The second quiz

Hi, folks.

Strike accommodations for the second quiz are as follows. I extend the offer to everyone enrolled: if you absent yourself from the quiz this Wednesday, March 21, then I will automatically give you the same mark you received on the first quiz. I do not need a reason for your absence.

If you would like to write the quiz next Wednesday, then you have the option of either improving your mark or getting the same mark as the first. If you score lower on Quiz 2 than you did on Quiz 1, then I will give you the Quiz 1 mark. You cannot do worse on Quiz 2.

The quiz will occur after our second lecture on Asterios Polyp. You will have 20 minutes. Once again, the format is multiple choice plus short answer.

The multiple choice will flow as follows:
1) Question about a key distinction in John Berger’s essay. (This will be obvious.)
2) Question about a character’s actions or relationships in Human Diastrophism (ie. Which daughter of Luba’s was fathered by Heraclio?)

1 and 2 will show me that you are doing the readings. Then I will give you a sequence of panels from Human Diastrophism.

3) Question about form (ie. transitions).
4) Question about form (ie. icons).

And finally you will have to write 100-150 words to answer a specific question about that same Human Diastrophism sequence.

I hope this is agreeable, “true believers” (cf. Stan Lee).


Essay instructions; late submissions

Download essay prompts and sample essay.

Choose one of the following topics, and write a 750-900 word argumentative essay. No introductions are permitted except for a one- or two-sentence thesis statement. A clear, concise thesis should draw attention to the following:

a) The problem or issue that you want to explore.
b) Why the problem or issue is important and interesting.

This assignment asks that you unpack how form and content interact in a short sequence. How you use evidence from the text will make your argument persuasive, and how you write (logically, grammatically) will make your argument coherent.

NEW!: Since you cannot be expected to notice every detail of every panel, you will need to be selective. I will do my best to understand why you have emphasized detail x over y, and how well you can account for what you are noticing.

Each topic provides you with, or asks you to provide, a manageable venue in which to conduct your analysis. You might need to do some contextual groundwork in your paper, if only to situate where your venue occurs in relation to the whole (ie. after the jacket incident).

Secondary sources are not required for this assignment because your space is limited. If you use an outside source, you must take care to do justice to the other person’s words. Do not simply bring in a snippet of a critic’s opinion so that you can effortlessly knock it down. Using a concept from McCloud or one of the other theorists from the coursepack is okay, as long as you cite who said what where.

All papers require MLA formatting and citation (7th ed). Please familiarize yourself with the University’s policy on academic integrity:

Papers must be submitted in lecture on Friday, March 2, 2012. Late papers will lose 2% a day, including both days of the weekend. No essays will be accepted more than two weeks after the due date.

NEW!: If you are unable to submit your paper on time, you can email a copy of your paper to me at jgaboury at alcor dot concordia dot ca, so that I will have a record of your submission. Emailers must also submit a paper copy as soon as possible: please slip a paper copy of your paper into my mailbox in the English department (GABOURY, J) on the sixth floor of the LB building.

Good luck.

The essay: venues

A gentle reminder:

If you are writing about pageless Jimmy Corrigan, try to be as clear as possible about when your sequence starts and ends, such as “I will be looking at James’ visit to the White City, from the full-page panorama to the final image, five pages later, of James in a nightshirt.”

You may footnote this description if you find it too clunky.

You could also add an appendix with a scan of the first panel/page. See the sample essay for an example.

MLA presentation

When you take a look at the sample essay, you’ll notice some absences: no underlines, no bold, no title page. Everything on your page should be double-spaced to the same degree: no extra spaces between paragraphs or before and after your title. Center your title, but don’t advertise. Last name + page number continues onto your works cited page, and please remember to change the font and font size up there to match the rest of your paper.

Here are two scans from A Canadian Writer’s Reference guide by Diana Hacker for you to use as one more exemplar:

The essay

Two new downloads: a sample essay and the essay topics. I’ve pasted the topics in the post below. Make sure you read the instructions for this assignment on the first page of the essay topics pdf.


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.