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Curriculum (in progress)


A Curriculum for Comics Librarianship

This curriculum is an attempt at establishing an organized framework of comics librarianship for students and self-educators. I'm sure this will be a perpetual work-in-progress, or will at least have a very long construction period.  Also it should be noted that I am not a professor, nor am I trained in any level of education. Please feel free to offer advice in the comments.

Introduction

Outcomes:
  Read a graphic novel and investigate the experience
  Explore the comics medium from narrative and visual standpoints

Texts:
  Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang
  Comics Art by Paul Gravett
  Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know by Paul Gravett, pp. 10-11, 32-33, 52-53, 98-99

For this unit, students will begin by reading Gene Luen Yang's Boxers & Saints, a pair of historical graphic novels that present different perspectives on the Boxer Rebellion. Students may discuss the work in groups in the manner of a book club, or as individuals write a free-form journal entry about their experiences before considering these ideas:
  • If you're a frequent reader of comics, compare and contrast Boxers & Saints with your previous experiences
  • If you're an infrequent or new reader of comics, compare and contrast the experience with your expectations and assumptions
  • How did the books use art and text, whether separately or in conjunction with each other, to create narrative?
  • How do the books communicate different characters' perspectives?
  • What do you feel is the appropriate reading level or age group for this work, and why?
  • How might this work be incorporated into programming

Next, students will read Comics Art and pages 32-33, 52-53, 98-99 of Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know, both by Paul Gravett. The former presents a broad, accessible overview of the world of comics with an art-first perspective on the medium, while the latter takes a story-first perspective to explore the appeal of these works in general and in specific; the selected excerpts are close examinations of three works and their stories. Students will examine the "two halves" of the comics medium -- image and narrative -- and explore possible strengths and weaknesses that this duality presents; this session will be informed by pages 10-11 of Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know, where Gravett responds to common objections to reading comics. Consider the following questions:
  • Do you share any of Gravett's list of objections? Do his responses adequately address them?
  • Do you have any other other objections yourself, or do have you heard of any others that you do not share?
  • As a reader of comics, do you think you are mostly an art-first reader or a story-first reader? How do you relate the the "half" that isn't your dominant one?

Definitions

Outcomes:
  Students will survey the major strains of definitions held by practitioners and theorists
  Students will explore the challenges that each definition presents to libraries

Texts:
  Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, chapter 1
  "Inventing Comics: Scott McCloud's Definition of Comics" by Dylan Horrocks
...

History

Outcomes:
  Students will survey the major threads of comics history across geographic and genre lines

Texts:
  The Origins of Comics by Thierry Smolderen
  Comics: A Global History, 1968 to the Present by Dan Mazur and Alexander Danner
...

Creation and Production

Texts:
...

Collection Development and Weeding

Texts and other resources:
  1001 Comics to Read Before You Die edited by Paul Gravett
  [a library-oriented
  Wilson Core Curriculum: Graphic Novels (book and/or database)
  Comics and graphic novel reviews from current issues of Library JournalBooklist, and Publisher's Weekly
  Comics and graphic novel reviews from comics websites No Flying No Tights, Comic Book Resources, and The Comics Journal
...

Cataloging, Classification, and Shelving

Texts:
...

Reader's Advisory

Texts and other resources:
  Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know by Paul Gravett
  NoveList Plus database
...

Research and Criticism

Texts:
...

Programming

Texts:
...

Archival Concerns

Texts:
...

Challenges and Obstacles

Texts and other resources:
  The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
...



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