I finished up my Summer I Reading Graphic Novels class and I must say it was a very enjoyable class. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an upper level elective credit. This class will be offered again next summer.
My professor, Dr. Laurence E. Musgrove is a great professor. He also has his own blog, “The Illustrated Professor”, where you can find much of his work. It is obvious that this English department head has found a talent communicating in images as well as words.
He opened up a whole new genre for me in graphic novels. Before taking this class I don’t think that I would have looked twice at a graphic novel. Now, having had to read 4 of them, I can tell you that I will not only look at them twice, I will pick them up often to read. Graphic Novels, often referred by many as comics, are not children’s books. They are literary works that include autobiographical works as well as fiction.
What I learned from this genre, that I found rather refreshing, was Dr. Musgrove’s instruction to “slow down.” He told us, “You have to slow down, look at the images, what are they telling you, then read the text. As a reader you find your own response to the story.”
I like slowing down. Don’t you often find yourself in a rush to read a book, to rush past the words onto the next page? It’s like not only are we living life in the fast lane, we are also racing to finish a book. Here he told us to enjoy it, slow down and absorb the messages.
Part of the lesson objective was to learn to express ourselves visually. Less words, more images. As a final project, we were to create what he termed as a “Slice of Life.” We were to create a small brief 12 panel visual about something in our lives that we remembered and share the story through our images. Remember to read left to right.
Here is my “Slice of Life” which is a story from my childhood. Remember when everybody smoked and it was not just OK, but recommended?
And just in case you were wondering–this was a valuable lesson. My brother and I grew up as non-smokers.