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Graphic Novels & Comics for Prospective Teachers  

Background for teaching how to effectively use these resources to promote the enjoyment of reading.
Last Updated: Nov 17, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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What Is a Comic?

A comic book is a series of words and pictures that are presented in a sequential manner to form a narrative.  Sometimes the result will be funny and sometimes very serious.  Comic books originated in the United States in the late 1800s.  Everyday language, including slang and idiom, are part of the content.  What has always been enjoyed about comics is the interplay between text and visual image.

A comic can be considered to be a form of historical text that comments on how both young people and adults identify with cultural and political issues.  In other words, it provides more than just a form of entertainment for children.  The interplay of image, narrative sequence, visual image, motion, art and interactivity reflect on what has happened in the world at the time it was created.  Comics provide specific information about culture and history while they entertain.

The link below goes to a video presentation titled, "Alternate Literary Voices and Vehicles."  This is a video presenting background information regarding the popularity of graphic novels and comics and includes portions of works by Art Spiegelman and John Gould.

What Is a Graphic Novel?

A graphic novel is a book written and illustrated in the style of a comic book.  It includes "sequential art" that is used to tell a story.   The characteristics listed here relate how the elements come together to work well for different levels of readers.

    Graphic novels add a visual focus to the reading experience.

    For weaker readers there are fewer words to decode.

    Concise word choice and the use of sound effects added to the text  enhance the story elements.

    Skilled readers are drawn to the succinct language that provides an efficient communication level as themes and ideas are conveyed.

    The creation process enhances the story as readers move from panel to panel to participate in the unfolding of the story.

     Graphics used by the artist provide elements that result in interactivity   with the action in the story.

     The final result is a work that tells a story with the strong appeal of art   as a positive enhancement.



    Library Resources

    Cover Art
    The Origins of Comics - Thierry Smolderen; Bart Beaty (Translator); Nick Nguyen (Translator)
    ISBN: 1617031496
    Publication Date: 2014-03-25
    In The Origins of Comics: From William Hogarth to Winsor McCay, Thierry Smolderen presents a cultural landscape whose narrative differs in many ways from those presented by other historians of the comic strip. Rather than beginning his inquiry with the popularly accepted "sequential art" definition of the comic strip, Smolderen instead wishes to engage with the historical dimensions that inform that definition. His goal is to understand the processes that led to the twentieth-century comic strip, the highly recognizable species of picture stories that he sees crystallizing around 1900 in the United States. Featuring close readings of the picture stories, caricatures, and humoristic illustrations of William Hogarth, Rodolphe Töpffer, Gustave Doré, and their many contemporaries, Smolderen establishes how these artists were immersed in a very old visual culture in which images--satirical images in particular--were deciphered in a way that was often described as hieroglyphical. Across eight chapters, he acutely points out how the effect of the printing press and the mass advent of audiovisual technologies (photography, audio recording, and cinema) at the end of the nineteenth century led to a new twentieth-century visual culture. In tracing this evolution, Smolderen distinguishes himself from other comics historians by following a methodology that explains the present state of the form of comics on the basis of its history, rather than presenting the history of the form on the basis of its present state. This study remaps the history of this influential art form.

    Cover Art
    Understanding Comics - Scott McCloud
    ISBN: 9780060976255
    Publication Date: 1994-04-27
    Praised throughout the cartoon industry by such luminaries as Art Spiegelman, Matt Groening, and Will Eisner, this innovative comic book provides a detailed look at the history, meaning, and art of comics and cartooning.

    Cover Art
    Reinventing Comics - Scott Mccloud; BookSource Staff (Compiled by)
    ISBN: 9780613280402
    Publication Date: 2000-07-01
    Explains how digital revolutions are affecting the comic strip business, from the artist's creation of the comic strips to the distribution of the finished product to the consumers

    Cover Art
    It Happens at Comic-Con - Ben Bolling (Editor); Matthew J. Smith (Editor)
    ISBN: 9780786476947
    Publication Date: 2014-02-12
    This collection of 13 new essays employs ethnographic methods to investigate San Diego's Comic-Con International, the largest annual celebration of the popular arts in North America. Working from a common grounding in fan studies, these individual explorations examine a range of cultural practices at an event drawing crowds of nearly 125,000 each summer. Investigations range from the practices of fans costuming themselves to the talk of corporate marketers. The collection seeks to expand fan studies, exploring Comic-Con International more deeply than any publication before it.


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