Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics (New York: William Morrow Paperbacks 1994) is an ingenious work of literary criticism, using the form of the comic to analyze the genre. McCloud offers a history of the genre and its sub-genres, including the so-called “graphic novel.” He also examines the range of formal technique employed by artists in the medium, paying particular attention to the relationships between text and image.
McCloud also has a great website. You should check it out if you think your research project will involve graphic narratives.
Techically, David B.’s Epileptic is graphic autobiography, though people often use the term “graphic novel” to describe it. Either way, McCloud’s ideas are helpful in figuring out how to read and analyze this dense and fascinating book. We’ll discuss some of McCloud’s strategies in class.