Prof: Paul Watkins
Location: Nanaimo 345, classroom 208
Class Hours: Mondays 1-3:50 pm
Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 1 pm -2:20 pm
Phone: Ext. 2118
Office: 359, 101
Did your mother ever tear up your comic books? Did you ever receive warnings about how comic books were going to ruin your mind? Were you given lectures about how comics were cheap trash put out by evil men?
English 390 will investigate intersections between word and image in an emergent genre loosely defined as “graphic memoir,” or what others have called “autographics” (Gillian Whitlock), “graphic narrative” (Hilary Chute), or “Graphic-Novel-Memoir” (David Itzcoff). Along the way, we will ask questions about how graphic texts test the limits of literature and memoir, and we will explore the close relationship between popular culture and art. Students will share their own experiences with graphic texts and there will be a creative intervention project. We will also tweet our responses as we read/watch/listen using the hashtag #English390.
- Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
- Maus by Art Spiegelman
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
- Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography by Chester Brown
- March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Amazon)
Short Essay 1 (750-1000 words) 10%
Short Essay 2 (1000-1250 words) 15%
Creative Intervention (w/ 500 word write up) 15%
Research Essay (2500-3000 words) 30%
Final Exam 25%
See paper copy of syllabus for detailed breakdowns of assignments.
Please note that this schedule is subject to change as the term progresses.
Introduction; course outline; standards and expectations; show and tell
- Rolling Stone, The 50 Best Non-Superhero Graphic Novels
- Doctoral dissertation in graphic novel form
- “Alan Moore attacks Frank Miller in comic book war of words”
- “Margaret Atwood is working on her first graphic novel series”
Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics
- Scott McCloud’s homepage
- TED Talk by McCloud on “The Visual Magic of Comics“
- 2000 interview with Scott McCloud.
- 2003 Interview with Scott McCloud
- 2007 Interview with Scott McCloud
- Blog post by on McCloud’s Understanding Comics
- “Talking Comics with Scott McCloud”
- “On the Problem of Form” by Kandinsky
- Read “Inventing Comics” by Dylan Horrocks
- On Osamu Tezuka
- Doctor Who on Time.
- Comic for Blind People
Art Spiegelman, Maus (I: My Father Bleeds History)
- Read Jonathan Kincade’s “Art Spiegelman’s Maus” on D2L
- Read Rosemary V. Hathaway’s “Reading Art Spiegelman’s Maus as Postmodern Ethnography” on D2L
- Audio: Of ‘Maus’ and Spiegelman
- Why Mice?
Art Spiegelman, Maus (II: And Here My Trouble Began)
Short Essay 1 due
- “Life After Maus“
- “Art Spiegelman Breaks His Silence on Israel“
- “Legendary Cartoonist Robert Crumb on the Massacre in Paris“
- “‘Cartoonist Lives Matter’: Art Spiegelman Responds to Charlie Hebdo Attack, Power of Cartoons”
- “Art Spiegelman: Je Suis Charlie“
- “An Open Letter to Art Spiegelman by Kim O’Connor”
- “Charlie Hebdo Is Heroic and Racist“
No Class. Thanksgiving.
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis (pages 1-188); Start Persepolis film
- “Marjane Satrapi: On Artistic Freedom, Fame & Finishing No Matter What”
- 2004 interview with Marjane Satrapi
- 2008 interview with Satrapi
- “Marjane Satrapi: Princess of darkness“
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis (pages 189-341); finish Persepolis film
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
Chester Brown, Louis Riel (Part One and Two)
Short Essay 2 due
No class. Remembrance Day.
Chester Brown, Louis Riel (Part Three and Four)
Read essay, “Redrawing nationalism” (on D2L)
Creative Intervention due
Lewis, March (Books 1 and 2)
Lewis, March (Book 3)
Research Essay Due
- Short Article, “John Lewis and the Cycle of Racism in the United States“
- “21 Illustrated Books for African American History Month”
- “10 Baadasss Graphic Novel Super Sistas“
- “Nas-inspired ‘Tephlon Funk‘”