ENGLISH 185F: Graphic Non-Fiction (seminar)
Taught by: Adam Johnson
Fall Quarter, 2011-2012
MW 1:15-3:05, Room: 160-318
It’s commonly believed that American comics are a medium for the fantastic interests of young adults. But a brief survey of graphic storytelling in Europe, Africa and Asia will reveal a rich and mature tradition. Few people know that American comics is a realm of “capes and tights” because the Comics Code Authority, prompted by the 1954 Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency hearings, which mandated the removal of all adult themes from U.S. comics. Artists who wished to deal with subjects of sex, death, existence and alienation were driven underground. Now they’ve resurfaced, and the most exciting realm of this medium is non-fiction. Today’s best visual artists are choosing to source their narratives from the real world, and in this course, we’ll examine the fusion that results when a new genre (creative non-fiction) is championed by a revitalized medium (graphic storytelling.) We normally think of journalism, biography, history, literary essay and memoir as textual forms. But in this class, we’ll examine the results when serious artists and writers, often in collaboration, tackle these genres graphically. Warning: this course will contain no dragons, superpowers, elves or imps.
This course fulfills the following Major Requirements: