Faculty of Arts


Special Topic: Comics and Visual Narrative

Please note: this is archived course information from 2012 for FTVMS 222.


Explores the medium of comics both as an expression of popular culture and as a visual language. Beginning with a history of sequential graphic narrative, considers issues around the legitimacy of a popular art form and means of storytelling, as well as the problem of censorship that dominated comics culture, especially in the 1950s. The consecration of this medium with the emergence of Comics Studies as an academic discipline still triggers the moral outrage directed at them 50 years ago. As such, comics have been caught up in arguments about cultural and moral value that provide important insights into social processes. Special attention will also be paid to the distinct language that comics employ: a "comixture" of word and image that challenges the traditional separation of language and pictures in quite a radical way.

The course will explore tales of superheroes, especially as they relate to issues of sovereignty, and will also cover a range of topics from the fantastic to the mundane, the extraordinary to the everyday: love, war, loneliness, bereavement, testimony, gender, sexuality, family relationships and crime. It looks at the difference between mainstream and independent comics, with the hope of challenging some of the conceptions around what the mainstream is. The course also examines the topic of adaptation which includes the explosion of comics transformed for cinema audiences, as well as the less well known adaptation of literature and other cultural texts into the comics format.

Availability 2012

Semester 2


Lecturer(s) Dr Neal Curtis


FTVMS 222: 15.0 points


FTVMS 100 and 101



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