Film Genre: Comics, Graphic Novels and Film


The intention of this course is to counteract the common perception that comics work is lightweight and somehow innately inferior -- as though the medium itself is incapable of presenting, containing, producing and/or transmitting thoughtful work of quality.  There has been a stigma on and a prejudice against comics work by those who work in other mediums.  Print, film, television and the fine arts have all traditionally condescended to comics.  This is, obviously, now changing -- the stigma is finally evaporating and the prejudice dissipating -- but an understanding of comics is still only slowly coming about.   Comics are still seen by many as a “minor league” farm team that the “major league” mediums use to harvest material for their productions.  The truth is, however, that, just as the comics form itself has been shaped by its sibling forms of art and literature, and then later film and television, so too have these forms been shaped by comics.  This reciprocal relationship is, at best, only superficially recognized and is largely undocumented:  that’s where this class comes in.

Throughout this course, we will explore these relationships and do our best to map out the respective progresses of comics and film -- with occasional  necessary side trips into the related mediums of art, music, literature and television at those junctures at which they come into closest contact with comics and film.  

The goal of this course is that at its conclusion the student will have gained a greater appreciation of the role comics has played in the development of film -- not only by providing intellectual properties for licensing, story lines and thematic material, but also through the unique organizational strategies and formal innnovations that have their origins in comics.  Beyond this, it is hoped that the student will have gained an appreciation of those qualities that are unique to comics and will leave the class with an enhanced ability to interact with and enjoy comics moving forward in their lives and, finally, that those who foresee a career in film will find that they have increased their ability to exploit the riches offered by comics.