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You might also find this resource of interest -- Graphic Stories: Hurdles ( This is created by an Area 3 Writing Project teacher named Bee Foster. It is part of a larger resource and professional development workshop she leads called "Redefining Text."
I really agree with this comment "Graphic novels are all bilingual by nature ... " ... Might even say multilingual in fact ... and I would second Kathleen's recommendation to read Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. I wanted to jump in here though and ask about writing. I was curious if we can maybe hear from someone who has, or has supported their students, in writing one (I haven’t). I ask because I know in my experience the making of something sometimes allows you to better understand the complexities of reading it too. I also ask because the art of the writing graphic novels is one of the things, as a graphic novel reader, that I am drawn to. I have heard fascinating descriptions of the process — all very unique -- by several authors, including Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan), Satrapi (Persepolis), Spegielman (Maus) Alison Bechdel (Fun Home) and Joe Sacco (Safe Zone Gorazde) as well as Scott McCloud himself ... and the stories and results, I think, are really very telling in terms of the way that the person engages with the world. Like a text-based author or even a film-maker, you can see a lot of what is important in the process and the person when you get to glimpse how the work unfolds. Here is some of what I have noticed so far listening to graphic novel writers ... The time, for one thing, can be quite long (9 years for Fun Home I believe Bechdel described) ... The research is intensive and fully engaging (Sacco is a journalist, as one example) ... The work often includes or draws from content that is deeply and intensely personal ... And images are very deliberately used whether non-linear and dream-like, very researched and painstakingly reproduced, or even how they are juxtaposed on the page or across pages. When I’ve noticed too when these authors speak about their work, they even verbally or physically (move their hands, etc.) share images to describe their feelings and ideas as much as they do with words said aloud too. The folks I have named here and the other authors that have already been named by other responders, are focused, committed and practiced writers and artists, and therefore the reading (a term I use deliberately) of their work is therefore rich and rewarding too. Another interest of mine is related to the deeply emotional and often disconcerting content that many of the graphic novels take on. All of the above fall into that range and I recently read Barefoot Gen, parts I and II, written in Manga style by a survivor of Hiroshima. The book is hard to read — I didn’t want to turn the pages sometimes — because it is deeply violent and complex well beyond the words the people say to one another. Along these same lines is a contemporary novel called Stitches by David Small. In some ways I think this book explains why graphic novels are so important just because this book exists. And because this is so consistent in my reading of Graphic Novels, I also wonder how much emotional needs and intelligence can draw readers and writers towards these kinds of novels too. Thanks for opening a conversation! Christina
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Aug 8, 2011