Comics, International Perspectives

Summary

The course aims to give fundamental theoretical and practical knowledge of comics and visual storytelling from an international perspective. The course focuses on Franco Belgian, American, and Japanese comics cultures.
The aim of the course is to combine theory and praxis: analysis and theory with their application in visual storytelling: The course offers methods of research into cultural backgrounds, visual methods of narrating and technical production in international comics cultures. It also introduces related arts, media, and cultural theory. These theoretical and analytical findings are applied, tested and possibly expanded in a) the analysis of exemplary material but b) mainly in the active production of visual storytelling. By combining academic reflection with the production of visual storytelling tests all related assumptions on the mechanisms of graphic storytelling - it also enables the participants of the course to develop their individual storytelling and production skills further.
By researching and applying these specific cultures and their theories and methods for narrating and visualising, the foundation is laid for individual expression and style that is familiar with the international market. The course culminates in a substantial project of novel-character. The course is taught in English language.

Admission requirements

  1. Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative (KK139A) or 30 credits within media- och communication studies, culture studies, literature, graphic design, visual communication, art or equivalent.
  2. The equivalent of English B in Swedish secondary school.

Selection:

credits 32% final grades 34% national university aptitude test 34%

Syllabus

Syllabus for students spring 2018

Course Code:
KK139C revision 2.1
Level of specialisation
G1F
Main fields of study:
No main fields
Language:
English
Date of ratification:
14 November 2014
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
19 January 2015
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
14 November 2014

Entry requirements

  1. Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative (KK139A) or 30 credits within media- och communication studies, culture studies, literature, graphic design, visual communication, art or equivalent.
  2. The equivalent of English B in Swedish secondary school.

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

The course can normally be included as a part of a general degree at basic level.

Purpose

The course aims to give fundamental theoretical and practical knowledge of comics and visual storytelling and their cultural contexts. The course provides an orientation on comics focusing on Japan and South Korea, USA, and Western Europe, their audiences and existing fields of comics-research. It also discusses different forms of comics-publications and provides workshops on relevant artistic techniques. The course includes practical development of comics for a set cultural or intercultural communicative context. The course finishes with an analytical and/or project-developmental paper.

The course will be taught in English language.

Contents

The course is divided into four parts:

1. Narrative structure and visualisation, storytelling in comics, basics of comics-culture.

2. Comics-culture in different countries. Media and publishing in Europe, USA and other countries.

3. Individual project based on given cultural and/or topical background (chosen in dialogue with supervisor).

4. Comics theory, cultural theory, and graphic storytelling.

Part 1 contains a short introduction to the basics of comics and visual storytelling, starting with technical aspects, forms of narration, and artistic practice. This part of the course offers practical and theoretical issues. Students analyse and reflect on results reached and put them into relation to the course's literature/reading obligations. Comic-strips and visual material are produced experimenting with tools, styles, and construction of sequences. This part of the course develops practical competences of visual narrating, layout of individual images and picture-sequences, digitalisation, production and distribution, marketing. Results are presented in seminars.

Part 2 looks at international comics-cultures, focusing on the traditions, styles and contexts within mainly Western Europe, USA, and Japan and South Korea. It introduces the main and coming forms of publishing and distribution that are important for the different comics-cultures.

Part 3 is dedicated to one individual project that has to be developed for publication in a previously determined medium. E.g. screen or print. The topic and medium are chosen by the student in dialogue with her/his supervisor. The project-work is done independently, with limited supervision. It can be used for further analysis and development in the final paper.

Part 4 runs parallel to the entire course and consists of lectures, group-discussions, and written/drawn exercises. Theory is integrated in the practical elements and the students continuously describe their reflections and analyses in oral or/and written form. The whole course completes with a written comics-analysis or the practical development of a comic that takes cultural issues of audiences into consideration. A comics-project in the latter meaning has to include or be supplemented by written reasoning for the choice of styles, layouts, characters, lettering, etc.

Learning outcomes

KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING

After completing the course, the student should:

  • display knowledge on cultural backgrounds of comics in different cultures (1)
  • display knowledge on storytelling traditions and stereotypes in different cultures (2)
  • display knowledge on comics dramaturgies (3)
  • display knowledge on the role and importance of visual storytelling in contemporary media landscapes. (4)
  • display knowledge of relevant fields of comics-research (5)
  • display knowledge on production of a comic, from idea to published product (6)
  • display knowledge of forms of production- and publication (7)

SKILLS AND ABILITIES

After completing the course, the student should:

  • demonstrate skills in visual storytelling (8)
  • demonstrate ability to discuss and argue for ideas and resulting projects, weighing up the chosen form and content (9)
  • demonstrate ability to critically assess and analyse their own and others' work in word and writing (10)
  • demonstrate ability to develop visual narratives such as comics and/or storyboards for film, games or other visual narrative media (11)

JUDGEMENT AND VALUES

After completing the course, the student should:

  • display ability to reflect on limitations and possibilities of intercultural communication (12)
  • display ability to reflect and judge comics of their own and by others in relation to content, form, and choice of expression in word and writing (13)

Learning activities

The course depends on the students' activity and learning. Teaching forms used during the course are lectures, seminars, workshops, excursions or study visits, group work and individual projects under supervision.

Assessments

Cumulative assessment based on the following:

In part 1 the issues 6, 7 and 8 are graded by assessment of work results and written reflecions.

In part 2 the issues 1, 2, 6, 7 and 12 through written assignments and active participation in examination-seminars.

In part 3 the issues 3 and 6 through written assignments. In part 3 the issues 9, 10, 11 and 13 through individual artistic project followed by a written critical reflection, and active participation in examination-seminars.

In part 4 the issues 4, 5 and 10 through written assignment.

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials


Abel, Jessica; Matt Madden (2008): Drawing Words and Writing Pictures. New York: First Second.

Groensteen, Thierry (2007): The System of Comics. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Miller, Ann (2007): Reading Bande Dessinee. Bristol: Intellect.

Robbins, Trina (1993): A Century of Women Cartoonists. Northampton, MA: Kitchen Sink Press.

Course evaluation

Written evaluation at the end of the course.

Contact

The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the department School of Arts and Communication.

Further information

Jakob Friedrich Dittmar, Course Responsible
Phone: 040-6658043

Application

15 January 2018 - 03 June 2018 Day-time 100% Malmö

Tuition fees

for non-EU students only

First instalment: 104000 SEK
Full tuition Fee: 104000 SEK