Comic Books and Picture Books Essay
Comic books are also known as funny books or comic magazines that service both the young generation and also the old. Comic books contain different and individual scenes that are followed by dialog and also prose that are descriptive. Comics made the first appearance in the early 1934 in the United States though this was a reprinting of the earlier copies of comic strips. The reprinting of the strips into a general book earned the combined comic strips the term comic book. The comic book “prisoners of the sun: the adventures of Tintin is one example of the comic books and is a result of many comic strips that have been brought together to create a book (Doonan, 1993).
Modern comic books do not always give humorous stories but vary in genre. Majority of comic books in the United States and also in China are in the category of comic books that do not always offer humor. There are many genres under which comic books fall. Such examples include superhero comics such as wonder woman, X-men, Spiderman among others, adventure comics; some depict action, war and other stories. In Japan, Manga comics are very popular (Barry, Abel & Madden, 2008). Other genres of comics include science fiction comic books and fantasy books. In the science fiction comic books they have characters that are portrayed in a futuristic setting whereby there is advancement in technology and many times are seen to travel through time and space. Fantasy comics as the word suggests involving having mythological and fantasy creatures. The Conan Barbarian series is fantasy comic book. The horror comic books also as the title suggests have creatures such as zombies, vampires among other frightening creatures. The adventure comic books contain real-life characters such as detectives and police persons in battles against offenders. There are also romance comic books that mainly focus on the older generation as they are filled with themes of relationships and love.
Picture books mainly aim at the older generation and also the young children as they are a combination of both visual and also verbal narratives. The major characteristics of picture books are that they aim at different age sectors. Those that are specifically for children have words that children can understand but cannot read. In this case the parent reads to the child before the child can learn to read by itself. Picture books for young children have also termed board books as they are covered by cardboards for durability when the child plays with the book. Other categories also target the older children and picture books such as the “Tibet through the red box” is an example that targets the older generation (Doonan, 1993).
In picture books there is a balance between the pictures and also the words but the pictures usually have a much deeper effect than the words. Just as the comic books there are different kinds of genres into which picture books can be categorized into. They include the magic realism, literature that is usually in most cases traditional, animal stories or what can be termed as anthropomorphic. The picture books also have a category of non-fictional books.
The similarities of both the comic books and the picture books are that they both entail having sequential pictures. The sequential part of both books makes it easy to tell a story from the pictures. Another similarity between the two is that they both involve words other than the exceptional comic and picture books that are wordless. Among the main difference between the comic and picture books is the number of pictures that are found on a single page. Comics also are able to show the invisible or nonverbal link in characters through elements such as speech balloons and sound effects. They also both have different categories into which they can be classified. There are similarities in these categories such as nonfictional books which have real characters, magic realism where there are fantasy creatures and environments among others (Barry, Abel & Madden, 2008).
It would not prove wise to translate the comic Herge’s Prisoners of the Sun into a picture book for a variety of reasons. There is a need for high reading competency in the 21 st century as this happens to be visual culture. Comic books such as Herge’s Prisoners of the Sun give a fine representation of printed words and pictures, a unique combination that allows the reader to have an understanding of the sequence of activities and also the ability to interpret the nonverbal gestures. In the information society the comics are part of the print media. Comics offer a pervasive and influential media form as part of a popular culture. To prove that there is great interest in comics there have been several conferences held. There have been conferences and seminars such as the International Conference on Graphical novel that was held at the University of Massachusetts in 1998 and the Annual Conference on Comics at the University of Florida in 2000. According to Edmunds (page 1) although comic books offer recreational reading they are also very useful in art and literature and are thus finding their way into classrooms. According to Barry (1997, pages 75-78) images communicate more deeply than words. In comic books where there is a combination of both words and pictures or illustrations, words become secondary to pictures. It would thus not prove effective if comic books were converted into picture books. This is because of the need to cultivate the reading culture among all generations. Also it includes developing a child’s reading skills if he or she can interpret the nonverbal gestures and words. Comics offer more pictures and illustrations than picture books. It would thus prove very important to have the comic books rather than convert them into picture books.
It therefore remains that converting comic books such as the Herge’s Prisoners of the Sun that have held interest in many people into picture n books might not have the best effect as anticipated. For comic books to be seen as a success it means that it either has critics who have taken notice of the book or it has massive followers (Doonan, 1993). A classic comic book such as the Herge’s Prisoners of the Sun started as a comic strip before it was reprinted again into a book which is now known as Herge’s Prisoners of the Sun comic book. It holds an era in terms of people who can relate to it.
Comic books on the other hand create a new teaching era whereby they are used as supplements in classes. This is because they can hold the young reader’s attention for long as they incorporate the pictures and also the words. It also helps the reader to interpret the nonverbal gestures which are very critical in the 21 st century.
It therefore remains that converting classic comic books such as Herge’s Prisoners of the Sun would not result in any success. It would be just another picture book that does not reach out to many people. In the categories of which comic books can be generalized, converting the comic book into a picture book would decrease the genres into which comic books can be generalized or be classified.
Barry, L. Abel, J. & Madden, M. (2008). The Best American Comics. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin press.
Doonan, J. (1993). Looking at pictures in picture books . South Woodchester, GB: Thimble press.
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The Question of Literature and Why Comic Books Deserve to be Classified as Such
How many books do you read a year?
This is a question that is frequently asked by voracious readers whenever they feel the need to see if a person is reading as much as they should be. It is also a question that is followed by a softened yet insecure response in which the secondary person replies by saying something like ‘ I do not have any time to read ’. To which the first person will respond by saying ‘ well if you ever do have time be sure to check out’ , and then they will proceed to list a number of books that themselves enjoyed. However, every once and awhile such a question is answered by a person who will say something like ‘ I haven’t read any books but I have read a few graphic novels that I really liked’ , and if the person who asked the question is ignorant to such things, which, let’s face it, most of the time they are, then that person will say something like ‘comic books aren’t really books’ . And upon hearing such a response comic readers will immediately clench their fists and try with every ounce of strength not to unleash rage like Batman does whenever he is confronted with an oppressive foe. And yet despite this difference of opinion, an important question is nonetheless raised amongst the literary community and that is: are comic books considered literature, or, more specifically so, what constitutes a work- any work –to be considered as literary in the first place and what does the term “literature” really mean?
When Stephen King was awarded the National Book Award for his contribution to American literature a number of critics quickly came forth to express their disapproval in regards to the best-selling author’s work being placed in the same category as the great literary geniuses that came before him. Now their reasoning for this opinion revolved around the belief that genre writing like crime, horror, and fantasy does not possess the same posterity as literary fiction, and after hearing the claims for literary critics and scholars other writers immediately voiced their own thoughts and expressed that while everyone is indeed entitled their own opinion, Mr. King’s work is worthy of such classification and thus his work should be deemed as equally important as those who are considered great literary authors.
A similar stance was also taken when the comic series Watchmen was released in the 1980s. People were hesitant to believe that a comic book could contain literary elements, and yet as soon as new readers were given the opportunity to examine the comic’s themes, sequences, and ideas they quickly began to see that the American comic was something more than they previously thought it to be, and if Watchmen was capable of elevating itself into a more literary form writing, then it, as well as others like it, could also fulfill the criteria that classified certain books as literature.
However, a notable characteristic when assessing any art form is the skill that the writer or artist possesses. In essence, how well a book is perceived, how much depth and attention it gives to its characters, and the quality of the prose the author creates when he or she is writing. These are the traditional aspects of literary classification and yet they are neither mandatory nor binding, for novels like Point Omega by Don Dellilo, Freedomland by Jonathan Franzen, and science fiction epics like Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein do not necessarily have more attractive prose than writers like Cormac McCarthy, Michael Chabon, and David Foster Wallace, and yet they are still considered to be literature. Why?
If one were to continue to break down the criteria by which books are classified as literature one would inevitably discover that they are assessed based on what the novels’ intentions are and what is attempting to say about the world, if it is in fact trying to say anything at all. The bookshelves are brimming with works that meet these criteria, but not only with novels but also within the realm of graphic novels as well. And the reason for this is not because of the inclusion of the greats like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, but also because of the overwhelming number of new comics that are being released with deep meaning and that include grand implications capable of rivaling the same themes and principles featured in novels by the great literary minds of today’s generation.
Take for example the book Y: The Last Man, a comic written by industry legend Brian K. Vaughn and artist, Pia Guerra. The story centered on the simple question of what would really happen to the last man on earth? The question, although briefly answered in other works, did not rise to the degree that was featured in Y and the reason for this came as a result of Mr. Vaughn and Mrs. Guerra thinking about the grander implications behind a question of this magnitude and sought to answer it in a way only great writers and artists could: with integrity and intelligence. Y: The Last Man was eventually met with overwhelming critical claim and was praised by writers who worked outside the comic industry as well, with Stephen King calling it one of the greatest comics he has ever read. Now, although Y: The Last Man is but one comic it still represents how comics have been gaining notoriety and emphasizing how artists can create stories that discuss contemporary issues and build narratives that are just as well conceived as anything else, and this does not stop with Y . Innumerable comics have been released that also fit into this category, some of which include: Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, The Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, and finally the high-intensity police drama featured in Gotham City, Gotham Central by Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, and Michael Lark. These are just some of the many books that are set in the world of superheroes and provide stories that discuss highly relevant topics and challenge the status quo in the same ways that literary authors do.
They are the books trying to make a difference.
And if one were to analyze all the information provided in this article one would see that comic books are worthy to be treated as literature for they strive for the same goals as that which is set by other writers and artists, and whether people agree with this or not, it is impossible to deny that the books themselves are built on the same principles of creativity and ask the same questions to its readers: why and how? The goal of literature has always been to achieve posterity; the ability to create work that has the ability to last and sustain, and while comics do contain characters that are essentially guaranteed to accomplish such a task, the potential they possess is ever-changing, always building and always growing and hopefully, in the years to come, they will continue to do so and bring about bright changes to the industry and elevate the medium to a new level entirely.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jarrett Mazza is a writer and teacher living in Canada. He attended Wilfrid Laurier University and received an Honours Bachelor’s Degree in English and Contemporary Studies as well as a Bachelor of Education from the prestigious Schulich School of Education. He is now in the process of earning an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in Vermont. He has been fascinated by superheroes and stories for as long as he can remember and studied comic book writing and sequential storytelling from industry professionals Ty Templeton and Andy Schmidt. When he is not self-publishing his own comic books, he is working on his thesis novel, submitting short stories to publishers, obsessing about geek fandom, and looking for new things to read and write.
See more, including free online content, on Jarrett Mazza's author page .
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Introduction to Comics Studies
By NASRULLAH MAMBROL on October 22, 2017 • ( 1 )
Although both film and comics in their currently recognized forms emerged in the nineteenth century, film acquired much earlier critical academic recognition, even though as early as the 1830s the comic strip began to distinguish itself from already established fields of printmaking and caricature. Despite its being the older medium, the comic strip and its cultural significance have only recently begun to be appreciated in academic studies. As a result, the relatively recent rise in comics studies and comics scholarship has led to a number of different debates concerning origins and seminal influences and sources. While some scholars credit Rodolphe Töpffer (1799-1846), others cite the origins of the comic strip with either George Cruikshank (1792-1878) or William Hogarth (1679-1764), the latter’s narrative cycle The Rake’s Progress being offered as a prototype of the comic strip. Other comics scholars have, more radically, assigned the origin of the comic strip to the Bayeux Tapestries (1077), produced after the Norman conquest of Anglo-Saxon England eleven years earlier. There is, though, no absolutely agreed starting point. This article will focus on the development and reception of, briefly, the comic strip, and subsequently the comic book, in the United States through the twentieth century.
Comic strips preceded the comic book in North America, but publishers soon realized the potential of reprinting strips in comic book form. The once widely held view that R. F. Outcault (1863-1928) created what was recognized as the first modern American comic strip with The Yellow Kid (1895) is now discredited, even though Outcault ‘s creation, The Yellow Kid , was a hugely popular phenomenon of its time, boosting newspaper sales in which the comic appeared. Amongst scholars of the comic strip, the first American comic book proper is now generally considered to be Funnies on Parade (1933), which was not produced specifically as a comic book, but was reprinted from already published newspaper strips. The early twentieth century was a particularly fruitful period for comic strips: Windsor McCay ‘s Little Nemo (1904-13, revived briefly in 1924) and George Herriman’s Krazy Kat (1916-44) are discussed in almost every scholarly work on comic strips. By 1935, in the midst of the Depression , the comic book established itself as a medium of mass entertainment and communication. As a result, comic-book reproduction of previously printed material in newspapers and magazines was superseded by the regular publication of original material. Soon afterwards, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster ‘s Superman opened the floodgates of superhero comics in Action Comics #1 (1938) . The ‘Golden Age’ of comic books, a term developed by the collectors’ market, continues from around this time until the early 1950s and has been the subject of much amateur, trade and academic writing over the years.
The number of popular books published about Superman , Batman and other superhero icons born in the Golden Age is, at an initial glance, overwhelming, but as yet, no definitive academic monograph on this period or any of its cartoonists has emerged. The first critical commentaries contemporaneous with the first half of the twentieth century and its comics output were generally less than favourable, tending to dismiss the field as harmful at worst or vapid at best. Favourable criticism was limited to arguments that a specific strip or book was an exception to the rule. Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester ‘s Arguing Comics (2004) recovers such ‘lost’ criticism, sampling articles from 1895 through to the early 1960s. The most negative and damaging critical attack on comics was Fredric Wertham ‘s Seduction of the Innocent (1954). Presently out of print, it was of great significance both at the time of its publication and subsequently, in that it brought about comics’ self-censorship via the institution of the Comics Code Authority (CCA). As a result comic books established in the genres of horror and crime narrative were occasionally forced out of business. EC Comics , the best-regarded of the Horror and Crime comics publishers, all but went under, surviving only in the form of Harvey Kurtzman ‘s Mad Magazine . Around the same time at the end of the 1950s, fanzines began to appear, discussing and defending comics, as well as serving to establish art and writing credits (most comic books being, up to this time, uncredited). The turmoil caused by the Comics Code did not have any substantial impact on what are known as ‘funny animal’ comics, one of the medium’s most enduring and best selling genres. Little critical attention has been paid to these comics, or their greatest talent, Carl Barks . After the institution of the Comics Code, the Silver Age of Comics begins, characterized by Spiderman and the X-Men , and given their most significant and inventive interpreters in artist Jack Kirby and editor/writer Stan Lee.
By the end of the 1950s, scholarship on comic strips and comic books had begun to develop in North American universities, even though publication of articles was not modern north american criticism and theory forthcoming. Sol Davidson earned his Ph.D. with a thousand-page dissertation on comics (the first on the subject in the US) in 1959, but no academic books on comics would appear until the 1970s. The underground comics of the 1960s and 1970s varied as widely in quality as they did in distribution, but they contained elements that opened doors for future work and scholarship: the countercultural impulse to break taboos, the artist-writer (already a staple of comic strips), and autobiographical elements. Robert Crumb is the most famous of the underground artists, and his mixture of self-loathing and extreme sexual candor has had a lasting influence. Visual art and design journal Graphis put out two issues, one on comic strips and one on comic books, in 1972. Out of print now, this is an early and key example of how to bring serious writing and lavish art reproductions together and is, in addition, one of the very few transatlantic works on comics.
Amongst the first monographs on comics are David Kunzle’s The Early Comic Strip: Picture Stories and Narrative Strips in the European Broadsheet from c.1450 to 1825 and the second volume, The History of the Comic Strip: The Nineteenth Century. Kunzle’s books offer histories and necessary cultural contextualization, while focusing exclusively on comic strips. The nineteenth-century volume is of particular interest, establishing the centrality to comic strip study of early innovators such as Topffer , Hogarth and George Cruikshank , and later popular caricaturists such as Amédée de Noé (Cham) , Wilhelm Busch and Léonce Petit – all of whose work appeared in popular magazines of the day, particularly Le Charivari, Punch and Fliegende Blatter . Out of necessity, Kunzle formulates a working definition of the comic strip as dominated by images rather than text and consisting of a sequence of images. However, while such a focus may be now considered as misplaced, Kunzle’s work did effect important changes. One of Kunzle’s key insights was to describe comics as mass-produced and topical, thereby anticipating the ‘cultural history’ genre of comics scholarship. Additionally, he established the necessity of taking the comic strip seriously as a field of academic inquiry, while also drawing attention to the lack of such interest. Furthermore, Kunzle’s groundbreaking publications more or less irreversibly exploded the fallacy that comic strips began in North America and are a uniquely North American art form. Since the publication of Kunzle’s work, there has been a great deal of debate as to whether it is primarily sequential images or the combination of text and image that defines comics, but his significance is not to be diminished.
At the same time as Kunzle’s work appeared in print, comics study made its first forays into the university classroom. In 1974, Donald Ault created a ‘Literature and Popular Culture’ course at the University of California, Berkeley, and was the first to include comic books as course readings, placing them alongside animated films, conventional literature and literary theory in the classroom. As a result chiefly of the initiatives of Kunzle and Ault , comics studies has emerged subsequently as a field over a period ironically in which comic book sales have continued to decline and comic strips are increasingly cramped for space. In such difficult times, post-underground comics have taken off in an increasing variety of directions, from Art Spiegelman ‘s avant-garde comic Raw to self-published ‘ground level’ comics and, in addition, to deliberately unpolished mini-comics.
Will Eisner ‘s groundbreaking A Contract With God (1979), is often incorrectly identified as ‘the first graphic novel’. It was neither the first graphic novel, nor was it properly a ‘novel’, being instead a collection of short stories. In retrospect such determinations merely reveal on the one hand the lack of academic awareness of the widespread extent of avant- garde and underground work already under way, and on the other, something which comic book readers had known for some time: that the comic book had already established itself, via counter-cultural means, as a serious aesthetic medium. This is not to diminish Eisner ‘s significance, however. Eisner did popularize the term ‘graphic novel’, his book proving a crucial turning-point in its being among the first works to reach a wider audience than hitherto. It drew attention to itself in being the work of a single author-artist (it is also, interestingly, semi-autobiographical), like much other underground material, and was intended from the start as a book, not just a comic, for distribution and sale primarily in bookstores, aimed at a general – though generally adult -audience.
Eisner followed this up with the seminal text Comics and Sequential Art (1985). There were already guides to cartooning technique, but Eisner ‘s book was broader in scope, conveying a lifetime’s experience about how to use the elements of the medium to achieve dramatic effect. The following year, collected editions were released of Frank Miller ‘s revisionist Batman tales , The Dark Knight Returns , Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons ‘s Watchmen and Spiegelman’s Maus , thereby consolidating previous work and establishing irrevocably the graphic novel as its own genre. This ‘holy trinity’ of comic books would result in the first of many furores over the ‘new’ comics, and all have subsequently become staples of academic teaching and research. Maus is taught in many Holocaust literature classes, while both it and Watchmen have become de rigeur for classes on comics as literature. All three have been the subject of many journal articles book chapters, but as yet none have received dedicated monographs.
A major entry into the field occurred in 1990 with the publication of M. Thomas Inge ‘s Comics as Culture and Joseph Witek’s Comic Books as History: The Narrative Art of Jack Jackson , Art Spiegelman, and Harvey Pekar . Comics as Culture anthologizes Inge ‘s essays, published between 1983 and 1990. Inge, who had studied under Eisner, persistently contextualized American comics, showing how specific writers and artists were influenced by works and cultural influences outside the field of comics and how they, in turn, influenced others, in counterpoint to often-insular fan and popular work. Witek, who had been one of Ault’s students, took an opposite tack, considering how Jackson, Spiegelman and Pekar depicted history in and through their work. Witek’s tightly focused monograph may be the first to consider a small number of comics in great detail, to offer close readings of the genre and, moreover, to give careful cultural and historical grounding to the narratives. Comics as Culture and Comic Books as History were the first Comics Studies titles published by the University Press of Mississippi , which has since become a major publisher of monographs, essay collections and interview books in the field.
The 1990s witnessed something of a tumult in the comic book industry, the meteoric rise and fall of Image Comics and the collapse of an over-inflated collector’s market being amongst the most notable phenomena. At the same time, there was a marked shift in critical interest, as a result, largely, of the influence of Scott McCloud ‘s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (1990) as readers started to be more interested in scholarship and the general public became more aware of comics. No book has done more to shape Comics Studies as a field, or readers’ perceptions of comics. From McCloud ‘s work, academic readers became more interested in the field as a scholarly concern, while a greater awareness of the comic book and graphic novel developed among the general reading public. Written entirely as a comic book, McCloud ‘s Understanding Comics is something of a sea-change. It takes Eisner’s definition of comics as ‘sequential art’ and founds a theory on that definition, making the ‘gutter’ or space between panels the single most important element in any comic. He follows from Kunzle and others in excluding single-panel cartoons and caricatures as ‘not comics’, providing a widely used typology of the transitions modern north american criticism and theory between panels. McCloud , not an academic himself, has drawn some fire from those who feel Understanding Comics is too proscriptive or lacks scholarly rigor. Nonetheless, virtually all books and papers on comics since have cited McCloud , even if only to refute him.
Robert C. Harvey’ s The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History (1994) and follow-up book The Art of the Comic Book (1996) are both published by a university press, though Harvey , like McCloud and Eisner, is not an academic but a professional comics creator. Harvey unapologetically focuses on the works he considers to be the best and most innovative, making his books more formal critiques than survey histories. Like McCloud , he takes a proscriptive stance, but his criterion for aesthetic and formal evaluation is governed by elements of verbal-visual blending. He favours comics where image and text are as complementary as possible and only allows for wordless or ‘pantomine’ comics as the exceptions that prove the rule.
One particular critical voice of note emerged during the 1990s from within the university: that of British academic Roger Sabin . His Adult Comics: An Introduction (1993) examines the origins of comics written for adults, both in and before the under-ground commix. It was written largely as a corrective to the idea that comics `grew up’ in the 1980s. Sabin draws examples from manga, bandes dessinees (French comics) and fumetti (Italian comics), but is mostly interested in Anglo-American comics. His follow-up book, Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels (1996), is a coffee-table book in a similar vein, though broader in scope. Here, Sabin made the case that British work generally leads rather than follows the American comics scene.
Sabin was not alone, however. By the mid-1990s, two major threads of Comics Scholarship had been established: cultural histories placing and contextualizing comics on the one hand and, on the other, explanatory theories of what the medium is and can do. Notably, writing in the field up to this point tends largely to be defensive, with many publications offering not only critical analysis but also acting as apologia: intent on establishing the bona fides of the field and its subject, showing why comic books are relevant and worth studying, and establishing that they are different from and not inferior to movies, novels and picture-books. As the decade proceeded, the number of academic works on comics increased dramatically and the amount of defensive manoeuvring decreased. By 1998, Amy Kyste Nyberg , typical of comics scholarship at the end of the decade, could produce Seal of Approval: The History of the Comics Code, speaking of the much-reviled CCA as a forerunner to other industry self-regulation, such as the MPAA movie ratings. Similarly, Ian Gordon , in Comic Strips and Consumer Culture, 1890-1945 (1998), was free to focus on consumer culture and merchandising as a driving force behind comic strips, ignoring many of the most renowned strips.
The turn of the century witnessed a redoubling of the volume and scope of Comics Studies. It also attracted scholars from other fields with an interest in the subject. David Carrier , for example, brought his background as an analytic philosopher and an art historian to The Aesthetics of Comics (2000). Bradford D. Wright compared Golden and Silver Age comics to American culture more broadly perceived in Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America (2001). The work of these two men is noteworthy for particular reasons. Carrier’s text offers an explanatory theory most notable for giving credibility to the comparison between Honore Daumier ‘s caricatures and other work by `fine’ artists and that of comics; Wright, on the other hand, offers a cultural history that combines extensive cultural analysis grounded in a sense of the historical specificity of popular national identity in the US as this is mediated in the singular form of the comic.
In the first years of the twenty-first century, the breadth and diversity of disciplinary approaches to comics studies has increased markedly, with works applying techniques from the areas of Cultural Studies , Film Studies and Postcolonial Studies . Geoff Klock ‘s How to Read Superhero Comics and Why (2002) applies Harold Bloom ‘s theory of the anxiety of influence to comics, and Neil Cohn ‘s self-published work (2002-present), departing from McCloud ‘s work, argues that there is a sentence-like grammar to the comic strip or page and that visual elements can be ‘read’. At present, there are no clear divisions among comics scholars, though the emergence of one or more dominant ‘schools’ of comics studies seems likely. There is, though, increasing availability of, and ease of access to, source material and institutional support for those working in the field. The first academic journal devoted to comics studies, Inks: Cartoon and Comic Art Studies (1994-7), was of great significance to the field, only to disappear after three years, leaving a void not filled until 1999 by John Lent ‘s The International Journal of Comic Art (IJOCA), notable for its proactive internationalism. In 2004, Donald Ault inaugurated ImageTexT , an e-journal for comics and animation studies that places an emphasis on theoretical reflection on and intervention into the field, as the necessary means of producing rigorous analysis from a multidisciplinary base. In 2002 M. Todd Hignite ‘s Comic Art emerged as a serious trade publication that welcomed academic input. The other serious trade magazine, Gary Groth ‘s The Comics Journal (1977-present) has, unfortunately, traditionally been skeptical of academics and academic writing.
University libraries are expanding their holdings in comics, particularly Michigan State University, whose collection of comics may exceed that of the Library of Congress. Bowling Green State University and the University of California , Riverside also have large collections. Masters and doctoral tracks in Comics Studies have been introduced at the University of Florida (UF), and the library there is expanding its holdings in comics. The University of Mississippi Press is putting out a series of interview books with notable comics creators and animators, including Robert Crumb , Carl Barks , Charles M. Schulz and Milton Caniff . Forums for comics scholarship are well established: the Comics Arts Conference at the San Diego Comic-Con has been going since 1992 and the International Comics Art Fest since 1996. The UF Conference on Comics is fifteen years old and the Pop Culture Association/ American Culture Association has an Area Chair for Comics .
Increasingly specialized works are being put out by popular presses, including Patrick Rosencranz ‘s definitive work on the Underground Comics Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975 (2002) and Trina Robbins ‘s books on many aspects of women and comics, including most recently, The Great Women Cartoonists (2001). Academic publications are likewise becoming more focused, as with Jeffrey A. Brown ‘s press-specific look at race in comics: Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics and their Fans (2001). In recent years there has also been a steady growth in the market for ‘alternative’ comics, `zines’, mini-comics and graphic novels, against a continued decline in sales of `mainstream’ comics. Charles Hatfield ‘s Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature (2005) describes these phenomena and links alternative comics to the underground comix, while Daniel Raeburn ‘s Chris Ware (2004) takes a fine-art approach to Ware’s comics, design and objects d’art. As a field, Comics Studies has grown to embrace galley exhibitions and counter-culture(s), art history, cultural studies and the gap between old and new media. Thus, both in the university and beyond, comics studies has developed, often despite prejudice and in unexpected ways, and shows every sign of continuing to do so.
Sourcce: Modern North American Criticism and Theory A Critical Guide Edited by Julian Wolfreys Edinburgh University Press 2002
Further reading and works cited Barker, M. A Haunt of Fears: The Strange History of the British Horror Comics Campaign. Jackson, MS,1984. Brown, J. A. Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics and their Fans. Jackson, MS, 2001. Carrier, D. The Aesthetics of Comics. University Park, PA, 2000. Cohn, N. Early Writings on Visual Language. Carlsbad, CA, 2003. Dowd, D. B. and Hignite, M. T. (eds) The Rubber Frame: Essays in Culture and Comics. St Louis, MI, 2004. Eisner, W. Comics and Sequential Art. Tamarack, FL, 1985. Ð. Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative. Tamarack, FL, 1996. ÐÐ. A Contract with God. Tamarack, FL, 1979. Fingeroth, D. Superman on the Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us about Ourselves and our Society. New York, 2004. Gordon, I. Comic Strips and Consumer Culture, 1890±1945. Washington, DC, 1998. Groth, G. and Fiore, R. (eds) The New Comics. New York, 1988. Hatfield, C. Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature. Jackson, 2005. Harvey, R. C. The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History. Jackson, MS, 1994. Ð. The Art of the Comic Book: An Aesthetic History. Jackson, MS, 1996. Heer, J. and Worcester, K. (eds) Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium. Jackson, MS, 2004. Herdeg, W. and Pascal, D. (eds) Comics: The Art of The Comic Strip. Zurich, 1972. Jones, G. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book. New York, 2004. Klock, G. How to Read Superhero Comics and Why. New York, 2002. Kunzle, D. The Early Comic Strip: Picture Stories and Narrative Strips in the European Broadsheet from c.1450 to 1825. Berkeley, CA, 1973. Ð. The History of the Comic Strip: The Nineteenth Century. Berkeley, CA, 1990. Juno, A. (ed.) Dangerous Drawings: Interviews with Comix and Graphix Artists. New York, 1997. McAllister, M. P. et al. (eds) Comics and Ideology. New York, 2001. McCloud, S. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. Northampton, MA, 1993. Ð. Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form. New York, 2000. Nyeberg, A. K. Seal of Approval: The History of the Comics Code. Jackson, MS, 1998. Phelps, D. Reading the Funnies. Seattle, WA, 2001. Raeburn, D. Chris Ware. New Haven, CT, 2004. Robbins, T. The Great Women Superheroes. Northampton, MA, 1996. Ð. From Girls to Grrlz: A History of Women’s Comics from Teens to Zines. San Francisco, 1999. Ð. The Great Women Cartoonists. New York, 2001. Rosenkranz, P. Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution 1963±1975. Seattle, 2002. Sabin, R. Adult Comics: An Introduction. New York, 1993. Ð. Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels. New York, 1996. Schutz, D. and Kitchen, D. (eds) Will Eisner’s Shop Talk. Milwaukie, OR, 2001. Thomas, I. M. Comics as Culture. Jackson, MS, 2000. Varnum, R. and Gibbons, C. T. (eds) The Language of Comics: Word and Image. Jackson, MS, 2001. Wertham, F. Seduction of the Innocent. New York, 1954. Wiater, S. and Bissette, S. R. (eds) Comic Book Rebels: Conversations with the Creators of the New Comics. New York, 1993. Wright, B. D. Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America. Baltimore, MD, 2001.
Tags: A Contract With God , Action Comics , Adult Comics: An Introduction , Alan Moore , Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature , Amédée de Noé (Cham) , Amy Kyste Nyberg , Arguing Comics , Art Spiegelman , bandes dessinees , Batman , Bayeux Tapestries , Black Superheroes Milestone Comics and their Fans , Bradford D. Wright , Carl Barks , Charivari , Charles Hatfield , Charles M. Schulz , Chris Ware , Comic Art , Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America , Comic Books as History , Comic Strips and Consumer Culture , Comic Studies , Comics , Comics and Sequential Art , Comics as Culture , Comics Code , Comics Code Authority , Comics Comix and Graphic Novels , Cultural Studies , Daniel Raeburn , Dave Gibbons , David Carrier , David Kunzle , Donald Ault , EC Comics , Fliegende Blatter , Frank Miller , Fredric Wertham , Funnies on Parade , Gary Groth , Geoff Klock , George Cruikshank , George Herriman , Harold Bloom , Harvey Kurtzman , Harvey Pekar , he International Journal of Comic Art (IJOCA) , Honore Daumier , How to Read Superhero Comics and Why , Ian Gordon , ImageTexT , Inks: Cartoon and Comic Art Studies , Jack Jackson , Jeet Heer , Jeffrey A. Brown , Jerry Siegel , Joe Shuster , John Lent , Joseph Witek , Journal Graphis , Kent Worcester , Krazy Kat , Léonce Petit , Le Charivari Magazine , Library of Congress , Little Nemo , M. Thomas Inge , M. Todd Hignite , Mad Magazine , Maus , Milton Caniff , Neil Cohn , Patrick Rosencranz , Punch Magazine , R. F. Outcault , Raw , Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975 , Robert C. Harvey , Robert Crumb , Rodolphe Töpffer , Roger Sabin , Seal of Approval: The History of the Comics Code , Seduction of the Innocent , Sol Davidson , Superman , The Aesthetics of Comics , The Art of the Comic Book , The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History , The Comics Journal , The Dark Knight Returns , The Early Comic Strip: Picture Stories and Narrative Strips in the European Broadsheet , The Early Comic Strip: Picture Stories and Narrative Strips in the European Broadsheet from c.1450 to 1825 , The Great Women Cartoonists , The History of the Comic Strip: The Nineteenth Century , The Rake's Progress , The Yellow Kid , Trina Robbins , Underground Comics , Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art , University of California , Watchmen , Will Eisner , William Hogarth , X-Men
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- Saturday, February 24, 2024
10 Tips for Writing an Extended Essay on Comic Books
Over the past few decades, comic books have emerged as an art form with a serious purpose and an adult audience. Today, thousands of comics are published in a variety of print and online formats. Consequently, a growing number of writers are producing extended essays in which they attempt to analyze and understand the complex world of comics and the audiences who consume them. However, the longer the essay, the more difficult it can be to sustain a good idea over many pages. In this post, we’ll look at ten tips for writing an extended essay on comic books to help you produce the best possible essay when you start writing about comics.
1. Read comics. It may serve to state the obvious, but you need to actually read comics in order to write about them. Before you begin your essay, start by reading the comics you are writing about. The more that you read, the more you will understand the overarching themes and ideas that animate the comics industry. If you don’t have time to read every issue, choose a representative sampling so you can get a sense of how the comic has changed over time.
2. Read what others have written. It’s important to know what other people have written about the same comics you’re writing about. There is no point in writing a massive essay only to discover that someone else has already written about the same topic. Instead, carefully review the literature so you can develop your own unique ideas.
3. Understand what is unique about comics. Comics are a unique art form, but it is important to understand what makes them different from other types of literature. Your essay should highlight these differences and adjust the theoretical underpinnings to account for the differences and to ensure that your explanatory analysis fits the topic.
4. Outline your essay. Before you start writing, begin with an outline. This will help you to stay on track and will also help to ensure that you are pacing out the main topics of your essay evenly across its length in order to sustain the reader’s interest. You don’t want to run out of ideas before you get to the end.
5. Collect your research before you write. Gather and organize your research before you start writing. By pulling out key quotes and developing your ideas about what information you’ll need and how to use it, you’ll be able to write more quickly and efficiently without stopping to gather more facts.
6. Save the introduction for the end. The introduction is often the most difficult part to write, especially if you aren’t entirely sure where your paper is going. If you save it until the end of the essay, you can create a more comprehensive and compelling introduction because you already know how the paper is going to end. That way you’ll be able to set the reader up to expect the ending you have coming for them.
7. Remember to request permission for illustrations. Comic book art is generally protected by copyright except for some older titles whose copyrights were not renewed on time or have expired. Always obtain permission from the copyright holder before reproducing any comic art in an essay to ensure that you stay on the right side of the law. While reproducing a single panel is often considered fair use, there are some companies that can be very litigious and many not see it that way. Save yourself legal fees by doing things the right way.
8. Take breaks as you write. > Writing an essay from start to finish in one sitting is a recipe for disaster. Avoid stress and keep your mind fresh by taking breaks between sections of the essay to give yourself a chance to rest and refresh.
9. Proofread carefully. It’s always a good idea to revise and proofread several times. The longer the essay, the more likely you are to miss something important after just one proofread. Try reading sentences in reverse order to give yourself a fresh perspective and catch lingering errors.
10. Seek out professional help. If all else fails and your extended essay isn’t quite coming together, look for someone who could provide you with professional essay writing help online to get you over the hump. There are many great pros online who are willing to help you develop your paper into the best it can be.
Geo, is the Guido of Greatness, the King of Comics and the Toa of Techies. Its not cool until Geo certifies it cool. He likes everything from Archie to WWE and everything in-between, as long as its funny, edgey, or over the top exciting.
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Forms and Contexts of Literary Studies
Senior Seminar 2021-2022
What exactly is a ‘comic’, anyways?
The funny thing about comics is that they’ve never been taken super seriously as a literary medium in critical conversation. The more ironic thing is that right now, the comic book as a medium is responsible for much of popular culture discourse — adaptations of comic books are leading Hollywood’s TV shows and movie spheres, from the likes of the DC TV shows on the CW to Marvel’s cinematic universe blockbusters. Comic books, usually when brought up evoke a very specific image as the Keywords for Comic Studies essay on the topic discusses. In the Jared Gardner essay, he goes over the various forms of publications that have been referred to as comic books throughout history. First were “autho-litographies” and other visual prints that were developed starting in the 1860s, and cartoons were regularly published in periodicals in that period. Newspaper comic reprints eventually took over as the dominant form of comics, with compilations later becoming the ‘comic book’. Eventually in the 1940s, after the Great Depression, superhero comics led the medium with the rise of Marvel and DC. Modern comics have now evolved a little, with superhero comics still leading the pack, other forms have become popular. Graphic novels are on the rise now, gaining in popularity outside of the Marvel/DC dominated landscape. A recent Washington Post article examines this popularity boom, noting that among young readers literary graphic novels were selling well (MacPherson). MacPherson also points out another interesting debate at the heart of comic books as a critical medium:
“Before we go any further, though, here’s another question at the heart of the matter: Should we call these books “comics” or “graphic novels”? Over the years, “comics” has become something of a pejorative, meaning a less-than-literary book played for laughs. “Graphic novel” sounds more highbrow, but it’s not always correct, given that many of these books now are memoirs and other kinds of nonfiction. In addition, some people still get tripped up by the multiple meanings of the word “graphic” (MacPherson).
The debate about taking comics seriously critically also comes into the terminology of what is a comic book, and if calling a comic a graphic novel makes it more acceptable as a literary work. Interestingly, American comics are also losing popularity. Eastern comic books, particularly Japanese manga are now regularly outselling American superhero comics for many reasons, as Stratos notes in a report that compiled reactions to this statement.
I personally find it a very interesting medium, and I think it deserves more critical and scholarly attention. Graphic novels, comics, manga etc. are now all rising in popularity for distinct reasons, dominating the cultural landscape somehow in conversation. Dismissing it would be a disservice and a failure on the literature academia world’s part to understand how this medium is thriving today. The debate about what constitutes a comic is an examinable one as well, and maybe part of the conversation about why critical conversation is lagging in discussing the medium.
Gardner, Jared, and Jared Gardner. “Comic Book.” Keywords, 1 Jan. 2021, keywords.nyupress.org/comics-studies/essay/comic-book/.
MacPherson, Karen. “Perspective | Don’t Be Afraid to Let Children Read Graphic Novels. They’re Real Books.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 28 Feb. 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/dont-be-afraid-to-let-children-read-graphic-novels-theyre-real-books/2020/02/27/ed374b92-4dd7-11ea-9b5c-eac5b16dafaa_story.html. Stratos. “Worldwide, Manga Is Outselling American Comics.” UltraMunch, 28 May 2021, ultramunch.com/worldwide-manga-is-outselling-american-comics/.
5 thoughts on “What exactly is a ‘comic’, anyways?”
Solongandthanksforallthefish, this was a super interesting read! As a huge consumer of this type of media, I have never thought of it in the context of literary studies. It is certainly worthy of critical consideration. I think that it would be really interesting to examine public reception of this genre throughout its existence. This avenue might provide some type of explanation as to why comics aren’t taken seriously. I wonder if there’s some unspoken affiliation to children’s books, illustrations, or something of that nature. I also think that there is so much at play that is worthy of analyzing. I am specifically thinking of Marvel and the gender and other power dynamics at play… I can’t wait to see where this takes you as you continue to dive in!
I do think there’s a valid point here you make about it being viewed in the context of children’s literature: I think pictures with text often tends to be thought of with children’s books and they are encouraged to move away from it as reading comprehension improves onto more ‘proper’ books. Given comics’ status as a pulpy medium in the past, where it was relegated to the realm of newspapers and nerdy comic book stores, it’s weird to see it be the basis for so much of our popular culture now! Societal perspective definitely seems to be more accepting now, but we still see people prefer the adaptations versus their original source comics (see the massive revenue difference for the MCU and how Marvel comics itself actually sell). I would love to see if there’s more on the historical changes and trends of how people view them!
This was very interesting. I would have loved to hear about why you think manga and anime are more popular than superheroes at the moment. Also, I am always intrigued about what it is exactly about superheroes that people marvel over. The overarching motif seems to be the good guys over evil specimens, or something like the goods struggle against the evil. Why is it that we as a society are so intrigued by this general motif?
You know, that’s a good point. I actually find it funny because manga/anime also focuses on a lot of good/evil conflict but is often criticized by Western audiences for being….too simple? Apparently, there is far more complexity in Western storytelling as far as morality goes, so when simpler good/evil plots are considered they are seen as childish (doubly more so with an animated medium often overlooked for being enjoyed only by children or ‘weird’ people in the past), or not nuanced.
I find that we don’t actually appreciate these simpler stories enough, and that sometimes morality just needs to be sold as is: shades of gray are just ruining a lot of stories by needlessly forcing a sordid tone and removing room for optimism. This is a great article on how this affects video games that I think works well for manga/anime and comics as well: https://www.polygon.com/2020/8/3/21352437/games-morality-last-of-of-us-bioshock-good-bad
Your first sentence reminded me of one of my classes this fall, about natural disasters Caribbean literature. The first book we read was a nonfiction novel about Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The second book was a graphic novel, about the same topic. We focused a lot on graphic novels being a great medium that is accessible to more people. For a few months now, I have been becoming more interested in graphic novels. Especially since many classics and novels have graphic novel adaptations, which validates your point about the irony of graphic novels not being taken seriously yet are the inspiration for much of our pop culture.
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Home — Essay Samples — Literature — Literature Review — Comic Books And The Movies
Comic Books and The Movies
- Categories: Literature Review
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Published: Feb 12, 2019
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Free Comic Book Essay Sample
For many people, comic books are just funny books read for fun. Some people even refer to comic art as a "traditionally low genre". As a matter of fact, very few people have realized the impact that this kind of fun and "traditionally low genre" literature can have in our society. In this research paper I look at the work of one of the most highly acclaimed comic artist - Art Spiegelman- and the impact that his work has had on communicating the serious themes of racism and alienation in society.
Comic books or comic artwork refers to magazines or pieces of art that contain cartoons or drawings that tell a narrative story. In such artwork, dialogue is incorporate in the artwork to help the reader to understand what is going on. This is done through the use of dialogue bubbles or captions. Descriptions of places and time are also done using words if they cannot be incorporated in the drawings. Like other continuous prose approaches to literature, comic works are divided in scenes and chapters.
Comics (as they are known in short) are used to tell a story and such a light approach to storytelling can have a profound impact on society. Many modern day writers and artists have employed the funny, entertaining and light-hearted approach that comic art tends to introduce as a form of literature to inform, educate and warn society on some of the difficult and serious issues like racism, political conflict and sexual harassment
This is the kind of communication that would have taken other genres of literature volumes and volumes of continuous prose to communicate. But still, many do not seem to appreciate the impact that this kind of literature can have in society.
A study of the work of Art Spiegelman
Art Spiegelman is an acclaimed and award winning comic artist, having written, edited and drawn many works of art related to comic art. However, Art Spiegelman is best known for his Pulitzer Prize winning comic work titled Maus (referring to the German word for mouse). In this biographical comic novel of his Polish Jewish father Vladek Spiegelman; Art Spiegelman depicts the German's as cats, the Jews as mice and the poles as pigs.
Art Spiegelman uses Maus to tell the story of his father, a survivor of the holocaust using interviews which are depicted in the form of comic art. In the comic, Art interviews his father over the years and his father tells him how the German policy changed in 1931 causing his well to do comfortable family to suffer in the hands of the Germans.
Comic art allows Art Spiegelman to use symbols in his book. For example, the use of the Cat to symbolize the Germans and the Mouse to symbolize the Jews clearly paints a picture of the situation of things at the time of Vladek Spiegelman. Just as the cat chases the mouse and the mouse remains afraid of the cat, the story of Vladek Spiegelman shows how the Germans were hunting and hurting the Jews and how the Jews remained in constant fear of the Germans.
In between interviews, Art Spiegelman depicts the state of life of Vladek's family, how they were well to do and how they had it all going on until the holocaust began. This kind of going back to the past to tell a story which would have been done in the form of a flashback in continuous prose is done easily in Art Spiegelman's work using comic art in different strips.
Art Spiegelman employs the use of irony in telling his father's story by depicting the fact that even after suffering in the hands of the Nazis, Vladek Spiegelman still remained racially prejudiced against people from the black community.
Art Spiegelman clarifies the absurdity of racism very easily in his comic. This he does by the fact that, even as he uses the mouse to represent the Jews, the cat to represent the Germans and other animals to represent other nationalities, races and religions, he ensures that the animals representing one particular race are all the same and look alike except for their clothes and a few other distinguishing factors. In this way Art Spiegelman seems to be leaving the reader of his comics with such questions in his mind as, "If there is nothing difference between us in the way we, the animals of the same race look, why then do we discriminate and alienate each other based on our ethnicity or other grounds?" And as far as discrimination between the races is concerned, the question in the reader's mind remains that of, " If we all look alike, why is it then that other people see us as being different?"
This depiction of all animals of the same race as being the same except for their clothes also illustrates how people create stereotypes towards certain races based on their experiences with only one person from that race. In the comic, just because one person is a pig or a bad person, the world creates stereotypes against his race and views all the other people belonging to that race as pigs, or bad people. If one person is bad then everybody in that race is bad, Art Spiegelman seems to illustrate.
The way Art Spiegelman uses different animals to represent different nationalities, races and religious can also be seen to depict the point that, being that we come from different backgrounds and different societies, it is definite that in one way or the other we really are different. However, the way Art Spiegelman uses other different kinds of animals can also mean that, inasmuch as we are all different, the bottom line remains that we are all animals. Or rather, the bottom line is that we are all still the same. We are all human beings.
The reduction of people to animals, the Germans to Cats, the Jews to Mice and the Poles to pig depicts just how the actions of the Nazis had reduced the whole world into a jungle and how degrading the whole holocaust was to the whole of the human race.
Art Spiegelman, instead of using the words of his father or his own words to tell the tale of his mother's suicide, comic art enables him to use the approach of telling a story within a story. This, Art Spiegelman does by introducing another comic book within his comic story. He calls the book Prisoner on the Hell Planet : A Case Story.
The way Art Spiegelman ensures that the art work does not stand alone but is explained by narratives, dialogue bubbles and captions turns comic art into the fullest type of literature. His depiction of society as it still is using his comic art leaves the critically analytical reader with nothing short of amazement at the nature of the society we live in. The truth is the words of a skilled writer or orator can be used to stand alone and tell a story. Another truth is that the drawing of a skillful artist can probably tell a story better than written words. Like a picture, that drawing is worth a thousand words. But when the two come together, the picture illustrating the situation as is, and the words depicting what the people are saying, that which cannot be expressed in the skill or art, a story then becomes complete. Literature is brought to actualization through the employment of comic art. The comics by Art Spiegelman genuinely cause the reader to reconsider comic art as a form of literature.
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How to Write a Comic Essay or Research Paper and Book Topics
- by Joseph Kenas
- January 19, 2024
A comic research paper is one of the most interesting topics if you are looking for a topic to write on. This is because a comic essay is an excellent way to present information in a fun and engaging way.
Comic research papers provide us with an insight into what has happened in the past and also what will happen in the future without monotony.
Writing a comic research paper can be a lot of fun. It is a way to get published as well as a chance to get a good grade.
However, the process of writing a comic research paper is not a straightforward as it sounds, since many students find it challenging. This blog will look at everything you need to know about a research paper.
What is a Comic Essay or Research Paper?
A comic research paper is a research paper that uses a graphic novel or a comic as a reference or as a source of information. In a comic research paper, the comic is the actual research paper. It is a way to present a thesis or a topic in a fun and unique way.
This means that a comic research paper requires a lot of research on the comic book or the comic topic. This requires concentration and a lot of time to be put into it.
It is a great way to get your point across in a fun and interesting way. People remember things if they are presented in a visual way.
A comic research paper can help you present your ideas in a way that your audience will not only remember, but will enjoy. It can be a great way to get your point across when you are talking to your professor.
Although a comic research paper is written in comic book form, it still needs to follow the same guidelines that a regular research paper does. However, it allows the writer to use more creativity.
When creating a comic research paper, you should start with the cover. The cover should give the reader an idea of the content of the paper.
The inside should have drawings, but it should also have the same elements as a regular research paper, which are an introduction, body, conclusion, and works cited.
How to write a Comic Essay or Research Paper
In the process of writing your comic research paper, you will need to select a topic, conduct research, learn about the research, and finally, write a comic book report.
Let’s go through the process in details
1. Come up with a Suitable Title
One of the most important parts of your comic research paper is choosing the right topic. In our guide on how to write a good research paper , we explained that coming up with a good topic is important for the whole process.
You want to pick something that is not only interesting to you but is also relevant to your topic and your audience.
You can choose to do a research paper on a comic book character, a comic book series, or a comic strip.
You can also choose to do a humorous cartoon, editorial cartoon, or comic book.
To come up with a good topic start reading the comics books so that you can know the scope.
ou will gain a better understanding of the overarching themes and ideas that drive the comics industry as you read more. It’s crucial to study what other people have written about the same comics you’re writing about.
Remember, the topic should be something that is interesting to you. You will be spending a lot of time on this research paper, so you should make sure that you enjoy the topic.
2. Do full Research before Writing
Before you begin writing, assemble and organize your research. You’ll be able to write faster and effectively without stopping to obtain new facts if you take out essential quotes and formulate your ideas about what information you’ll need and how to use it.
new collections and materials are being generated and enhanced every day to address the requirements of fans, scholars, collectors, and researchers. Therefore it is easier to find many internet resources that can help you in gathering your information.
3. Create an Outline
The next step is to make an outline before you begin writing. An outline will assist you to keep on track and guarantee that you are equally spacing out the main issues of your essay across its length to maintain the reader’s interest.
You don’t want to run out of ideas before finishing.
Just like in a normal research paper, an outline consist of an introduction, body, and conclusion.
In the body, you include all the topic sentences in the different paragraphs that you are planning to talk about.
An outline makes the paper easier to write.
4. Writing the Body
The body of a comic research paper is the main section of the research paper. It is where you will describe the comic or graphic novel that you have chosen.
You will also need to analyze the comic and explain the author’s purpose in creating the comic. In this section, you will explain why you selected the comic and what your analysis is of the comic itself.
In the body of your comic research paper, you will need to include a brief summary of the comic or graphic novel.
You will also need to explain the author’s purpose in creating the comic. In addition, you will need to explain the author’s message and what the comic is about.
5. Make use of a Citation Guide
When working with comic books, bibliographic references can be difficult. They combine elements of books and magazines. The main goal is to provide location information to help those looking for a cited source.
The inclusion of four essential aspects in a citation is critical: writer, artist, narrative title, and publication information. You can use an online style guide for citing comic books, which includes directions and examples.
6. Keep the Introduction Until Last
The introduction is typically the hardest element of a comic research paper to write, especially if you aren’t certain where your comic will lead.
You can write a more complete and appealing beginning if you reserve it till the end of the essay since you already know how the paper will end.
That approach will ensure you have an appealing introduction that will keep the readers hooked.
7. Carefully Proofread Your Work
It’s usually a good idea to go through your work with rested to revise and proofread it numerous times. After just one check, you’re more likely to miss something significant especially if your essay is long.
To gain a new perspective and spot lingering problems, try reading sentences in reverse order.
Another proofreading tip is to take intervals between sections of the essay to allow yourself an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate. This will help you avoid tension and keep your mind fresh.
8. Seek Expert Assistance
If everything else fails and your lengthy essay isn’t pulling together, turn for expert essay writing aid available on the internet to get you over the hurdle.
There are several excellent professionals available online who are eager to assist you in making your essay the finest it can be.
Best Comic Research Paper Topics
Comic books have not only entertained and educated readers in a quickly changing culture, but they have also documented and analyzed many historical, social, and current events.
Therefore, it is not that hard to find a good topic. Here are some.
- Comic Books Influence Children
- Comic Strip Super Powers
- Cases Of Fraud In The Business Place
- Home From School Comic Strips
- Holocaust Survivors Comic Book
- Motion Pictures Comic Book
- Comic Book Artist Comic Book Artist And Writer Berg
- Iron Fist Golden Age
Common Comic Books for Research Paper
- Sweet Tooth
- This One Summer
- Through The Woods
- My Favorite Thing Is Monsters
- Jimmy Corrigan
- Children’s and Young Adult Comics by Gwen Athene Tarbox
- Best American Comics Criticism by Ben Schwartz
- The Art of Comics
- Autobiographical Comics by Elisabeth El Refaie
Joseph is a freelance journalist and a part-time writer with a particular interest in the gig economy. He writes about schooling, college life, and changing trends in education. When not writing, Joseph is hiking or playing chess.
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Comic Books College Essays Samples For Students
21 samples of this type
While studying in college, you will definitely need to pen a lot of College Essays on Comic Books. Lucky you if linking words together and organizing them into meaningful content comes naturally to you; if it's not the case, you can save the day by finding a previously written Comic Books College Essay example and using it as a model to follow.
This is when you will certainly find WowEssays' free samples collection extremely helpful as it embodies numerous professionally written works on most various Comic Books College Essays topics. Ideally, you should be able to find a piece that meets your requirements and use it as a template to build your own College Essay. Alternatively, our expert essay writers can deliver you a unique Comic Books College Essay model crafted from scratch according to your custom instructions.
Comic Books And American Cultural History: A Sample Essay For Inspiration & Mimicking
Good essay on text 1, final reflective portfolio.
This paper is a reflection of the skills I have gained in this class. It focuses on four texts and analyses them as indicators of my development as a reader and creator of literary and cultural texts. Three of the analyzed texts were created for this class while the fourth was written for a math class.
Part 1: Texts
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Was the Latest Doonesbury Comic Strip 'Banned' by Gannett-Owned Newspapers?
In a brand-new Comic Book Legends Revealed, discover whether the latest Doonesbury comic strip was "banned" by Gannett-owned newspapers
- Social media uproar over Doonesbury comic is due to misconception of Gannett "banning" it.
- Doonesbury lost its spot in Gannett-owned newspapers as part of a unified comic strip approach.
- New Doonesbury strip on Civil War history triggered social media storm but was not actually "banned."
Welcome to the 920th installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed , a column where we examine three comic book myths, rumors and legends and confirm or debunk them. In the first legend of this installment, we take a look into whether people are correctly getting to the truth about a recent social media controversy involving Doonesbury and Gannett's newspapers.
A recent social media outcry over the latest Doonesbury comic strip by Garry Trudeau has led a number of posters online to believe that the strip, a criticism of teaching restrictions in Florida schools, was "banned" by Gannett, the United States' largest newspaper publisher (in terms of circulation) due to the subject of the new strip. Cracked did a whole article titled Conservative Newspaper Conglomerate Proved Their Opponents’ Point When They Banned This ‘Doonesbury’ Comic Strip .
However, the reality is that the strip had already been dropped by all Gannett-owned newspapers weeks before this newest strip was released. Doonesbury , the first comic strip to win the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning , was one of a number of newspaper comic strips to lose its spot in Gannett-owned newspapers due to a unified approach by Gannett towards the "funny pages" of its newspapers.
How a Thor Creative Team Mocked Their Former Spider-Man Editor
Why has the latest doonesbury comic strip caused a storm on social media.
The February 18 edition of Doonesbury featured a teacher telling her students about the history of the Civil War, including the fact that seven of the states that seceded from the United States specifically cited slavery as one of their reasons for seceding, and also that tens of thousands of White southerners volunteered to fight on the side of the Union during the Civil War. Her students are all worried about her, as one student notes, "This is Florida, isn't it against the law to teach us the full story?" She explains that her husband is in his truck outside, and her students implore her to run and text them after she crosses the border.
Former Iowa State Representative Bob Hughes noted that his local newspaper, the Gannett-owned Des Moines Register , did not print the strip, so he shared it on his social media account...
This has led to a social media outcry over Gannett "banning" this strip. Doonesbury comic strips HAVE been "banned" in the past (something that I've covered in a past Comic Book Legends Revealed ), so it is not an unreasonable thing for some people to believe, but that was not the case in this particular instance.
The Silver Surfer Storyline That Mocked Marvel's Then Editor-in-Chief
When did gannett decide to drop doonesbury from its newspapers.
You see, as reported by The Daily Cartoonist last year , Gannett, citing research it has done of its readers' interests, decided to come up with a unified approach to the comic strip sections of the newspapers that it owns. Generally speaking, individual newspapers have decided what comic strips they run, but now Gannett has determined that its newspapers will select their comic strips from a specific list of daily comic strips and Sunday strips. So the individual papers still get to decide, they are just limited in their possible options. As Gannett noted in a statement to the Daily Cartoonist, "We are unifying our print comics package, but our comics may still vary by market. The majority of our publications will maintain a similar number of comics after the transition." Gannett added, “Our mission to provide essential journalism in the communities we serve means we are always evolving our content to ensure we are relevant. Refreshing our comics provides a consistent and modern presentation for our audience while incorporating beloved favorites they love.”
While the unifying news was announced back last Fall, the newspapers were allowed to take their time implementing the changes, and each individual newspaper announced its changes at different points in time, as well as their own distinct choices from the unified list of options, so many fans missed the news at the time, and did not really notice anything until the strips were actually changed. For instance, The Akron Beacon Journal made its announcement on January 7. The Austin American-Statesman made its announcement on January 20. The Daytona Beach News-Journal made its announcement on January 21. As did the The Arizona Republic , and The Tennessean .
Doonesbury only does new strips on Sundays (the daily strips are reprints billed as Classic Doonesbury ), and both the dailies and the Sunday strips were dropped by all of Gannett's newspapers. In fact, The Akron Beacon-Journal even ran a letter to the editor last month from a reader complaining about Doonesbury being removed, so this is old enough news that there have already been printed complaints over it! In this instance, then, a number of fans only noticed Doonesbury was even GONE from all of Gannett's newspapers when they were called to the attention of a strip being possibly "banned" due to its content.
Doonesbury is still available online at Andrews McMeel Universal's GoComics , and, of course, in a number of non-Gannett owned newspapers across the United States (although a number of those newspapers are wary of the content of the strips, as well, and print the comics in their editorial cartoon section).
Check out a Movie Legends Revealed!
In the latest Movie Legends Revealed - Was an American actor actually officially hired to play James Bond at one point?
Be sure to check out my Entertainment Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of film and TV. Plus, Pop Culture References also has some brand-new Entertainment and Sports Legends Revealeds !
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‘Stan Lee, Beyond the Book’ Exhibition to Open at UW American Heritage Center
- News Releases
- Back to 2023 Archive
Institutional Communications Bureau of Mines Building, Room 137 Laramie, WY 82071 Phone: (307) 766-2929 Email: [email protected]
Published February 20, 2024
The American Heritage Center (AHC) at the University of Wyoming is preparing its highly anticipated “Stan Lee, Beyond the Book” exhibition, honoring the legendary author, editor and Marvel Comics visionary.
This immersive exhibition, set to open May 1, will provide visitors with an intimate glimpse into the extraordinary life and enduring legacy of Stan Lee. The exhibition will offer attendees a firsthand look at the remarkable impact of Lee on popular culture, from comic books to film and TV. The exhibition, housed at the AHC on UW’s campus in Laramie, will run through Nov. 1.
“Stan Lee, Beyond the Book” will reveal Lee the person, from his childhood to his later years. The exhibition will include documents, photographs and artifacts that have not been preserved elsewhere. Displays will explore Lee’s impact on the comic book industry; relations with his fans; the creative processes he and his teams followed; development of comic book characters; his involvement in social and political issues; personal memorabilia; and other aspects of his life, vision and career.
“Stan Lee’s legacy is not only in the stories he told, but in the imagination and inspiration he ignited in countless individuals,” says Professor Paul Flesher, the AHC’s director. “We are honored to share his remarkable journey and achievements through this extraordinary exhibition.”
Although Lee’s story cannot be told without the characters he created, this is neither a comic book exhibition nor a Marvel film exhibition.
“The Stan Lee Papers are a prized collection at the AHC,” Flesher says. “For decades, Stan regularly sent materials to the center for preservation, providing an ongoing record of his development as an individual, a writer and artist, an entertainer and a businessman. This exhibition provides for his fans a deep dive into Stan and his achievements.”
From his humble beginnings in New York City to his pioneering work in the comic book industry and film world, the exhibition will chronicle Lee’s journey, highlighting his creativity, innovation and lasting influence.
Born Stanley Martin Lieber Dec. 22, 1922, Lee rose from poverty to become one of the most iconic figures in popular culture history. His contributions to Marvel Comics -- including co-creating beloved characters such as the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Iron Man and the X-Men -- have left an indelible mark on generations of fans worldwide.
Lee began a relationship with the AHC in 1977, more than 45 years ago. The relationship was personal and, for the next 30 years, he corresponded regularly with AHC directors and visited campus twice. He sent to the AHC documents, photographs, videos and audio recordings nearly every year. Even though he never earned a college degree, he called UW “my university” because of this connection. His donations now constitute a unique collection, with 126 cubic feet of materials.
The finding aid for the Stan Lee collection is at https://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:80444/xv636387?q=stan%20lee .
About the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center
UW’s AHC is home to thousands of collections spanning diverse topics in American history and culture. With a mission to preserve and promote access to our shared heritage, the center serves as a vital resource for researchers, educators and the public alike.
The AHC is one of the nation’s 10 largest nongovernmental archives. It holds over 95,000 cubic feet of materials in more than 4,000 collections. As the AHC is a public institution, these materials are available for anyone to consult by visiting the reading room in person or via remote means. More than 99 percent of the holdings are available without restriction.
Founded in 1945, the AHC has expanded significantly over the decades and now has 10 key collecting areas. While its primary focus is on the American West, other significant collecting areas include popular culture, transportation (from the transcontinental railroad onward), journalism, ranching, authors, conservation and mineral extraction. The popular culture collections range from early radio to TV to Hollywood. Although the center’s Hollywood and TV collections focus on behind-the-camera positions (directors, producers, composers, etc.), the center holds materials from a number of stars, including Jack Benny, Barbara Stanwyck and Buddy Ebsen.
Details on “Stan Lee, Beyond the Book,” a Celebration of the Marvel Comics Trailblazer
The University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center announces the opening of the “Stan Lee, Beyond the Book” exhibition, showcasing the life and legacy of the iconic author, editor and Marvel Comics visionary. The exhibition, set to open May 1, will run through Nov. 1, offering visitors an intimate glimpse into the world of Stan Lee.
-- Opening date: May 1, 2024
-- Venue: American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming
-- Duration: May 1-Nov. 1, 2024
The exhibition aims to delve into the persona of Stan Lee, highlighting his personal and professional journey from childhood to his later years. While celebrating his iconic characters, the exhibition is not solely a showcase of comic books or Marvel films but a comprehensive exploration of Stan Lee, the individual.
In addition to the exhibition, the University of Wyoming will host a two-day fan/comic convention, “Stan Lee Super Con,” over Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31-Sept. 1. This event will celebrate Lee’s rich legacy and the vibrant world of comic books, inviting enthusiasts of all ages to come together for a weekend of panels, workshops and special guests.
-- Title: “Stan Lee Super Con”
-- Dates: Aug. 31-Sept. 1 (Labor Day weekend)
-- Venue: University of Wyoming campus, Laramie, Wyo.
The Stan Lee Papers, generously donated to the AHC by Lee himself, constitute a treasure trove of over 126 cubic feet of materials, including manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and audio recordings. These materials, curated meticulously from Lee’s personal archives, offer a rare insight into his creative processes, interactions with fans and the multifaceted facets of his life.
Student-Led Curatorial Team
Curated by three exceptional students from the University of Wyoming, in collaboration with the AHC’s experienced staff, the exhibition promises a fresh perspective on Stan Lee’s legacy. Selected from the university’s top talent pool, these students embarked on extensive research last June to bring forth a captivating narrative that honors Lee’s enduring impact.
Celebrating a Lifelong Connection
Stan Lee’s relationship with the AHC dates back to 1977, spanning over four decades. Despite being born and raised in New York, Lee considered the University of Wyoming his alma mater, attributing this sentiment to his profound connection with the AHC. His regular correspondence, regular donations to his collection and two campus visits solidified his bond with the institution.
Public Access and Engagement
The exhibition will be open to the public free of charge, inviting fans and enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the extraordinary legacy of Stan Lee. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the exhibition in person.
Chad Baldwin AVP, Marketing and Communications University Public Relations University of Wyoming Phone: (307) 766-2929 [email protected]
Paul V.M. Flesher Director, American Heritage Center University of Wyoming Phone: (307) 766-2474 [email protected]
Fran Evans Independent Coordinator Phone: (918) 404-4999 [email protected]
Scott Kinney CEO, Heritage Event Co. Phone: (310) 612-9213 [email protected]
American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming
2111 E. Willett Drive Laramie, WY 82072 Phone: (307) 766-4114 [email protected]
Awesome Comic Books You Can Read With Your Kids
Posted: May 23, 2023 | Last updated: July 23, 2023
There are a number of different ways to relate to your children. Reading can be an ideal way to take them on adventures and teach them new things. But for some parents, comic books could be preferable to reading standard books. There are so many great comics out there and it can be tough to figure out which one is perfect for you and your child. Here's a diverse list of comic books to dive into-- which storyline will your kid love the most?
The Cardboard Kingdom By Chad Sell
Kids today are extraordinarily focused on phones and video games. The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell reflects on a simpler time when kids would use their imagination to make the world their oyster.
The graphic novel, written in 2018, focuses on an outdoor adventure where kids use their imaginations to win the day. The result is a book which will encourage your kids to get outside and turn everyday materials into things that are non-traditional and fun.
Anya's Ghost By Vera Brosgol
Death and the afterlife can be a confusing and overwhelming subject for children and pre-teens. Author Vera Brosgol attempts to demystify the subject for young readers with her graphic novel, Anya's Ghost . In the tale, the lead character Anya encounters a ghost of a girl who had died 90 years beforehand.
The ghost named Emily helps Anya to come to grips with the difficulty of being a preteen and teaches her to value the opportunity to live her life.
Garfield By Jim Davis
Garfield was a very popular comic when most parents were their children's age. Writer and cartoonist Jim Davis is still pumping out the tales of the cat who loves both naps and lasagna in equal measure.
If your child really loves Garfield, there are no shortages of books that the two of you can read together. In addition to the books, there have been a number of Garfield television shows as well as a live action movie with Bill Murray.
All Summer Long By Hope Larson
It can be a confusing time for kids who are entering their teenage years. Lucky for parents, there are some great books out there that can help show kids they are not alone. All Summer Long by Hope Larson features lead character Bina as she begins to experience all of the hard parts of turning 13.
While her relationship with her best friend Austin begins to change, Bina discovers music and it becomes an important outlet for her during this strange stage.
Margo Maloo Series By Drew Weing
Unlike their parents, today's kids don't necessarily need to read their comics in paperback form. There are plenty of webcomics that kids can easily access on their laptops and iPads. The Margo Maloo series by Drew Weing is one of these.
The books follow Margo's adventures as she explores the supernatural goings-on in her hometown of Echo City. The latest book finds Margo investigating the vegans who inhabit the local mall.
Hey Kiddo By Jarrett Krosoczka
While some comics are chock full of action and adventure, others hope to tackle more sensitive issues. The lives of many children today are affected in some way by addiction.
Whether it affects a parent, a family member, or a friend, Hey Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka could help kids to better understand the disease. The story is Krosoczka's own as he lost his Mother to addiction when he was younger. The subject, while affecting, is handled in a delicate way.
Drama By Raina Telgemeier
It is much easier to speak with children about LGBTQ issues than it was even just a few years ago. Some parents, however, could use a book to help them address the sometimes sensitive subject.
Raina Telgemeier's Drama features a number of queer and questioning characters. Telgemeier has become a renowned author heavily due to her ability to weave LGBTQ stories in a way that is accessible for parents and especially for children who could be coming to grips with their own sexuality.
Smile By Raina Telgemeier
Smile is the second book by kid author phenomenon Raina Telgameier. The book, like most of her other works, takes place in the anxious and confusing world of Junior High School.
The book's protagonist, also named Raina, has to navigate a troubling year as she deals with an earthquake and two-faced friends all while managing two broken front teeth and terrible looking dental aids. The book, considered by many the be Telgemeier's best, can help guide kids through a tough time.
March By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin And Nate Powell
Comic books don't have to be all fun and games. Some of them can even teach your kid an important lesson about history. March is the story of Congressman John Lewis, told alongside writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell.
Lewis is an integral figure in the Civil Rights movement as he marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The creators had originally chosen the comic book medium as they felt it could be the best way to teach the story of the movement to younger readers.
Sci-Fu By Yehudi Mercado
You may be noticing a theme with these books so far. The authors tend to love a lot of different things and then combine all those loves into one coherent storyline that appeals to children.
In Sci-Fu , creator Yehudi Mercado's love for space, hip-hop and bright colors are evident in the space opera. Not only is the story interesting and fun, but Mercado also has a brilliant art style that is sure to catch a kid's eye.
The Prince And The Dressmaker By Jen Wang
While there are a million timeless fairy tales that you can read with your children, sometimes you want to show them something a little bit different. Jen Wang's The Prince and the Dressmaker offers a very different take on the traditional story.
The main character, Prince Sebastian yearns to get involved with the world of fashion rather than giving into his parent's wishes. The story will also give kids a history lesson as it takes place in historical Paris.
Ultimate Spider-Man By Brian Michael Bendis And Mark Bagley
In the year 2000, Marvel Comics realized that their characters may not have been resonating with younger readers in the way they hoped. To help alleviate this issue, the company rebooted Spider-Man and took him back to his teenage years.
The early part of the series featured Peter Parker as Spider-Man since the very first day. By the end of the series, though, Bendis created a new Spider-Man in Miles Morales. If your kid loves the books, they'll certainly love 2018's movie Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse , which features Morales as the main character.
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