Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Response to Jessica:

Question: Would you be open to being taught through comics in a classroom? Do you think it would make students more motivated to do their work?

First of all, I'm glad you got to go to Chicago! That's where I'm from, it's an amazing city that I miss terribly!

And to get to your question, there is an amazing "Understanding the Graphic Novel" class here at MCLA taught by Annie Raskin. It debunked EVERYTHING that I thought I knew about comic books, or "graphic novels."

In truth, comics in the literal, popular sense (superhero) may be geared towards men, but graphic novels can be scholarly, and are geared towards everyone. We read several that made me realize I had completely underestimated graphic novels and comics as a medium. There are subtle hints in the images that are important to realize. As an English major, I tended to only read the bubbles, but I was missing out on so much. The class helped me realize that everything in a comic and graphic novel is there for a reason. It taught me to read much more closely, and pay much more attention.

Prose does get boring, and I think graphic novels should surely be employed in the classroom. We read Maus, which was about the Holocaust. Such a novel not only taught me more about the holocaust, but the medium made it that much more interesting.

i strongly believe in the power of graphic novels in a classroom. There are so many quality, scholarly ones that go above and beyond what people traditionally think of "comic" and they could be a welcome break from prose in any classroom. I think students would undoubtedly read them, very closely, and get a lot out of it.

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