Heroes, Antiheroes and Outsiders: Reading the Graphic Novel
How is it that "comics", a genre often viewed as entertainment for children and adolescents, has become one of the most exciting forms of narrative and visual art? To answer this question, this seminar will examine a range of graphic novels, from those that celebrate their origins in superhero comics, such as Alan Moore's Watchmen, to those that treat subjects not usually considered proper to the comics genre, such as Art Spiegelman's Maus, about the Holocaust, and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, about the complexities of sexual identity. As we read these works, we will look at how the combination of words and still images makes the graphic novel a unique storytelling form, as well as how artists and writers push the envelope to create new styles and challenge our expectations. In addition to class discussions and writing assignments, we will take a field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts and create a collaborative group graphic novel step-by-step over the course of the semester (all abilities welcome).