1. Explore Eisner’s depiction of human bodies in either Chapter 2 (“Escapee”) or Chapter 5 (“The Black Hand”) of A Life Force. Some questions you might want to consider: how are bodies manipulated across the comics page? When does body language escape the law of the word? What roles do caricature and the grotesque play?
2. Discuss the importance of third parties in Maus by focusing on commercial dealings or mediated transactions. Choose a sequence of four to six pages. How is the social world being represented? Think about the shared architecture of a page and Spiegelman’s reliance on metaphor. Some suggested venues: Vladek’s “secret business” (pages 77-80) or the empty ghetto/bank sequence (pages 123-127).
3. Choose a sequence of four to six pages from the latter half of Jimmy Corrigan. What is Ware telling us about sensory perception and external reality? What is the relationship in your sequence between iconic shorthand and verisimilitude? It might be useful to think about Groensteen’s theory of “the page (or the double page)” as a starting point (Groensteen 130).
4. Write about the visual representation of trauma or pain in one chapter from One Hundred Demons (“Resilience” is the standout here). Some questions you might want to consider: does Barry’s strict structure limit what she can depict? How does Barry exploit gutters, closure, and subtraction? What does color add to Barry’s typically black and white work?
Or mix and match: for instance, discuss bodies in Ware or sensory perception in Barry.