Spring 2019 First Year Seminar
FSEM 100-59 (CRN 5451) Comics and Graphic Novels
Stories told in words and pictures go by many different names all around the world, such as comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, manga, bandes dessinées, fumetti, tebeos, comix, imagetexts, sequential art and graphic narratives. Whatever they are called, comics and their influence are everywhere-on magazine racks, online, in literary journals, in museum galleries and on movie screens. They have been used to tell the simplest of jokes, create the wildest fantasy worlds and explore the depths of the most profound human experiences. This course will examine the art form that the French call "The 9th Art" in order to: Examine how words and pictures combine to make meanings; Survey a variety of texts from different times and places; Investigate where comics have come from, where they are now, and where they might go in the future. We will work together on reading visual/verbal texts closely, on writing analytically, and on finding ideas and presenting them in class. Students will have the opportunity to design a creative project in which they make their own comic or create a work of art about comics.
Joseph "Rusty" Witek, professor of humanities, has been teaching English and Humanities courses at Stetson University since 1989. He is known as one of the first academics in the United States to focus on comics as an art form, making Stetson one of the first universities to offer regularly scheduled courses on comics and graphic novels. He has published books and articles on such topics as comics criticism and theory, autobiography and history in comics, war comics, 9/11 in comics and the fact that Donald Duck can't fly. He is presently working on a book project that examines some of the worst comics ever published.