Here are a few posts about our most recent readings.

Thierry Groensteen’s theory of braiding from The System of Comics: “Contrary to breakdown and page layout, braiding deploys itself simultaneously in two dimensions, requiring them to collaborate with each other: synchronically, that of the co-presence of panels on the surface of the same page; and diachronically, that of the reading, which recognizes in each new term of a series a recollection or an echo of an anterior term” (147).

Synchronically: for this dimension, you would use McCloud to speak about the transitions between side-by-side, adjacent panels in a tier and on a page.

Page 4 then page 23:

Diachronically: think of the recurring, almost selfsame image of the apartment in Asterios Polyp; the peaches and that fateful street corner in Jimmy Corrigan; and the floating corpses and sweating bodies in Human Diastrophism.

Bart Beaty and Nick Nguyen, who write the forward to System, write that these “non-narrative correspondences” are image-based (ix): images travel through time to unite disparate and distant events and temporalities. Braiding results in the “densification” of meaning, Groensteen says (147).

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).


Deform the earth’s crust

Here are the “previously on” summaries which were found at the start of each serialized chapter of Human Diastrophism.

Part 2: “In part one: Luba’s old flame Khamo has to Palomar. A letter to Tonantzin from Geraldo Mejia (who’s in prison) has Diana, Carmen and Pipo convinced that it’s Mejia’s fault Tonantzin’s losing her marbles.”

Part 3: “In part two: Luba and Khamo reunite in Palomar after two years and enjoy heavy duty boffing, a letter to Tonantzin from Geraldo Mejia has Diana, Carmen and Pipo convinced it’s his fault Tonantzin’s losing it, and Humberto has accidentally discovered the identity of Palomar’s mysterious serial killer…”

Part 4: “So far: Luba and Khamo have reunited after two years, only to have Pipo enter the picture; Humberto has kept mum about accidentally discovering the identity of the town’s mysterious serial killer; and has Tonantzin  gone over the deep end with a shove from the politically cock-eyed letters Geraldo Mejia wrote to her from prison?”

Part 5 (with definitions):

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.

Gabrielle Bell; open class

This Friday, March 2: papers are due, and we have our open class. Here’s what I listed for this class on the syllabus: Gabrielle Bell’s “Manifestation” (2010). Bell’s comic happens to be the opening piece in The Best American Comics 2011 anthology, edited this year by Alison Bechdel.

Please also read these quick one-page comics: “The Ultimate Graphic Novel (in Six Panels)” by David Lasky and the November 11, 2011, instalment of Jillian Tamaki’s SuperMutant Magic Academy.

Below you’ll find a poll for our open class: what under-emphasized or downright excluded topic would you like to hear about and chat about?