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Study Guide

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

Written by M. David Lopez Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud Directions: Using your book, notes and in small groups, discuss and arrive at conclusions to these discussion questions. Chapter 1 – Setting The Record Straight – pp. 2 What is McCloud’s dilemma regarding comics as the book begins? What’s the difference between pictures and comics? According to McCloud, why isn’t it easy to define comics? To what definition does he eventually arrive? List the ancient civilizations that had some form of comics.

Chester Brown’s Louis Riel

Written by Tom Hart Chester Brown’s commercial career began in 1986 with Yummy Fur, a series of comic pamphlets featuring his ongoing story, Ed The Happy Clown. Originally begun as a series of unrelated humorous comic pieces, Brown tied these individual strips together and continued it as a single, sprawling scatological adventure narrative involving pigmies and pigmy hunters, vampires, angels, saints, extra-dimensional travel, Frankenstein, and an other-world Ronald Reagan attached to the main character’s genitals. It was a black comedy, an understated monster epic, and vivid probing of a single creator’s subconscious through the perversions of many genres. Ed the […] Read More

Barefoot Gen Vol. 1 Study Guide

Written by Robyn Chapman Barefoot Gen Vol. 1 by Keiji NakazawaA Study Guide by Robyn Chapman1.  Gen is a Japanese name meaning “root” or “source.” Nakazawa stated, “I named my main character Gen in the hope that he would become a root or source of strength for a new generation, one that can tread the charred soil of Hiroshima barefoot, feel the earth beneath its feet, and have the strength to say ‘NO’ to nuclear weapons.” How do you feel Barefoot Gen stands up as a protest novel against war and nuclear proliferation?

Art Spiegelman’s Maus

Art Spiegleman settled upon a very simplistic drawing style to tell his story. How would this story have changed if executed in a more “realistic” style? Is the overriding metaphor of MAUS (Jews/mice, Germans/cats, etc.) pulled off successfully? Why mice? Site at least two places where the metaphor’s use is called to attention.

Joe Sacco’s Palestine

How would you describe Sacco’s artistic style? What is its most striking feature? Choose a page in the book and carefully examine Sacco’s visual strategies on that page. How does he combine words and pictures in effective ways? Be specific. What chapter or story do you find most effective? Why? Be specific. Which character do you find most memorable? Why? Be specific.

Debbie Drechsler’s Daddy’s Girl

Describe Drechsler’s artistic style. Does it complement or detract from the story content? Explain. What is your impression of Lily? What is your reaction to the graphic depiction of Lily’s abuse? Is the seriousness of the story enhanced or diminished by the comic book format? Defend your answer. How does the chapter “Marvin” differ graphically from the other stories? Is it more or less effective? Why?

Robert Crumb’s My Troubles with Women

Describe Crumb’s artistic style. What is its most striking feature? Which story in this collection do you find most effective? Why? Which story in this collection do you find least effective? Why? What do you think of Crumb? Why? Be specific and complete. What does Crumb seem to think of himself? Be specific. Are you offended by anything in this book? What, specifically? Why?

Can’t Get There from Here by Jason

YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE by Jason Introduction Jason, whose real name is John Arne Særterøy, was born in 1965 in Molde, Norway. Inspired by Belgian comics, such asTintin by Hergé and American superheroes, such as Batman and Spider-man, he began drawing comics and later publishing them in his teens. His early comics, such as the graphic novel Lomma Full av Regn (“Pocket Full of Rain“), were drawn in a representational style, which he ultimately found unsatisfying. By 1997, when he published the first issue of Mjau Mjau(“Meow Meow“), he had simplified his drawing style, and his characters began to feature the distinctive […] Read More

Locas: The Maggie And Hopey Stories by Jaime Hernandez

Introduction Comic books were in the midst of change by the early 1980s. The Marvel, DC and Archie lines were going through the same tired motions being produced by second and third generation artists and writers who grew up reading the same books they were now creating. Comic book specialty shops were growing in number and a new “non-returnable” distribution system had been created to supply them. This opened the door for publishers who had small print runs, with color covers and black and white interiors, to emerge with an alternative to corporate mainstream comics.

Buddy in Seattle by Peter Bagge

BUDDY IN SEATTLE by Peter Bagge Introduction In reference to cartooning, the terms “underground” and “alternative” are often used interchangeably, but in the case of Peter Bagge the moniker “alternative” is particularly appropriate, for no other work of printed media is more closely intertwined with the so-called “alternative” culture that emerged from the Pacific Northwest throughout the nineties than his comics series Hate, which launched as that decade began and drew to a close thirty issues later as it ended. Like his protagonist Buddy, Peter Bagge moved from the East Coast to Seattle just as that city began to emerge […] Read More