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Facts about Fiction, Understanding the struggles of a comic book artist

By Melanie Mann
On October 3, 2012

  • English instructor Sherri Craig discussed the undervalued state of graphic novel and “adult” comic books, arguing that they too can be considered literature. Melanie Mann

On Wednesday, Sept. 26, English instructor Sherri Craig presented a lecture titled "Understanding Comics." In the lecture, Craig explained the differences between comic books and graphic novels.
According to Craig, artists in the comic book industry became frustrated by the limits of their own genre. Because cartoons were often associated with childish entertainment, artists were not taken seriously when their comics shifted from lighter subjects to more solemn ones. Craig said that Will Eisner was the first to present the graphic novel or "adult comic" to the world of literature.
"All of the artists and writers who had been working in the field of comic books for a long time had decided to come out into the world and say, 'We have more stories to tell than just superhero stories," said Craig.
Craig points out that graphic novels can be much more helpful in expressing an idea or concept than text alone. Pictures can also make the reader feel more involved, thereby making it easier for those with difficulties regarding reading comprehension. The nature of the art of comic books can be more beneficial to character and plot development as opposed to text or film.
 "In the comic book, [Iron Man] is an alcoholic, and he's constantly dealing with that... We get a little bit of that in the film, but not as much as we do in the entire run of the series," said Craig.
While comics and graphic novels are more accepted by adults in modern times, Craig suggested that many people still don't recognize graphic novels as actual works of literature.
In order to instill a higher regard and appreciation for comic books and graphic novels, Craig explained consideration for starting a class that will focus on the psychological aspects of the popular "Batman" comics.
Besides putting the art of graphic novels into perspective, this lecture served as one of many events to prepare for the arrival of graphic novelist Mat Johnson to Southeastern's campus. Johnson, author of "Incognegro" and "Dark Rain," will be coming to Southeastern on Oct. 25th to meet students, answer questions and sign books.

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