First, here's a meme, courtesy the ever-wonderful Ragnell:
Second, some of you may know I teach college English. I'll be teaching a Composition 102 course in Winter Quarter; at this particular institution, each instructor picks his or her own theme for the class. The focus in on rhetoric, i.e., how to write well at the college level; the theme merely provides the subject matter to analyze, talk about, and respond to critically. Recent themes have included Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll; Speculative Fiction: Conscious Evolution; and Beyond Big Brother: Surveillance in the 21st Century. For this go-round, I have chosen Comics and Graphic Books: Crossing the Genres.
My idea is to read McLoud's Understanding Comics to give the class some idea of how to talk about sequential art, and then read a graphic novel or equivalent each week. (Another idea would be to start with Kavalier and Clay to position comics culturally, and not worry about doing any formalist analysis of the works themselves.) I need eight or nine titles, and I'd like them to be as diverse as possible. Here's a first stab at what I'm thinking:
Watchmen (post-modern superheroes)
Why I Hate Saturn (contemporary fiction)
Something from Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe or Action Philosophers (non-fiction)
Sacco's Palestine or Safe Area Gorazde (reportage)
Something from Age of Bronze (classics)
A Contract with God (short stories)
Enemy Ace: War in Heaven (adventure)
Remember, this isn't a class in comics; it's a writing class that will use comics as its readings. This list doesn't have to be historically important or comprehensive; the books merely need to be good. And, of course, I want to cross genres.
So, any comments or suggestions?