ENG 624 (Genre Studies): Comics, Graphic Novels, and Culture
Dr. Robert Rozema
6:00 pm - 9:20 pm TR
Eberhard Center 420
In its relatively short lifespan, the medium of comics has earned both critical and popular acclaim, addressed a range of serious subjects, and developed its own visual grammar and narrative conventions. This course will focus on both iconic and lesser-known works of the comics medium, situating them within a comic studies approach that challenges the distinction between high and low culture. Students will learn to recognize the formal elements of comics, consider the possibilities and limitations of this new narrative medium, critique the representation of race, class, and gender within comics, and write critical responses to comics in both print and visual media.
Some key questions we’ll try to answer:
• What are comics?
• What are the constitutive elements of comics?
• Why and how have comics emerged as a medium over the past 100 years?
• What works constitute the graphic canon, and how have these works gained their status?
• As a relatively new means of narrative, what are the limits and possibilities of the comics medium?
• What are the possibilities and problems of representing race, class, and gender in comics?
• What genres and subgenres exist within the comics medium?
• What is comics studies? How do comics studies scholars write about comics?
• What position do comics and graphic novels occupy in contemporary culture, both locally and globally?