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ENGLISH 333

ComiCS &
Graphic novels
Summer Term 2015
Session 2, May 26-July 7

Eleanor Davis

Class #10782
Tuesday & Thursday 4:30-7:25pm

Jerome Richfield 304


Prof. Charles Hatfield


charles.hatfield@csun.edu
Office: Sierra Tower 735 Office ph. 818.677.3416
Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-30pm, and by appointment
Log on to our Moodle site: http://moodle.csun.edu
Prof. Hs blog: http://comicsatcsun.weebly.com
Comics is a form of visual text (if youre a reader) or sequential art (if youre an art lover).
Actually, its both: a hybrid form of communication that flouts the traditional rules of art. In
comics, images in sequence (or that imply sequence) tell stories, make arguments, unpack
ideas, share memories and feelings, or convey processes of change. These images are most
often drawn by cartoonists and combined with text. The sequences can range from very short
to very, very long. Comics blends graphic design, narrative drawing, and visual symbolism into
a dynamic, ever-shifting form of imagetext. In 333 well study this form, and practice using
it. To do this, well read old and new comics, short and long comics, popular and obscure
ones, fictional and nonfictional ones, comics in B&W and comics in color, US and Japanese
comicsin short, a mix. Well focus mainly on the contemporary graphic novel in English, but
will briefly touch on other genres too: strips, comic books, and webcomics. Welcome aboard!

Course Objectives (i.e. what 333 aims to help you achieve)


Informed appreciation of comics as a literary and artistic practice
Familiarity with and ability to discuss analytically the comics form
Basic familiarity with comics culture and with select resources for doing comics research
Sharper reading, writing, and communication skills (as in any English course)

GE Path Learning Objectives


As part of CSUNs GE Path in Arts, Media, and Culture, 333 also aims to help you do the following:
1. Define aesthetics, media, culture and their interconnections
2. Explain varied genres of artistic expression across a diverse range of cultural forms
3. Analyze various artistic and literary works with appropriate theoretical concepts
4. Evaluate various forms of art and culture and show understanding of relevant critical debates

5. Create your own literary and artistic works

Requirements, in brief (details forthcoming, of course)


1. Participation (20 percent of your course grade): presence, energy, effort, contributions to
discussion, and homework, which may include cartooning exercises.

2. Two Comics-Making Exercises (10% total): Youll be expected to create two short comics, one of
which youll be revisiting and refining in your Final.

3. Moodling & Discussion Leading (30%): Expect to post on Moodle a 300-word response to each
major reading assignment, i.e. about twice a week on average. Once during the term everyone will
serve as a discussion leader, which will require posting a prompt in advance and kicking off
discussion in the classroom.

4. Tracing Project (20%): two traced pages from one of our graphic books, annotated and
accompanied by a written synthesis of about 4 pages. Youll do this in lieu of a traditional midterm.

5. Take-Home Final (20%): this comprehensive assessment will include a critical and a creative
component, and will build on your comics-making exercises and Tracing Project.

Required books, in likely order of use


Prices given are list prices for new copies, though in some cases used or rental copies may be available:

Ivan Brunetti, Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice (Yale, $13.00; rentable @ Matador;
Kindle, Nook, and other e-book editions available toocheck out the Oviatt Library)
Art Spiegelman, The Complete Maus (Pantheon, 35.00; rentable)
Mike Mignola, Hellboy: Strange Places (Dark Horse, 17.99; Kindle/Nook available too)
Eleanor Davis, How to Be Happy (Fantagraphics, 24.99)
Various, The Best of Archie (Archie Comics, 9.99; Kindle/Nook too)
Bart Beaty, Twelve-Cent Archie (Rutgers University Press, 26.95; Kindle/Nook too)
Jaime Hernandez, The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S. (Fantagraphics, 19.99)
Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki, This One Summer (First Second, 17.99; Kindle/Nook too)
Recommended only: Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics (Harper, 22.99; rentable)

Earth-2 Comics (8967 Reseda, Northridge, 10 minutes walk from here, 818.993.7804) will give
333 students a 15% discount on the above books! Bring this sheet and your CSUN ID. Note: besides
these books, well read short comics on Moodle; a comic book that Ill provide; and some webcomics.