View Full Version : Writing a paper for English comics
02-13-2007, 07:01 AM
Hey guys right now i'm in college and for my english class i have to write two research papers. One an informative synthesis and the other an argumentative. I have decided to write about comics/graphic novels. I have a topic about for the argumentative paper(Why comics should be taken seriously/comics as a literary form kinda theme) but i am having trouble coming up with the informative synthesis paper. Our instructor said that our papers should be related to our major and my major is anthropology. I was thinking about writing about the perception of comics in the american society but i couldnt find the resources(like websites and or books). If any of you can help me with a better topic or recommend some books/sites about perception of comics i would greatly appreciate it.
02-13-2007, 07:25 AM
Ok. Here's a rather long list. Rather than buying things, I think it'd maybe make sense to see if your university can get these through interlibrary loans.
For the argumentative paper:
The Aesthetics of Comics
Pennsylvania State University Press (March 2000)
ISBN: 027101962X (hc)
ISBN: 0271021888 (pb)
Scott McCloud, Mark Martin (Editor)
Kitchen Sink Press (August 1993)
ISBN: 0878162445 (hc)
ISBN: 006097625X (pb)
How to Read Superhero Comics and Why
Continuum Pub Group (October 2002)
Graphic Novels: Everything You Need To Know
Collins Design (November 2005)
Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium
Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester, editors
University Press of Mississippi (2004)
Some ideas for the anthropological essay. If you wanted to do something on comics fandom, you could check out:
Comic Book Culture: Fanboys and True Believers
Matthew J. Pustz
University Press of Mississippi (December 1999)
Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America
Bradford W. Wright
Johns Hopkins University Press (2001)
If you wanted to do something on the perception of comics by others (which may tie into the research you do for the first paper), you should try:
Seduction of the Innocent
Seduction of the Innocent Revisited: Comic Books Exposed
Huntington House Publishers (1990)
Bad Language, Naked Ladies, and Other Threats to the Nation: A Political History of Comic Books in Mexico
Duke UP (1998)
ISBN: 0-8223-2108-4 (hc)
ISBN: 0-8223-2141-6 (sc)
If you want to do something on the anthropological roots of sequential art as a storytelling device, revisit McCloud for earlier examples of the form.
What are your other interests in anthropology? That might help steer things.
02-13-2007, 07:58 AM
I would also recommend:
El comic hispanico by Ana Merino (if you can read Spanish)
The System of Comics by Thierry Groensteen (mostly concerned with form rather than culture, but it could still be helpful)
Seal of Approval: The History of the Comics Code by Amy Kiste Nyberg
Also, the CBR poster stealthwise studies both comics and anthropology, so maybe he would have some helpful suggestions.
02-13-2007, 12:18 PM
For the anth one, I'd recommend expanding out of just the comic-specific books and getting some things like The Cultural Studies Reader.
02-13-2007, 02:52 PM
Thank you all for your replies. Ed a few of the local libraries carry most of the books that you have mentioned. I will definately check them out and see what kind of information they have. I want to explore the anthropological roots of sequential art as a medium of story telling. So i will definately check out the understanding comics book.
02-13-2007, 03:47 PM
You might also want to check out media representations in anthropology and how anthropology fits into that context as well. Not sure what year your course is, but it's useful to further explore some of the anth theory and methods that you can use.
02-13-2007, 06:12 PM
just put in random wacked ass Grant Morrison quotes.
In all honesty I would quote him on some of things he says.
here's a good start
02-13-2007, 06:23 PM
And, depending on length, if you need someone to look your paper over, I may have time, depending on when it's due.
02-15-2007, 09:24 PM
Stealthwise the english course is about writing/doing research papers. Only two papers for that class and i would say that the course is semi-intermediate. Something a sophmore, or a really smart freshman, would take in a university.
StrikeForce i'll try my best to include any relevant Grant Morrison's whack quotes but no promises ^_^
Thanks a lot Ed for offering to proof reading my paper. It is supposed to be 5-7 pages in length. I'll definately take you up if you think the paper wont be too long.
I started reading 'Understanding comics' and the way the book is presented is exactly the way i was planning to lay out my paper. You know starting with the early murals/paintings which depict actual events and then working my way up the timeline.
02-15-2007, 10:05 PM
I'd go even further back and talk about cave paintings
03-01-2007, 06:38 PM
Punch i considered talking about cave paintings in my paper too but after i read the first chapter of Scott Mc Cloud's Understanding Comics i decided to skip them over. The reason being that they dont fit in the definition of comics(as stated by Scott in the book). I'll be working with that definition in my paper. The definition of comics given was juxtaposed pictorial and other images in delibrate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in viewers. So while cave paintings may convey information and/or produce an aesthetic response they are in a delibrate sequence(as far as i know about cave paintings if someone here knows of any cave paintings that fit the definition feel free to post).
The theme of my paper is going to be cultural/historical events potrayed in comic books. So far i've gotten a lot of information from Wright's Comic book nation(i think this book was actually written as a thesis paper by wright for his phd in philosophy or something because i found the paper online). I was wondering if you guys can suggest some of the current social/cultural/historical issues in the modern comics. There are some obvious ones like Civil War, DMZ, Testament etc. can you guys give me some more examples. One of the examples that i would like to give is of the Afghani X-men, Sooraya Qadir, and her introduction into the x-men a year after the 9/11 attacks. And was there any introduction of German and/or Japanese hero characters during WWII?
I really appreciate everyone's responses.
03-01-2007, 07:51 PM
Punch i considered talking about cave paintings in my paper too but after i read the first chapter of Scott Mc Cloud's Understanding Comics i decided to skip them over. The reason being that they dont fit in the definition of comics(as stated by Scott in the book). I'll be working with that definition in my paper.
Just keep in mind that Scott's definition is debatable, and there are comics theorists who disagree with him on this point. I suggest you read this page (http://www.hicksville.co.nz/Inventing%20Comics.htm) for Dylan Horrocks's critique of Scott's theory, and also that you look into Thierry Groensteen's The System of Comics for an alternative perspective on comics.
03-13-2007, 02:36 PM
Thanks for the interesting counter to Scott's defintion SirTimDrake. I mentioned the contention to Scott's definition in my paper. Well its all done and was turned in last week. I might get it today. Fingers Crossed. Now i have to start on my argumentative paper.
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