The world of visual storytelling, graphic stories and comics reminds me of an amazing maze where you turn a corner and stumble upon fascinating combinations of visual and verbal elements. Understanding the various forms of this medium is like playing with chemistry, the combination of different elements can create a unique product where the content and form work more intensely together, letting us explore them both separately and in interaction. In the multimodal world of graphic novels, comic books and cartoons we need to activate our meaning-making skills on multiple levels.
There are numerous important associations, festivals and organizations of comic books and graphic novels to help us learn more about the genres and their subgenres. We have collected some of the major websites to help you navigate and inspire your students to read more comics (you may need to call them graphic novels in order to convince parents and department heads 🙂 ) in English.
Basic information, centres, organizations
- Read about the History and Basics of Graphic Novels on the ipl2 website
- The Belgian Comic Strip Center
- Angoulême International Comics Festival
- Lucca Comics & Games
- Mantova Comics and Games
- Romics in Rome
- Komik Festiwal in Lodz, Poland
- London Film & Comic Con
- Festival Internacional de Quadrinhos in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
- New York Comic Con
- Comiket in Japan
- FACTS in Ghent, Belgium
If you want to do some serious research…
- Yale University Library Media, Popular Culture, and Communication Rights Research Guide
- New York University Libraries: Graphic Novels and Comics
- Courera Course by the University of Colorado: Comic Books and Graphic Novels
We also think that a great way of learning about genres is analyzing, deconstructing and then reconstructing them (following the principles of the genre-based learning cycle). Creating comics in class can be an engaging way of learning. Show your students some home-made cartoons, and then ask them to prepare their own stories. They will need to take their own photos, edit and cut them, and use online comic creators to build their own panels and add their narration boxes and bubbles.
Experiment with these applications and websites:
- Marvel Games
- Etchings for iPhone
- Comic Book for iPhone
Is there a comic festival in your country? What comics do your students read?
Check out the Helbling Readers Graphic Stories here.
Visit our previous post on Graphic stories in education here.