Visual Narrative: Manga to American Comics

Visual Narratives

Students in this FIG will have the opportunity to study numerous examples of verbal-visual storytelling drawn from two nations — the United States and Japan — across a wide span of history.  Our discussions will consider the unique art of comics, its peculiar grammar, poetics, and appeal. We will develop and practice critical and intellectual tools for understanding and analyzing this rich and complex mode of storytelling. And we will even try our hand at creating our own visual narratives.

Students who participate in this FIG will acquire a transferrable toolkit of analytical methods and strategies leading to increased media literacy.  They will also acquire a deeper knowledge of both the origins and historical development of both American comics and Japanese Manga, and the specific achievements of some key creators within those traditions.  In addition, they will learn about the economic and material conditions of comic book production, and the range of comics forms (from picture scrolls to newspaper strips to the graphic novel and beyond).

Students explore the intersection of topics by taking the following course package:

UGST 109 First-Year Experience Seminar - 1-credit

ENG 280 Introduction to Comic Studies - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

Introduction to the art of comics and the methodologies of comic studies. Covers a range of comic texts from the early 1900s to the present, and a variety of comic-art forms, ranging from editorial cartoons to graphic novels.

JPN 250 Manga Millennium - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

This course looks at the thousand-year history of visual-verbal narratives – comics – in Japan. In particular we will concentrate on three forms of visual-verbal literature: the narrative picture scrolls of the classical and medieval period (ca. 11th-16th centuries), the “yellowback” comic books of the early modern period (18th-19th centuries), and the manga of the 20th-21st centuries.