Those who have dropped by my office in the last few months will have been bored by my incessant chatter about the value of graphic novels. The main reason for my interest is that one of my MA in Higher Education Practice assignments involves this format as part of the assessment, and there is an academic value to working with images in education.
So what’s the big deal? Well, for me, drawing is not just putting pencil to paper, it is about drawing on memories of events, emotions, people and things. An excellent example is Art Spiegelman’s Maus (Spiegelman 2011). The great thing about the page of the graphic novel is the layout: panels and spaces between panels. These influence how we view the narrative (McCloud 1994, 94-117), but take a step back from a specific panel and our brains do some amazing things with words and images. The open awareness of our visual field synthesizes the images and text much more rapidly than reading alone (Sousanis 2015, 61-67), so we see both sequentially and simultaneously. This is great for thinking holistically about your research, teaching and learning in general. Try it. You might like it!
- McCloud, S. 1994. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: HarperCollins.
- Sousanis, N. 2015. Unflattening. Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press.
- Spiegelman, A. 2011. MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus. London: Viking.