Philip Nel > Courses > English 440: The Graphic Novel (Fall 2012)
Paying only scant attention to the genre's history and more attention to its form, this course will focus on the golden age of the "graphic novel," beginning in the late 1970s and continuing to the present day. In order to foster these goals, you will write two papers, take quizzes and exams, make regular postings to the message board, and participate in class discussions. In this class, education will not be a passive experience: I expect discussion, debate, and exchanges of ideas. You must be not only present but an active presence.
Requirements: Papers | Quizzes | Class Participation and Attendance | Technology | Assignments
|• Paper 1 (link to assignment)|
|• Paper 2 (link to assignment)|
|• Paper 3 (link to assignment)|
Quizzes: Approximately 12 times during the semester, there will be a quiz. Sometimes the quiz will be announced, and sometimes it won't. But the quiz will always address the reading for that day. Because everyone can have a bad day, I will drop the lowest quiz grade.
Message Board: Post comments to the message board every other week (or more frequently, if you wish). An average posting should run one or two paragraphs in length. In other words, your postings do not need to be long, but they must be substantive -- long enough to convey clearly the problem you are taking up and your point of view, connecting your comment to others' comments, as appropriate. I will monitor these discussions and asses a grade (at the end of the semester) based on the thoughtfulness of your comments, their ability to foster discussion among your classmates, and their responsiveness to both our readings and to your classmates in comments on the message board. Though extra postings to the message board will not automatically replace participation in class discussions, regular contributions above and beyond your weekly posting can improve your class participation grade.
Access the message board via K-State On-Line.
Email: My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use the subject line. Due to the sheer volume of email I receive, messages without clear subject lines may be deleted or simply missed. Also: if you don't receive a response for over 24 hours, please send again. Thank you. You can write with questions, send a thesis statement or outline for an essay, make an appointment to meet me in my office, or do anything else that could be handled with a quick exchange of messages. I check email several times daily, but I am not on-line at all times.
[W] = Web. [CP] = Class Pack. [CSR] = Comics Studies Reader, eds. Heer & Worcester. [R] = On Reserve (at Hale Library).
Note: "through" means "to the end of" (not "up to"). Page numbers refer to the editions assigned.
|August||T 21||Introduction. Mark Newgarden and Paul Karasik, “How to Read Nancy” (1988) <www.laffpix.com/howtoreadnancy.pdf> [W].|
|Th 23||Newgarden and Paul Karasik, cont'd. Group of selected comics in class pack: Soglow, Herriman, Bushmiller, Schulz, Fleener, Al Rabin. Also: Spiegelman and Ware on Schulz (2000) [CP].|
Prose & Comics
|T 28||Paul Auster, City of Glass (1985).|
|Th 30||Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics (1993), Ch. 1. Karasik and Mazzucchelli, City of Glass: The Graphic Novel (1994).|
Icons & Intervals
|September||T 4||Ivan Brunetti, Cartooning Philosophy and Practice, Introduction & Week 1. McCloud, Ch. 2.|
|Th 6||Hergé, The Blue Lotus (1934-35, revised 1946). Charles Hatfield, "An Art of Tensions" [CSR].|
|T 11||Lynda Barry, One Hundred Demons (2002), through "The Visitor" (p. 120). McCloud, Ch. 3.|
|Th 13||Barry, One Hundred Demons, to end. Brunetti, Week 2.|
Some History (Western)
|T 18||Robert C. Harvey, "How Comics Came to Be" (2009) [CSR]; excerpt from Rodolphe Töpffer, Mr. Pencil (1831) [CP]; David Kunzle, “Rodolphe Töpffer’s Aesthetic Revolution” [CSR]; excerpt from Lynd Ward, Gods' Man (1929) [CP].|
|Th 20||Will Eisner, A Contract with God and Other Stories (1978); Hatfield, "Graphic Novel" (2011) [CP]. Paper #1 DUE|
|T 25||Art Spiegelman, Maus I: My Father Bleeds History (1986) and Funny Animals #1 [CP].|
|Th 27||Spiegleman, Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began (1991); Hilary Chute, “History and Graphic Representation in Maus" [CSR].|
Boxes of Time
|October||T 2||McCloud, Ch. 4; Brunetti, Weeks 3 & 4; Richard McGuire, "Here" (1989) [CP]; Chute, "Comics form and Narrating Lives" (2011) [CP]. Paper #2 DUE|
|Th 4||Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006), through Ch. 4.|
|T 9||Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, to end.|
|Th 11||Midterm Exam|
Superheroes, Antiheroes, Heroes
|T 16||Peter Coogan, “The Definition of the Superhero” [CSR]; Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen (1987), through Ch. 4.|
|Th 18||Wertham, excerpt from Seduction of the Innocent [CSR]; Ron Goulart, "The Wertham Crusade" (1986) [CP]; Moore and Gibbons, Watchmen, through Ch. 8.|
|T 23||Moore and Gibbons,Watchmen, to end; Brunetti, Week 5.|
|Th 25||Ho Che Anderson, King: A Comics Biography (1993-1997; pub. in single volume, 2005), through "May 3: Double D-Day" (p. 134).|
|T 30||Anderson, King, through end (p. 232).|
Some History (Eastern)
|November||Th 1||Adam Kern, “Manga versus Kibyöshi” [CSR]; McCloud, Ch. 5; Osamu Tezuka, Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu (1987, English transl. 2003), through Chapter Five (p. 210).|
|T 6||Tezuka, Buddha, Vol. 1, to end.|
Memory, Space, Time
|Th 8||Daniel Clowes, Ghost World (1993-1997; pub. in single volume, 1997); Brunetti, Week 6.|
|T 13||Chris Ware, Building Stories (2012): [wordless / 7.5 x 25 cm / nights and days], "God... I can't bear it... I can't... I can't" / "I don't care... I just don't care..." [2-sided folded strip], "Her laugh is like a flight of tiny birds, taking off..." / "Momma, I don't know how I feel right now. I mean, I don't know how to say it. I'm just not happy or sad. I'm in between." [2-sided folded strip], Branford the Best Bee in the World, & September 23rd, 2000 [Golden Book]. Gene Kannenberg Jr., “The Comics of Chris Ware” [CSR].|
|Th 15||Ware, Building Stories: "Shit" [magazine], "VVVFFFMMMMMMMMMMM" [magazine], DISCONNECT [larger magazine]; Christopher Irving, "Chris Ware on Building a Better Comic Book" (NYC Graphic Novelists, 6 Mar. 2012) [W].|
|T 20||University Holiday|
|T 27||Ware, Building Stories: "I JUST WANT TO FALL ASLEEP AND NEVER WAKE UP AGAIN" / [Acme Novelty Library No. 18]. Paper #3 DUE.|
|Th 29||Ware, Building Stories: The Daily Bee [newspaper], "Recently, my high school boyfriend friended me on Facebook..." / "As a kid, I could sit in front of a mirror and stare at myself for hours, trying to imagine what I'd look like when I grew up..." [newspaper], "Before winter starts" [architecture / blueprint], "god..." [newspaper], "It all happened so fast... When I think back now I almost can't believe it" [newspaper], Building Stories [the box].|
|December||T 4||Tan, The Arrival (2006).|
|Th 6||Conclusion and Review.|
|Th 13||Final Exam, 9:40 - 11:30 a.m.|
Recommended Resources & Further Reading :