Teaching the Graphic Novel

  • Editor: Stephen E. Tabachnick
  • Pages: viii & 353 pp.
  • Published: 2009
  • ISBN: 9781603290616 (Paperback)
Teaching the Graphic Novel Cover
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“Professors and teachers thinking of introducing graphic narratives in their courses, or of creating a dedicated class for this popular genre, will do well to consult it and profit from the generous advice of its contributors.”—Vittorio Frigerio, Belphegor
“This excellent collection lays out an impressive series of methods and techniques for teaching graphic novels. It comes at just the right moment, as the graphic novel has matured into an influential art form that has made a place for itself on the contemporary cultural scene.”—M. Thomas Inge, Randolph-Macon College

Graphic novels are now appearing in a great variety of courses: composition, literature, drama, popular culture, travel, art, translation. The thirty-four essays in this volume explore issues that the new art form has posed for teachers at the university level. Among the subjects addressed are

  • terminology (graphic narrative vs. sequential art, comics vs. comix)
  • the three outstanding comics-producing cultures today: the American, the Japanese (manga), and the Franco-Belgian (the bande dessinée)
  • the differences between the techniques of graphic narrative and prose narrative,and between the reading patterns for each
  • the connections between the graphic novel and film
  • the lives of the new genre’s practitioners (e.g., Robert Crumb, Harvey Pekar)
  • women’s contributions to the field (e.g., Lynda Barry)
  • how the graphic novel has been used to probe difficult moments in history (the Holocaust, 9/11), deal with social and racial injustice, and voice political satire
  • postmodernism in the graphic novel (e.g., in the work of Chris Ware)
  • how the American superhero developed in the Depression and World War II
  • comix and the 1960s counterculture
  • the challenges of teaching graphic novels that contain violence and sexual content

The volume concludes with a selected bibliography of the graphic novel and sequential art.

M. G. Aune
J. P. Avila
Jan Baetens
Anthony D. Baker
Terry Barr
Edward Brunner
James Bucky Carter
Michael A. Chaney
Frank L. Cioffi
Jesse Cohn
Mark Feldman
Christine Ferguson
J. Caitlin Finlayson
Claudia Goldstein
Pamela Gossin
Darren Harris-Fain
Charles Hatfield
Dana A. Heller
Tammy Horn
Rachael Hutchinson
Martha Kuhlman
Alison Mandaville
Chris Matz
Ana Merino
John G. Nichols
Nathalie op de Beeck
Michael D. Picone
Eric S. Rabkin
Elizabeth Rosen
Paul D. Streufert
Laurie N. Taylor
Anne N. Thalheimer
Brian Tucker
Bryan E. Vizzini
Joseph Witek

 Introduction (1)

Stephen E. Tabachnick

Part I: Theoretical and Aesthetic Issues

Defining Comics in the Classroom; or, The Pros and Cons of Unfixability (19)

Charles Hatfield

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s Laocoön and the Lessons of Comics (28)

Brian Tucker

Reading Time in Graphic Narrative (36)

Eric S. Rabkin

Mise-en-Page: A Vocabulary for Page Layouts (44)

Jesse Cohn

The Narrative Intersection of Image and Text: Teaching Panel Frames in Comics (58)

Elizabeth Rosen

Part II: Social Issues

Is There an African American Graphic Novel? (69)

Michael A. Chaney

Teaching Maus to a Holocaust Class (76)

Terry Barr

Too Weenie to Deal with All of This “Girl Stuff”: Women, Comics, and the Classroom (84)

Anne N. Thalheimer

The Graphic Novel as a Choice of Weapons (91)

Tammy Horn

Teaching Watchmen in the Wake of 9/11 (99)

James Bucky Carter

Part III: Individual Creators

Chris Ware’s Postmodern Pictographic Experiments (111)

Anthony D. Baker

Teaching Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli’s Graphic Novel Adaptation of Paul Auster’s City of Glass (120)

Martha Kuhlman

The Urban Studies of Ben Katchor (129)

Mark Feldman

The Comics as Outsider’s Text: Teaching R. Crumb and Underground Comix (137)

Edward Brunner

Revisionist Superhero Graphic Novels: Teaching Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Books (147)

Darren Harris-Fain

Memory’s Architecture: American Studies and the Graphic Novels of Art Spiegelman (155)

Dana A. Heller

Autobifictionalography: Making Do in Lynda Barry’s One Hundred Demons (163)

Nathalie op de Beeck

Snow White in the City: Teaching Fables, Nursery Rhymes, and Revisions in Graphic Novels (172)

Laurie N. Taylor

Graphic Fictions on Graphic Subjects: Teaching the Illustrated Medical Narrative (179)

Frank L. Cioffi

The Boundaries of Genre: Translating Shakespeare in Antony Johnston and Brett Weldele’s Julius (188)

J. Caitlin Finlayson

Steam Punk and the Visualization of the Victorian: Teaching Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell (200)

Christine Ferguson

Visualizing the Classics: Frank Miller’s 300 in a World Literature Course (208)

Paul D. Streufert

Part IV: Courses and Contexts

Seven Ways I Don’t Teach Comics (217)

Joseph Witek

Teaching the Graphic Travel Narrative (223)

M. G. Aune

Violent Encounters: Graphic Novels and Film in the Classroom (230)

John G. Nichols

Hero and Holocaust: Graphic Novels in the Undergraduate History Classroom (238)

Bryan E. Vizzini

It’s a Word! It’s a Picture! It’s Comics! Interdisciplinary Approaches to Teaching Comics (245)

Alison Mandaville and J. P. Avila

Comics and the Canon: Graphic Novels, Visual Narrative, and Art History (254)

Claudia Goldstein

Teaching Manga: Considerations and Class Exercises (262)

Rachael Hutchinson

The Cultural Dimensions of the Hispanic World Seen through Its Graphic Novels (271)

Ana Merino

Translation by Derek Petrey and Elizabeth Polli

A Cultural Approach to Nonnarrative Graphic Novels: A Case Study from Flanders (281)

Jan Baetens

Interdisciplinary Meets Cross-Cultural: Teaching Anime and Manga on a Science and Technology Campus (288)

Pamela Gossin

Teaching Franco-Belgian Bande Dessinée (299)

Michael D. Picone

Part V: Resources

Supporting the Teaching of the Graphic Novel: The Role of the Academic Library (327)

Chris Matz

A Selected Bibliography of the Graphic Novel and Sequential Art (333)

Notes on Contributors (341)

Index (345)