This will be the landing page for a look at my spring 2017 introductory comics course at SFSU – Comics & Culture. I’m in the process of updating it to include syllabus, week-by-week breakdown of what we did, example student work…

Comics and Culture Syllabus (PDF)

OVERVIEW: This course will introduce the scholarly study of comic books and graphic novels, with a particular focus on the formal elements that differentiate comics from other forms including prose, film, and poetry, and the history of the comic book format from its inception in the 1830s to today. The different ways that meaning is made in comics form will be demonstrated through close readings and discussion of significant global texts alongside readings of comics scholarship. Students will also get a first-hand understanding of what it means to make comics through various in-class and homework activities.

This will actually be the Fall 2017 version – not so different from the prior semester… Some of what I did over the semester organized by each class meeting:

  1. Brazil: I was in Brazil for our first class meeting to talk on Comics, and so they had a preview assignment first…
    1. EX: WRITE a brief reflection of what your interest in in comics/what brought you to this class; then list a few favorite comics that you’ve read and what comics you’re reading now, if any; finally – say a few words about what you hope to get from this course.
  2. Intro & Pre-history
    1. Paleolithic animations?
  3. History of Comics
    1. EX: Drawing you – 2 self-portraits, from memory, from camera/mirror, reflection on which you preferred and why
    2. Readings:
      1. Lynda Barry – Intro to Best American Comics 2008
      2. Thierry Groensteen Comics Legitimization
  4. McCloud – sequential art
    1. EX: Sketchnote response to Groensteen & Barry essays
    2. View Sketchnote resources
      1. Read interview w/Mike Rohde on Sketchnoting:

      2. Watch this short interview w/Giulia Forsythe on Sketchnotes:

      3. Look at this short drawn essay by Scott Torrance

  5. Time and Space in Comics

    1. Readings:
      1. Moore & Veitch “How Things Work Out”
      2. Richard McGuire “Here”
    2. EX: Sketchnote of readings
    3. EX: In-class – Panel Lottery
  6. Simultaneity – Time, space, and the concept of Simultaneity
    1. Readings
      1. Groensteen System of Comics excerpt
      2. Spiros Space in Comics
    2. EX: In-class Grids & Gestures exercise
  7. Robot Dreams 1
    1. EX: Page examination of Robot Dreams
  8. Robot Dreams 2 – more on wordless comics
    1. Readings
      1. Check out Laura Sneddon’s article on wordless comics here
      2. Wordless X-Men by Morrison & Quitely
      3. Wordless Korgi
      4. EX: in-class – Batman & Car drawings ala Lynda Barry
      5. EX: create a wordless comic
  9. American Born Chinese – Multimodality, Image-text interaction
    1. Interview with Gene Yang (2013) Link and video here

    2. My page on Multimodality (scroll down on link)

    3. EX: Analyze/annotate page from ABC
    4. Readings
      1. Dan Clowes Mr. Wonderful
      2. Jared Gardner on ABC
      3. Gene Yang Secret Origin
      4. Aaron Humphrey article on Multimodality
  10. American Born Chinese 2
    1. EX: analysis of page from Clowes and Humphrey
    2. EX: Cartoon-you
    3. Review materials for visual analysis….
  11. The Best We Could Do – Visit with Thi Bui!
    1. EX: analyze/annotate page from TBWCD
  12. The Best We Could Do 2
  13. Persepolis (film)
    1. Visual analysis due
  14. Persepolis 2 – Film/book
    1. EX: Analyze/annotate page from Persepolis
    2. Readings: various Persepolis essays
  15. Persepolis 3
    1. EX: Sketchnote of Persepolis articles
    2. EX: Satrapi-you!
  16. Watchmen 1
    1. Analyze/annotate page from Watchmen
    2. Readings – comics bio of Moore
  17. Watchmen 2 Time
    1. Analyze/annotate a page from either Ch 4 or Ch 9 of Watchmen (dealing with time)
    2. Readings
      1. READ Bernard & Carter Alan Moore & The Graphic Novel: Confronting the Fourth Dimension
      2. Moore & Gibbons’ short Chronocop
  18. Watchmen 3
    1. Watchmen podcasts and annotation websites
      1. Under the Hood Podcast
      2. Video with comics author Kieron Gillen discussing Watchmen
      3.  Watchmen Annotations (there used to be more of these on the internet, sites seem to be disappearing)
    2. Midterm assigned!
  19. Watchmen 4 – on grids, symbols, pirate comic, and more…
    1. Article on possible permutations of 9-panel grids
    2. EX: Sketchnote and 3 questions about Watchmen
    3. Tintin – Red Rackham’s treasure
      1. EX: Sketchnote, observations about TinTin
    4. EX: Tintin/Dave Gibbons-ify yourself
  20. Epileptic & Graphic Medicine (w/special guest Frederik Køhlert)
    1. EX: Analyze/annotate page from Epileptic
    2. Midterm
    3. Graphic Medicine website
    4. page devoted to Graphic Medicine on my site
  21. Epileptic 2 – more graphic medicine
    1. Readings – graphic medicine websites
  22. Day 23 – Manga (Walking Man)
    1. Reading – Walking Man
    2. EX: Analyze/annotate page from Walking Man
  23. Manga 2 – discussion prompted by students
    1. EX: Final Project Proposals
  24. March
    1. EX: analyze/annotate page from March
  25. March 2
    1. Readings
      1. MLK Comic
      2. READ: this article on the origins of the MLK comic that led to the creation of March
      3. Also READ: Shorter article on origin of the MLK comic
      4. WATCH: Short video on Origin of MLK Comic
      5. MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail
    2. EX: Questions about March
  26. Ms Marvel
    1. EX: Mini-analysis and sketchnote of Ms. Marvel
  27. Ms Marvel 2
    1. Readings
      1. Michael Chabon’s Secret Skin in the New Yorker – have a look!
      2. Ronald Wimberly’s visual essay on “lightening up” skin color in comics
    2. EX: Super-You!
  28. Penultimate Day – recap!
  29. Final Class – share projects with everyone!
    Example final project Sam Wilkinson’s Comic about Alzheimer’s and his Grandmother