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With regards to your evaluation of the comics medium (I'm not a big fan of "graphic novel" b/c I think it's a way for people who are pretentious to deny they're reading a comic) not allowing people to visualize, I think that on the surface that seems true, but you need to dig a little deeper. First, you need to realize that most of the comics that are published by mainstream (and even independent, in some cases) comic companies (i.e., the big two) are the results of visualization themselves. Your average comic book may have six people working on it: writer, penciller, inker, colorist, letterer, and editor. Change the names in each of the parts and it can affect the story (especially if bad art is paired with a good story). The penciller/inker team is obviously of most importance here because those people are working off of a plot or script from the writer and they are putting into pictures what they visualize based on what was written. It shows the reader how that person interpreted the written word. Now, take it a step further and look at a trade paperback (i.e., collection of stories or what people often mislabel "graphic novels"). You may have several artists in one book and you get to see how the way image and the visualization is handled changes. Sometimes, you have multiple creative teams on the same story. Take, for instance, the Death and Return of Superman story in 1992-1993. This story, when it was first published, ran in four different comics (one came out each week). That's four writers, four pencillers, four inkers ... maybe similar letters and colorists ... and one editor holding the whole thing together. Across those four titles for the better part of nine months, when Superman died, was mourned, and returned after a story that is well-suited for your average summer blockbuster movie, you have four different interpretations of the same character and four different visualizations. But at the same time, it's a coherent story. How is this not a teaching tool for someone who stares at a bulky text and can't make heads or tails of even the most basic literary elements? And I realize that every student that reads something in the comic art medium isn't going to go on to read Moby-Dick (a whale of a book if you ask me) or A Tale of Two Cities. But some will--just like some students I've had went from Twilight (which is horribly written, btw) to Anne Rice to even Bram Stoker (a tough read for an average student). But honestly, I refuse to throw away an entire genre. Oh, and not to sound flip, but your Jersey Shore analogy is wrong. Comics are scripted and created. If anything, their serial nature and long-term storylines are akin to soap operas (a dying genre in itself).
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Aug 9, 2011