|ENGL4896||PIZZINO, CHRISTOPHER||TR||11::0 AM||0145|
While comics are read widely, and seriously, by people of all ages in many nations, they have long been considered a kind of non-literature in the US. The fortunes of comics have been changing (somewhat) in recent decades, and this course will pay some attention to how the changes have happened and what they mean. However, this is first and foremost a study of comics as a medium, regardless of status. Early in the course, we will master the critical terms needed to analyze comics, and these terms will be a part of class discussion and part of the writing assignments throughout the term. Texts will be selected from a variety of national traditions and periods, but there will be a significant focus on the past three decades of graphic novels in the US. One or two films may supplement the primary texts.
Students taking this course should be aware that there is a lot of reading and that the texts are, unfortunately, expensive. They are also required; students who attend class without the day’s reading will be counted absent. Additionally, students should note that printed (that is, paper) copies of all texts are required; digital copies will not be allowed.
Students should also note that the assigned texts contain a great deal of visually explicit sex and violence. If the texts were films, several of them would earn an NC-17 rating. Please do not sign up for this course if you are not willing to examine such material, or if you cannot do so in good consience.
Quizzes will be constant.
Short essays will be required throughout the term.
There will be a final exam.
Students will be allowed four absences. Additional absences will damage the final grade; the more absences there are, the worse the damage will be. If some absences are excused, the damage can be reduced but not erased. Students should be aware that this policy is never altered, and that it has been the primary factor in drops and failures in previous terms. Take this into consideration before deciding to register for the course.
NOTE: all books listed below are accompanied by an ISBN number and a link. The links are not intended as endorsements, but they will let you know exactly which edition of the book to buy. All texts listed are required.
Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
Lynda Barry, One Hundred Demons!
Hergé, Tintin in America
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis
Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, The Comic Book History of Comics
Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, The Dark Knight Returns
Jason, What I Did
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
Charles Burns, Black Hole
Craig Thompson, Blankets
Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library Vol. 20: Lint
Art Spiegelman, Maus Volume I: My Father Bleeds History
Art Spiegelman, Maus Volume II: And Here My Troubles Began
Adam Hines, Duncan the Wonder Dog
Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodgriguez, Locke & Key Vol. 2: Head Games
Ed Brubaker and Sean Collins, Criminal Vol. 6: Last of the Innocent