ENGL 147: Comics & Graphic Novels         Winter 2010



LIT 147 meets:

Mon - Fri.                                8:30 – 9:20

Room:                                     AAA 109

Instructor:                               David Owens

e-mail:                                     [email protected]

Office:                                     101A

Phone:                                         524 - 5153

Office Hours:  Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30 - 1:30

Homepage:             http://staff.wwcc.edu/david.owens/default.htm

ANGEL:                 http://angel.waol.org/

ANGEL Help:         http://www.waol.org/general_info/help_desk.aspx


Required Texts and Materials:               

·         Barry, Lynda. One Hundred Demons.

·         Hosler, Jay. Clan Apis.

·         Moore, Alan. Watchmen.

·         Tan, Shaun. The Arrival.



Classroom Discussion                                     100 points

Interactive Reading Journal                                        300 points

Autobiographical Demon                                              30 points

Analysis of Graphic Short or Excerpt             100 points

Group Comic Project                                                  100 points

Quizzes (7)                                                                    70 points


Total                                                                            700 points


·         Attendance and Participation: Discussion and participation is essential for a literature class. It is your responsibility to create and take advantage of this community of readers, thinkers and writers by coming prepared every day to class having read and thought about the material we are discussing, contributing to class discussion and being respectful, thoughtful and responsive listeners. I expect that you will contribute something to class discussion nearly every day. I may sometimes call on people randomly to volunteer comments, but it will be your responsibility to make sure you are contributing to our daily discussions, even if you are only asking questions. Failure to participate can significantly lower your grade. You can earn up to four points per day for coming to class, asking appropriate questions and contributing thoughtful responses (up to 115 points for the quarter). You will lose two points for each day you are absent.

·         Classroom Discussion: Discussions will go smoothly if we tend to stick closely to the text. They are very rich and complex all by themselves and don’t usually need much assistance from outside sources or comparisons, so we will hopefully keep those tangents to a minimum. I am also aware that talking in class comes more easily to some than to others, so students who fail to earn points in the classroom can make them up by writing more on the discussion boards. I will try to give weekly participation grade updates on Angel so that we can both keep track of your level of total participation.

This might be a good point to mention something about the "graphic" nature of the readings in a graphic novels course. If this is something that concerns you, please read this brief explanation/justification. If you have an extremely strong objection to some of the material, then you can probably get by without reading certain materials and just commenting more extensive on our other text. My grading of you online journal is pretty flexible.

·         Online Reading Journal: You are expected to write 3 substantial paragraphs about our readings and discussions every week that we hold class. I will evaluate your contribution at the end of each week and assign you up to 30 points. Part of the purpose of this exercise is to make sure you are keeping up with the reading, so you may not make up points for previous weeks by writing on a previous week’s topics or earn more than 30 points per week by writing more paragraphs, though you may want to write 4 paragraphs in a week to make sure you have contributed enough to earn your full 30 points. If you are unable to contribute to the weekly on-line discussion for whatever reason, you may submit your journal pages weekly to me on paper or e-mail, but it will be much better to contribute to an online discussion.

o   The best journals will:

§  Contain at least 5 compound/complex sentences per paragraph

§  Reflect an accurate reading of the text and make a specific reference to it

§  Be thoughtful rather than casual, perfunctory, slap-dash or merely humorous

§  Be clear, effectively worded, polite and academic

§  Attempt to use literary terms to ask questions or explain something about the text

If you fall behind on the Discussion Board, I will allow you to write ONE make-up essay about one of our texts that can be worth up to 100 points (three weeks' worth of posts). Be warned, however, that I have higher expectations for essays than I do of forum posts, so don't count on getting the full 100 points unless you write an extremely original and exciting essay.

·         Analysis of a Comic: These will be brief oral presentations about a comic from one of the anthologies I have placed on reserve in the library. You will limit your presentation to a 3-4 minute report discussing such things as genre, characters, plot, themes, symbolism, level of representation, panel transitions, etc. The more terms and concepts you can fit in the better. Your presentation should be accompanied by a one page (can be double-sided) handout (or brief power-point presentation) that records the essential information in your presentation and contains at least one graphic element. Your analysis should also be posted on the forum for discussion. After your presentation, we can allow up to three minutes for questions.

·         Group Comic Project: Near the end of the quarter, you will be putting everything you know about graphic narrative into practice by creating one of your own. We will talk about the size of groups we will be divided up into, but I am open to having the whole class working on the same comic, which is what happened last year. My only requirement is that the whole group decides on plot, theme, characters and style. I also want each student to contribute the same number of pages. And I don't need to hear about a lack of artistic ability. Stick figure representation has become a pretty legitimate style choice. This comic will be accompanied by a written reflection on the process and your thoughts on what you thought the group was trying to accomplish with the comic.

·         Reading Quizzes: We will have 7 online quizzes, worth 10 points each, over the reading for the previous two weeks, often applying our literary concepts to them. You will usually have two or three days to attempt a quiz up to three times, and you will receive feedback after each attempt telling you which questions you got right and wrong. It is to your advantage to attempt the quiz early and use the forum to talk about questions that are stumping you. Treat it as a learning tool and use the quizzes to help you look more deeply into the text. Quizzes cannot be made up after they are given, so please arrange your schedule so that you don't miss any.

·         Evaluation: Your final grade will be calculated as a straight ratio of points earned to points possible and translated into a letter grade based on a fairly generous scale. In order to calculate your letter grade at any given point in the quarter (or on any particular assignment), simply divide your current points by the points possible, multiply the result by 100 and consult this chart.

·         Contacting the Instructor: The best way to contact me, at any time of day, is to email me at [email protected]. I check this e-mail address several times a day and, if I am in front of my computer, I am alerted when an e-mail arrives. Therefore, responses to your e-mails can sometimes be instantaneous. At any reasonable time of day, you can usually get a response from me within two hours, if it is clear that a response is called for.

I usually check my campus e-mail a few times each week. It is not the best way to contact me or submit late assignments.

During my office hours, I can be reached at 524 - 5153. At other times of day, you can leave a message at this number, but I usually only remember to check my messages once a week, so it is ALWAYS better to e-mail me a quick message at [email protected]

·         Disabilities Policy: If you have a disability and need accommodations, please see the instructor after class or contact Claudia Angus, Coordinator of Disability Support Services at 527-4262 or 527-4543.


Check out the tentative and extremely malleable Reading Schedule