Week 10 – Researching Comic Books

It took me awhile to figure out which artifact I would like to look at for a research project. With the help of this week’s lecture, I decided that I would like to look at comic books and graphic novels. When Professor Galey talked about close reading of artifacts, it made me think back to my courses that I took a few years ago, which focused on comic books and cartoons. We learned and practiced close reading of these texts, but I never really had the chance to look at texts of my choice. So, I think if I had to focus on artifacts, I would choose comic books. There is a lot that can be taken from these texts, even before opening them, such as the appearance of the text. For instance, one can examine and analyze the size, colours, thickness of the cover and back pages of the comic books, and some really interesting conclusions can be drawn from this analysis.

I realize that a lot of comic books are being published online and in digital format, which is not surprising at all, since everything is becoming digitized nowadays. I think it would be quite interesting to do a close reading and critically analyze comic books and strips in this format. One would not be able to easily analyze the cover and the back of books as done with print texts, yet, there are other aspects to consider. For instance, in terms of reading a comic book online, how many pages can be shown on the computer screen? Can you see the entire page without scrolling down? These are a couple of questions that I would ask if I was researching digital comics, but these would obviously not be relevant if I was looking at comic books in print. Regardless, either format that the comic books are in would be a fascinating research experience! 



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2 responses to “Week 10 – Researching Comic Books

  1. Hey Tracy,

    The business model behind online comics is also different than in print comics, which might be interesting to investigate. Several of my favorite online comics are now being released as books, in addition to creating revenue from online merchandising such as push toys, stickers and clothing. Many of the ones that come to mind all create satellite products around their comics: XKCD, Cyanide and Happiness, The Oatmeal, Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Most recently the author of one of my favorite online comics held a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to fund his production of his comic The Worm World Saga.

    Comics and graphic novels are important in literacy, and allow readers to learn basic literacy skills such as sequencing, reading with meaning, reading structure (left – right, up – down). It also evokes imagination as readers much infer actions and the passing of time between comic panels(McCloud, 1994).

    Inman, Matthew. (2009). The Oatmeal. Retrieved Novemeber 29, 2013, from theoatmeal.com

    Kinney, Jeff. (2004). Funbrain: The diary of a wimpy kid. Retrieved Novemeber 29, 2013, from http://www.funbrain.com/journal/Journal.html?ThisJournalDay=1&ThisPage=1

    Lieske, Daniel. (2010). The Wormword Saga. Retrieved Novemeber 29, 2013, from http://www.wormworldsaga.com/

    McCloud, Scott. (1994) Understanding Comics: The invisible art. New York: Harper Perennial.

    Munroe, Randell. (2005). XKCD: A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language. Retrieved Novemeber 29, 2013, from http://xkcd.com/

    Wilson, K., DenBleyker, R., Melvin, M., and McElfatrick, D. (2005). Cyanide & Happiness. Retrieved Novemeber 29, 2013, from http://www.explosm.net/comics/15/

  2. tracymatos

    Hey Printer,

    Thanks for your comment! It’s interesting that you mention Diary of a Wimpy Kid because a lot of children at my workplace ask for this series, and it seems to be the most popular choice among them. I am only familiar with the books in the series and a couple of the movies, but I didn’t realize that there are so many products and other merchandise associated with it. This would definitely be really interesting to look into for another research project.
    It was also really interesting to see that you mentioned Scott McCloud. His book was one of the core texts for my course on comics and cartoons, and it helped me how to close read, which can definitely be applied to online comics even though he focused on comics as physical objects.


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