The study of comics/graphic novels

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Tidying up my computer… found an article that looks interesting and has obvious relevance to the study of genre fiction: P.L. Thomas writes:

“While some argue about classifying comic books/graphic novels as genre or medium, the impact of comic books/graphic novels on students’ and all readers’ perceptions of what counts as reading, what counts as text, and what counts as genre (or medium) is a key reason to embrace comic books/graphic novels as powerful texts and as powerful entry
points for critical literacy.” (p.187)

“Comics/graphic novels as a medium are much more than superhero comic books, the type of work most people associate with the medium. And, while I remain convinced that sequential art is a valuable medium for its own reasons, many educators and scholars balk at the medium still. Using connections between what has already been established as quality text […] and comics allows both teachers and students the opportunity to examine comics as a medium while not straying too far from recognized works and traditional views of ‘text’. I am hard pressed to imagine a more powerful experience for students than a challenging look at Blake, Moore, Amos and Gaiman as an adventure in genre/text that rivals the adventures we tend to associate with the world of the comic book.” (p.198)

“Reconsidering text, reading and genre through comic books and graphic novels – texts often associated with those children’s worlds – is a step toward honouring more nuanced and sophisticated perceptions of text – perceptions that children and adults alike have already embraced beyond the walls of school.” (p.199)

ABSTRACT: “Historically, comics and graphic novels have been marginalized as quality texts and significant mediums for study. However, in the past decade comics have found their place in educational establishments. This essay offers a brief literature review of attitudes toward comics/graphic novels as a medium and then explores the use of comics/graphic novels within multigenre units of study that challenge student’s assumptions about genre and text. These unit examples include interrelated works by William Blake and Alan Moore and by Tori Amos and Neil Gaiman. The piece ends by examining the range of subgenres within comics/graphic novels, including traditional views of genre literature (mystery, western, etc.) and considerations of text as adaptation (graphic novel adaptations of traditional literature, film adaptations, etc.).” (p.187)

Ref: P.L. Thomas (2011): Adventures in genre!: rethinking genre through comics/graphic novels , Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, 2:2, 187-201

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