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Graphic Novel Class

I'm very excited to be starting my Graphic Novels and Comics class that I'm taking as part of my MLS. The last time I took a lit class, several of you wanted to see the reading list, so I thought I'd share the graphic novels I'll be reading over the next three weeks (yep-it's a three week summer class-I'm going to be busy!) I've kept in my professor's annotations for more info.

Our textbooks:

1. Understanding Comics. by Scott McCloud

2. Developing and Promoting Graphic Novel Collections, by Steve Miller.

Graphic Novel Required Reading:

1. Maus I: A Survivor's Tale, by Art Spiegelman.- Pulitzer Prize winner that explores the life and family dynamics of a Holocaust survivor. Adult content.

2. Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. -- Eisner award winners present their classic story, a complex murder mystery that explores absolute power, love and the medium of comic books.Teen and adult content.

3. Persepolis: Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi. -- Written by one of the few women graphic novelists, explores a young girl's life under the Islamic Revolution. Teen and adult content.

4. Pedro and Me, by Judd Winick. -- Winick, a professional cartoonist pays tribute to his Real World housemate and friend Pedro Zamora, an AIDS activist and educator..

5. Choose one -- either a or b:
a. Stuck Rubber Baby, by Howard Cruse -- Eisner award winner, sets a story in the South in the early '60s and deals with homophobia, racism and gay culture. Adult content.
b. Cancer Vixen, by Marisa Acocella Marchetto. -- Cartoonist Marisa Acocella Marchetto's graphic memoir about her battle with breast cancer.

6. Two other graphic novels of your choice, at least one must be manga, please.

We also have to do one comic/movie pairing and we get to choose from this list:

Film Noir
FILM: Frank Miller’s Sin City, 2005, Rated R, directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez TEXT: Frank Miller's Sin City: The Hard Goodbye (1st or 2nd edition)

FILM: History of Violence, 2005, Rated R, directed by David Cronenberg
TEXT: History of Violence by John Wagner ISBN: 1563893673

FILM: American Splendor, 2003, Rated R, directed by Shari Springer and Berman Robert Pulcini TEXT: Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar

FILM: Persepolis, 2008, Rated PG-13, directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
TEXT: The Complete Persepolis ISBN 0375714839 or Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood AND Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return ISBN:

Super Heroine
FILM: Elektra, 2005, Rated PG-13, directed by Rob Bowman

TEXT: Elektra The Movie Sean McKeever
FILM: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, 2001, Rated PG-13, directed by Simon West
TEXT: Dan Jurgens and Andy Park’s Tomb Raider, Vol. 1 : Saga of the Medusa Mask (Paperback)

Super Hero/Family
FILM: Astro Boy, 2009, Rated G, directed by David Bowers

TEXT: Astro Boy: Volumes 1&2

FILM: Fantastic Four, 2005, Rated PG-13, directed by Tim Story
TEXT: Essential Fantastic Four Volume 1 by Stan Lee

FILM: The Incredibles, 2004, Rated PG directed by Brad Bird
TEXT: Incredibles graphic novel by Brad Bird Dark Horse comics

Super Hero – Action
FILM: Iron Man, 2008, Rated PG-13, directed by Jon Favreau
TEXT: Ultimate Iron Man: Volume 1 Orson Scott Card

FILM: Spiderman 3, 2007, Rated PG-13, directed by Sam Raimi
TEXT: Spiderman the Birth of Venom by Jim Shooter

FILM: The Dark Night, 2008, rated PG-13, directed by Christopher Nolan
TEXT: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

FILM: The Ring (Japanese or American Film), 2003, Rated PG-13, directed by Gore Verbinski
TEXT: The Ring Volume 1 by Hiroshi Takahashi

Should be fun-I'll let you know how the class goes! I'd love to hear suggestions of what you think I should read for the two I get to pick!


  1. Cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where were lit classes like that when I was in college. And really - it's posts like this that make me wish I had it in me to go back and get my media license :(

  2. I want to take that class! Where are you going for your MLS? Do you like the program?

    For the movie, I would suggest Persepolis if you haven't read/seen them both - both excellent. Other great graphic novels:

    Stand alones: Fray (if you're a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), V for Vendetta, and Fun House: A Family Tragicomic.

    Series: Fables, Y The Last Man, and Animal Man.

    I'm interested in checking out a couple of the graphic novels that I've only seen the movies to: History of Violence and The Ring.

  3. Ok... I am so envious of this class. Why doesn't my program have it?! I think I'm going to try to live vicariously through you and follow your reading list... Thank you for sharing!

  4. Oh comics! Well its typical that I'd say anything X-men.

    Uh, well, you could to Astonishing X-men by Joss Whedon or X-force or Uncanny x-men.

  5. See, these classes are what make me really want to go into library science, lol. Sin City! love that pairing. Do you know what you're going to read for manga yet? I suggest Ouran High School Host Club, a romantic comedy (shojo) that is more comedy than romance, and yet everything is of the un-cliched kind. It lightheartedly deals with things like cross-dressing and sexuality. LOVE IT TO DEATH.

  6. This looks like an awesome class!

    For stand-alones I would recommend anything by Satrapi, if you decide you like her style after reading Persepolis. I also second the recommendation for Fun Home, though I've heard it's only REALLY FABULOUS for fans of her Dykes to Watch Out For comics. Was She Pretty by Leanne Shapton and Breakfast After Noon by Andy Watson are also high on my list.

    I loved both the graphic novels and movie adaptations of History of Violence (and the GN of this is short, comparatively, if you're rushed for time), Sin City, and Persepolis. I had a really hard time reading V for Vendetta, even though the movie is one of my faves, ymmv.

    Have fun with the class and let us all know what you pick!

  7. Jill-I love classes like this-it makes school so much more fun!:)

    Emily-I'm at University of North Texas in the Youth Services program. It's all online and I LOVE it! Let me know if you want more info. Thanks for the suggestions-I'll check them out!

    Katie-I love the UNT program-I'm just hoping they add a YA lit class before I leave.

    Book Bug-I love Joss-I may have to check that out!:)

    Steph Su-I've watched some of the anime of Ouran-my teens all love it. I've never read the manga, but I think I'd be able to follow it better after watching the anime. It is very funny!

    Lawral-Right now I'm trying to pick something I can get at the library!:) Thanks for the suggestions-I'm adding even more to my reading list now!

  8. I was never able to take a class like this in my program. Boo! Oh well, have fun. My comic collection is HOT in my library.

    My suggestions: Stay away from Elektra. Every comic geek I know hated that movie.

    And what? No 300? How is that possible? Loved the movie. After it I wanted to go to war.

    For manga I would try Bride of the Water God. Its not really Manga since its Korean, but no one knows that. I love the art. I also liked
    Bizenghast, but thats created by an American. So its American manga? If you want some history you could read Emma. But my Victorian sensibilities were upset by that one. "Historically accurate" is not a term I would use, although everyone else seems to think it was great. Of course, they were the same people who probably thought the Luxe series was historically accurate. hmmm.

    I also like Witchblade. It used to be one of the bad girl series but it has toned down the T&A and is more story driven. See, thats the problem with American comics.

    I could talk about this for hours! I better sign off now!

  9. I loved the Persepolis GN. I just read it this year (the one about her childhood). Your school seems to offer some interesting classes. I went to Kent State for my MLIS and we had one class to cover all YA lit as well as programming, etc. for teens. It is the reason I read the Twilight Saga and Sarah Dessen and I did become a huge fan of YA fiction thanks to that class.

    Hope you enjoy your class!

  10. I didn't know A History of Violence was based on a graphic novel. Now that could be interesting...

    A lot of these I can totally see why they are texts. I mean Maus won the Nobel Prize (or was it the Pulitzer?). And Understanding Comics is an absolute staple.

    As for suggestions, manga-wise, Othello by Satomi Ikezawa is pretty good. It's about a very shy girl who, unknowing to her, develops a split personality that does everything she wants to. But then the personality starts to become more dominant, and it becomes a battle of which personality is going to win out in the end. It's only a seven-book series, so it's shorter and completes it's story. And I liked the art style quite a bit.

    Demon Diary by Kara Lim was a really fun one, if you like lighthearted and lots of adorable/hilarious chibis. It's about a kid who turns out to be a demon lord who is way too nice for his own good. Hilarity ensues.

    Fullmetal Alchemist is also a fantastic series, though not as jaw-dropping amazing as the anime (the original. Oh. My. Gosh. I am so in love with that series).

    Non-manga, Crogan's Vengeance by Chris Schwiezer was very fun. Honorable man turned pirate (apparently with historical accuracy). A little-known one I quite enjoyed.

    I wonder if the Flight series by Kazu Kabuishi would count, even though they are a bunch of graphic novel short stories (the graphics are AMAZING).

    Fahrenheit 451, the authorized adaptation is also really good.

    And of course, Joss Whedon has two graphic novels of the Firefly/Serenity series. :)

    Have I exposed my utter nerdom yet?

  11. Love this class so far! What have you finally decided on for your two graphic novel/manga?


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