writing
an in-depth look at comic citation. It's
far more complicated than you ever imagined.
History of Visual Communication
is a beautifully designed website that explores the human need to visualize
texts from cave paintings and illustrated pages to 3-D science data modeling
and gaming interfaces.
Rhetoric/Visual Literacy: Writing About Comics and Graphic Novels
Duke Writing Studio
produced this handout and it is a great introduction to "reading"
visual essays, graphic novels, and comic books. It gives students a vocabulary
from which to base writings as they critically approach graphic narratives
(4 page .pdf).
The latest political cartoons, updated hourly. You can also subscribe
to a free daily newsletter.
Political Cartoons, Comics Journalism, humor and non-fiction. Words plus
Associations, Journals, Websites & Blogs
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
A 501(c)(3) organization devoted to protecting the
free speech rights of comic book artist, authors, creators, and other
members of the comic community
of reviews, buys, previews, conventions, articles, blogs. Geared towards
serial comic geeks and those who just wannabe. They also have a great
monthly column Comics
College where they "provide an introductory guide to some
of the comics medium's most important authors and offer our best educated
suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work."
A collaborative, peer-edited online academic journal dedicated to comics
scholarship. Its purpose is to make original contributions to the field
of comics scholarship and to advance the appreciation of comic art within
academia and the general cultural mediascape.
and Graphic Narratives - MLA Discussion Group
The group seeks to build on the growing interest
in comics studies within the academy, an interest attested to by rapidly
increasing opportunities for book and journal publication, the proliferation
of conferences in the field, and the expanding professional conversation
about the teaching of graphic narratives.
Blogs, essays, interviews, and reviews of graphic
novels, comics, and the industry.
find any "pompous, jargon-laden
literary theory in an essay about V for Vendetta" because the editorial
staff rejected it "with howls of derisive laughter."
Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics
news, reviews, interviews and commentary includes a comprehensive list
of comics-related events.
Reviews of the latest graphic novels and comics as well as interviews
with today's best creators. There are OpEd pieces for and by teachers
who use graphic novels in their classrooms.
for your Inner Fanboy
by the LA Times, this blogsite will keep you up-to-date on contemporary
comics, webseries, cartoons, interviews, and related entertainment.
of American Culture
"Multidisciplinary in focus, The
Journal of American Culture combines studies of American literature, history,
and the arts, with studies of the popular, the taken-for-granted, and
the ordinary pieces of American life, to produce analyses of American
culture with a breadth and holism lacking in traditional American studies."
of Graphic Novels and Comics
Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics is a peer reviewed journal covering
all aspects of the graphic novel, comic strip and comic book, with the
emphasis on comics in their cultural, institutional and creative contexts.
is international, covering not only English language comics but also worldwide
comic culture. The journal reflects interdisciplinary research in comics
and aims to establish a dialogue between academics, historians, theoreticians
and practitioners of comics. It therefore examines comics production and
consumption within the contexts of culture: art, cinema, television and
new media technologies."
issue free online.
of Popular Culture
reviewed, scholarly journal that explores all of popular culture, comics
and graphic novels included. "The popular culture movement was founded
on the principle that the perspectives and experiences of common folk
offer compelling insights into the social world.
of Popular Culture continues to break down the barriers between so-called
"low" and "high" culture and focuses on filling in the gaps that a neglect
of popular culture has left in our understanding of the workings of society."
National Association of Comics Art Educators
"In the last several years the comics
art form has flourished, generating much interest from the literary, art
and educational communities. The number of schools teaching comics is
growing quickly and this site is a resource for individuals and institutions
interested in teaching visual storytelling."
some really great reading lists, handouts, and sample syllabi at this
State University Cartoon Library and Museum
with links to its annual conference, collections, and publication series
on comics and cartoons.
Comic and pop culture analysis. Some good essays here.
in Comics aims to describe the nature
of comics, to identify the medium as a distinct art form, and to address
the medium’s formal properties. The emerging field of comics studies is
a model for interdisciplinary research and in this spirit this journal
welcomes all approaches.
The creator of this website, Gail Simone, started
WIR when it "occurred to [her]that it's not that healthy to be a
female character in comics . . . These are superheroines who have been
either depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator."
Art Museum of San Francisco
The Cartoon Art Museum’s key function is to preserve,
document, and exhibit this unique and accessible art form. Through traveling
exhibitions and other exhibit-related activities — such as artists-in-residence,
lectures, and outreach — the museum has taken cartoon art and used it
to communicate cultural diversity in the community, as well as the importance
Center for Cartoon Studies
offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the language of comics. "Cartoonists
are visual linguists who use (and add to) a pictorial vocabulary"
where "simple abstract marks and shapes trigger memory and imagination."
Great website including a blog, events, student work (this isn't amateur
hour), summer workshops, and "The
Language of Comics".
for Visual Arts
Learn the craft of comics from the best, like DC legend Carmine Infantino,
who created the first Batgirl comics, or study the new form with
people like Ben Katchor, winner of a coveted MacArthur "genius" award.
SVA's cartooning faculty is the biggest and the best of any arts college,
which is only fitting, since they were the first to offer a degree in
Graphic Novel Project
Part of the Stanford Creative Writing Program, the graphic novel project
lets students collaborate to make graphic novels for social change – and
in the process learn storytelling, illustration and teamwork. The only
school where you can get a degree in comics journalism.
Art Association Conference
Annual - February - Location varies
"The College Art Association
supports all practitioners and interpreters of visual art and culture,
including artists and scholars, who join together to cultivate the ongoing
understanding of art as a fundamental form of human expression."
Annual - Summer- San Diego, California at Comic-Con.
& Annual - Spring - San Francisco, California at Wonder Con.
in conjunction with the two major comic conferences, Comic-Con International
Conference at UF
- March - UF Florida, Gainesville.
"What began as a symposium featuring Will Eisner and dedicated to
the question of the graphic novel has become an annual conference that
brings together both artists and scholars to discuss issues centered around
what is a unique theme each year related to comics, graphic novels, animation,
digital media and visual culture. These conferences are interdisciplinary
and examine subjects from a wide ranger of formal, historical, literary,
sociological and economic perspectives."
Comic Arts Forum
Annual - October - Various
An international forum devoted to studying
all varieties of comics. "ICAF is proud to support the principle
of peer review and the development of solid, academically grounded comics
scholarship, and at the same time to maintain a collegial and welcoming
environment for scholars at all levels and from all disciplines."
Culture Association/American Culture Association
- Location varies
"The PCA/ACA is a group of scholars and enthusiasts,
who study the popular culture--writing, sharing, and publishing in the
field. The PCA/ACA offers a venue to come together and share ideas and
interests about the field or about a particular subject within the field."
produces the Journals of American Culture and Popular Culture.
you'd like your conference included, please
email me (email@example.com).
Culture - The University of Pennsylvania maintains
a "Calls for Papers" website for various conferences and journals.
Click on link for popular culture papers, panels, and conferences that
includes comics and graphic novels.
O'Keefe Prize for Graphic Literature
offered in memory of Diablo Valley College's beloved English professor
who taught comics as literature and raised hell among us for far too short
a time. Details about contest rules, links to former winners as well as
you have comic related posts you'd like included on this list, please
contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).