The Graphic Novel

The Graphic Novel

There are 36 comments on the TwinCities.com story from Mar 2, 2008, titled The Graphic Novel. In it, TwinCities.com reports that:

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Cybear

Minneapolis, MN

#1 Mar 2, 2008
Comic books have NO place in schools. That should be a 'duh'.
Bruce

Plymouth, MN

#2 Mar 3, 2008
Bwaaaa Haaaa Haaaa.
I work in HR and I can scarcely wait for one of these precious little snow flakes to submit their resume in "little comic book" form where their "words are reinforced with images."
I can assure you it will find the circular file in record time.
Mark in Saint Paul

Plymouth, MN

#3 Mar 3, 2008
Talk about the dumbing down of America.
hazelparkalum

Saint Paul, MN

#4 Mar 3, 2008
The article clearly states this class is "optional" and every student is taking traditional English at the same time.
I see this class as nothing different from the other optional opportunties in school such as cooking, art, jewelry making, etc.
It actually sounds like it is helping English Language Learners by being a stepping stone to learn and spark an interest in reading.
Cybear

Minneapolis, MN

#5 Mar 3, 2008
"optionality" is beside the point; comic books have no place in a curriculum. Nevertheless, how long will it be before this muck satisfies the 'literature' requirement?
SgtSmith

Montgomery, AL

#6 Mar 3, 2008
My sister took a similar class back in 1972. It was an elective then too. Not really a radical new idea, but if it enourages them to read and helps with the required traditional classes, then what is the problem? Check the course list for any high school and I'm sure you would find many that are a far greater waste of time.
Miss Kitty

Saint Paul, MN

#7 Mar 3, 2008
SgtSmith, dear soldier, I believe you answered your own question.
Sara DW

Inver Grove Heights, MN

#8 Mar 3, 2008
There are some extremely literary graphic novels out there--Maus for example. Yes, there's a lot of trash, but what genre doesn't have trash? I'm assuming that these teachers are clever enough to parse throught the junk and find the gems.
phil

Bloomington, IN

#10 Mar 3, 2008
I love graphic novels and believe anything that encourages kids to read is a good thing. If this class gets students to read outside of school instead of playing games on an Xbox, watching the junk on TV, or mindless surfing the Internet, then I'm all for it.

But I will say that there's a far greater need for increased emphasis on civics in school curriculums. We need a nation of critical thinkers instead of a populace of apathetic baffoons who, if they can even be bothered to do so, vote based on emotional responses to hypocritical politicians.

I would ask those of you who are simply condemning graphic novels this: "Have you ever read a graphic novel? Do you understand the difference between graphic novels and the comic books you grew up with? Are you basing your opinions on an experience with a single graphic novel?" Put some effort into finding a good graphic novel by tracking down an Eisner or Harvey Award winner and give the format a shot before you give into knee-jerk reactions that simply highlight your own closemindedness.
b smith

Saint Paul, MN

#11 Mar 3, 2008
All you educational purists are missing the important point of this article--middle school students participating in an artistic AND literary activity that engages them in higher learning.

YES, HIGHER LEARNING. This activity engages both left and right brain in creative writing, problem solving, art, repetition, and organizational skill sets.

Just because it's a departure from the dull, regurgitated educational model of your generation, doesn't mean this course isn't positively impacting the learning process for these students.

I applaud this teacher for taking a creative approach towards reading engagement through the graphic novel. Much better approach than the computer video games method.
Case of the Mondays

Minneapolis, MN

#12 Mar 3, 2008
Dag Gummit! Things is diffrnt than when I was a youngin? Ah cain't unnerstand these kids learnin stuff what innerests them. I reckon no one even learned them how to use a slide rule.
Professor Quackenbush

Titusville, FL

#13 Mar 3, 2008
ANYTHING to get them to read, because they don't know how NOW! Industry spend huge $$ on remediation -and that's for college graduates!
The fear is that they will never progress beyong this. A risk, I suppose. I read "Classics Illustrated" when I was young, and they actually made me want to read the books.
Biggest influence are Parents-wise ones (or both of them) currnetly in short supply.
peter

Saint Paul, MN

#14 Mar 3, 2008
thas pretty cool but 50 page books wow thats alot for one person.
An English Teacher

Salinas, CA

#15 Mar 3, 2008
My only problem with this article, is that it doesn't address the difference between the graphic novel and manga. The two forms are very different, and it seems as though this class is more manga oriented, which leads me to believe that there is more time spent on the images than with the words.

Earlier, someone mentioned Maus, which is one of the premier graphic novels out there. Now, if this was being taught, it could be tied into literature like Night or Diary of Anne Frank. Unfortunately, manga typically has no real literary connection, and instead is more tied into T.V. cartoons.

As an English teacher that has worked with low level readers, I like the basic idea of a graphic novel elective class, but there is no way it should ever replace a regular lit class.

One last note, it is important to remember that many graphic novels and manga have material that would be considered inappropriate for a classroom (nudity, violence).
Cybear

Minneapolis, MN

#16 Mar 3, 2008
Just read these posts and you will understand why the American system of education is failing miserably.
John

Saint Louis, MO

#17 Mar 3, 2008
I like how graphic novels don't allow the reader to visualize.

However, no one would ever think of saying that the works of Picasso, Monet, or DaVinci shouldn't be taught in schools, because artwork doesn't allow the student to visualize.

I'm not comparing Art Spiegelman to Monet, but just that the "no visualization" argument is a complete failure.

I wonder how those who feel graphic novels don't belong in school would feel about a course where film was studied. Another visual medium, but more respected. Why?

It's not the medium, it's the message.
John Serra

Plymouth, MN

#18 Mar 3, 2008
BS. It is a pass given to a generation of malcontents who don't want to learn or have not been given the proper training in English and Reading. Brief text is the way they communicate and Graphic Novels is the way they read, because they DON'T read, the look. Their brains are mush because no one has challenged them.

The only one who should use a graphic novel in school might be K-2, to ensure competence and retention of the new language. Anyone beyond that grade should be reading progressively higher forms of English text. What will they all do when they have to read Legal and Medical journals; convert them into Graphic Novels; oh I forgot, we won't be producing any Doctors or Lawyers or Engineers, because THEY CAN'T READ!

John P Serra
Writer and Author
geargab

Saint Paul, MN

#19 Mar 3, 2008
It is amazing how uninformed or apologetic everyone commenting here is. It surprises me even further that the author of the piece says that "the genre has it's limitations."

Go to a book store or library and actually look at the graphic novel section. Pick up "Palestine" by Joe Sacco, "Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel, "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi, or "Salamander Dream" by Hope Larson. Any and all of these will change your perspective on the genre.

The list of great graphic novels doesn't stop at these four. There are hundreds of great examples for all ages and tastes.

Does every different medium have to justify itself based on the opinion of people who either don't really know anything about it or don't care for it.
Dana

Anaheim, CA

#20 Mar 3, 2008
*yawn* What a tired argument. If we're going to teach (fill in the blank controversial item of the day), we might as well teach porn? I hope you really don't believe they are the same "Back When." I'm sure you would be furious if someone simplified something you cared about into such a base argument.
And I don't know how many times people need to repeat that this is not a replacement for literature and English classes. By all means, get angry if it does become a replacement. But as of now, the students must continue to fill those requirements in addition to this class. They are not being any less challenged than they would have been otherwise. In fact, they are being more engaged. Do you think they would take a second English or literature class if it weren't for the graphic novel class? I'm guessing they would be in study hall, passing notes or napping.
Yes, it's such an outrage that this class exists as an alternative.
I took many "fun" classes in high school, including creative writing (they let us break grammar rules for the sake of the story -- oh my!) and extra art classes (ones in which I could decide the type of art I was interested in focusing on, including cartoons if I so chose -- double oh my!). I also took honors and AP classes and graduated with a 4.1 GPA and went on to graduate summa cum laude in college, where I took children's literature classes at the same time I learned about Faulkner and Conrad.
Any subject can be taught in a way that is enriching and inspiring and can be adjusted to reveal new things depending on the level of the learner. This shouldn't be written off as a slacker class unless the teachers are treating their students like slackers.
Prof Rufus Firefly

Titusville, FL

#21 Mar 3, 2008
John Serra wrote:
BS. It is a pass given to a generation of malcontents who don't want to learn or have not been given the proper training in English and Reading. Brief text is the way they communicate and Graphic Novels is the way they read, because they DON'T read, the look. Their brains are mush because no one has challenged them.
The only one who should use a graphic novel in school might be K-2, to ensure competence and retention of the new language. Anyone beyond that grade should be reading progressively higher forms of English text. What will they all do when they have to read Legal and Medical journals; convert them into Graphic Novels; oh I forgot, we won't be producing any Doctors or Lawyers or Engineers, because THEY CAN'T READ!
John P Serra
Writer and Author
Outstanding, John!
It's "Rome c. 430 AD," but they don't see it. Certainly, they cannot read about it and understand.

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