ELCS4012 - Sequential Art as a Form of Engagement
Value: 0.5 course units
Tutor: Dr Cristina Massaccesi
Assessment: 1 assessed essay of 3000 words and a desk examination of 1.5 hours
In their book The Medium is the Massage, Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore point out that ‘societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication’. This attitude has influenced strongly the perception of sequential art and graphic storytelling that, penalised by their colourful and pictorial format, have been normally connected to simple and escapist contents.
The aim of this module will be to present to students examples of sequential art narratives characterised by a deep social and political engagement. At the same time it will provide them with a methodology for analysing and understanding the narrative processes behind graphic storytelling and how these processes compare and contrast with those of traditional narrative and/or cinema. The module will begin with a brief outline of the history of sequential art. Lectures and seminars will offer approaches to analyse and discuss a large number of themes such as autobiographical elements, social protest, human relationships, environmental concerns and historical events by considering examples from a range of European, American, Middle-Eastern and Japanese graphic novels.
- Alan Moore, Watchmen, 1987
- Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira (volume 1), 1990
- Art Spiegelman, The Complete MAUS, 1991
- Marjane Satrapi, The Complete Persepolis, 2008
Initial Secondary Bibliography:
- Randy Duncan & Matthew J. Smith, The Power of Comics. History, Form and Culture, 2009
- Umberto Eco, Apocalypse Postponed, 1995
- Will Eisner, Comics and Sequential Art, 1985
- Will Eisner, Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative, 1996
- Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics, 1993
- Marshall MacLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964
- Marshall MacLuhan & Quentin Fiore, The Medium is the Massage, 1967
Critical material and a list of suggested additional readings will be provided to the students via the Moodle page for the module. Please note that the lecture on Japanese manga will take place in the Japan room at the British Museum.