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This Book Contains Graphic Language looks at different literary forms and genres—including journalism, fiction, memoirs, and film—in relation to their comic book counterparts. By demonstrating the ways in which comic books (and graphic novels) both reflect upon, and expand the boundaries of literature, Rocco Versaci demonstrates tha <span style="font-style: italic;">This Book Contains Graphic Language</span> looks at different literary forms and genres—including journalism, fiction, memoirs, and film—in relation to their comic book counterparts. By demonstrating the ways in which comic books (and graphic novels) both reflect upon, and expand the boundaries of literature, Rocco Versaci demonstrates that comics have earned the right to be taken just as seriously as any other literary form.<br />As comics and graphic novels become more popular than ever, literary critics are finding that they now have a new subject to examine. But while many advocates of the medium maintain that comics are a true art form, there have been no detailed comparisons among comics and "legitimate" types of literature. Filling this void, This Book Contains Graphic Language examines different literary forms in relation to their comic book counterparts. These literatures include prose memoir, Holocaust memoir, journalism, film, and-for lack of a better term-the "classics." Each richly-illustrated chapter outlines the key issues of one of these forms and then explores how comic books have been able to reflect and expand upon those issues in unique ways. <br /><br />The comics discussed include Eightball by Daniel Clowes, Love and Rockets by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, American Splendor by Harvey Pekar, Maus by Art Spiegelman, Palestine by Joe Sacco, Frontline Combat and Two-Fisted Tales from EC Comics, Sandman by Neil Gaiman and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore.  By examining the ways in which these and other comic books and graphic novels expand the boundaries of literature, English professor Rocco Versaci demonstrates that the medium of comics has earned the right to be regarded as an important artistic and literary form.<br />>


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This Book Contains Graphic Language looks at different literary forms and genres—including journalism, fiction, memoirs, and film—in relation to their comic book counterparts. By demonstrating the ways in which comic books (and graphic novels) both reflect upon, and expand the boundaries of literature, Rocco Versaci demonstrates tha <span style="font-style: italic;">This Book Contains Graphic Language</span> looks at different literary forms and genres—including journalism, fiction, memoirs, and film—in relation to their comic book counterparts. By demonstrating the ways in which comic books (and graphic novels) both reflect upon, and expand the boundaries of literature, Rocco Versaci demonstrates that comics have earned the right to be taken just as seriously as any other literary form.<br />As comics and graphic novels become more popular than ever, literary critics are finding that they now have a new subject to examine. But while many advocates of the medium maintain that comics are a true art form, there have been no detailed comparisons among comics and "legitimate" types of literature. Filling this void, This Book Contains Graphic Language examines different literary forms in relation to their comic book counterparts. These literatures include prose memoir, Holocaust memoir, journalism, film, and-for lack of a better term-the "classics." Each richly-illustrated chapter outlines the key issues of one of these forms and then explores how comic books have been able to reflect and expand upon those issues in unique ways. <br /><br />The comics discussed include Eightball by Daniel Clowes, Love and Rockets by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, American Splendor by Harvey Pekar, Maus by Art Spiegelman, Palestine by Joe Sacco, Frontline Combat and Two-Fisted Tales from EC Comics, Sandman by Neil Gaiman and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore.  By examining the ways in which these and other comic books and graphic novels expand the boundaries of literature, English professor Rocco Versaci demonstrates that the medium of comics has earned the right to be regarded as an important artistic and literary form.<br />>

30 review for This Book Contains Graphic Language: Comics as Literature

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sue Thornquist

    More like a 3.5. The writing is first-rate, very enjoyable with a personal style--often anecdotal, conversational--and very articulate. I am not too familiar with many of the examples Rocco (and yes I can call him that b/c he's a former student of mine, one with whom I've kept in touch!)uses but it made me want to check them out. I was using the text as a reference for teaching American Born Chinese in my h.s. Honors English class and Stitches in my Film course, and it wasn't as instructive from More like a 3.5. The writing is first-rate, very enjoyable with a personal style--often anecdotal, conversational--and very articulate. I am not too familiar with many of the examples Rocco (and yes I can call him that b/c he's a former student of mine, one with whom I've kept in touch!)uses but it made me want to check them out. I was using the text as a reference for teaching American Born Chinese in my h.s. Honors English class and Stitches in my Film course, and it wasn't as instructive from a teaching standpoint apart from a couple ideas I will incorporate in my units. I came into the text already feeling the power of graphic novels, but am gaining a different historical and cultural perspective. Am enjoying the read and proud of the author!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dominick

    This is a decent if unspectacular apologia for comics. The title makes Versaci's thesis clear, but for anyone who missed it, he's careful to repeat rather more than necessary that "comics can do x and medium y can't, therefore comics have literary merit." It's not exactly a deep argument, and one can quarrel with the necessity of even making it, I think; do comics have to be "literature" any more than, say, film (one of his other comparators) does, in order to have artistic merit? The thesis occ This is a decent if unspectacular apologia for comics. The title makes Versaci's thesis clear, but for anyone who missed it, he's careful to repeat rather more than necessary that "comics can do x and medium y can't, therefore comics have literary merit." It's not exactly a deep argument, and one can quarrel with the necessity of even making it, I think; do comics have to be "literature" any more than, say, film (one of his other comparators) does, in order to have artistic merit? The thesis occasionally leads Versaci into absurdly overstated claims, as when he argues that the Tom Mandrake-illustrated Classics Illustrated version of Hamlet can achieve effects impossible in the theatre. Yes, but so what? Does that make a comics version better than a performed version, in which all sorts of nuances not possible in comics can be used? It's cherry-picking, special pleading, call it what you will, and rather beside the point. Nevertheless, Versaci does have a refreshing enthusiasm for comics, and he offers several very interesting sections, especially in some of the historical context ones (e.g. when he compares 1940s/1950s war films and comics, explaining why the comics generally had more room for subversive takes on the subject than the films did). His style is easily accessible for non-academic readers, as well, which really should be the case for more academic books than it is. Comics enthusiasts and comics scholars alike ought to find at least something useful here.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    2/19/07 This is a title I got from the Continuum catalog at NY Comic Con last year and it just came to me today after being processed. 3/5/08 Just finished reading this during Homework Center duty and while I ate dinner. The first chapter and the last chapter were very helpful with my upcoming presentation. Some of the middle stuff about comics and war, for example, didn't interest me as much because I am not familiar with the comics he refers to but the section on GN memoirs was fascinating and 2/19/07 This is a title I got from the Continuum catalog at NY Comic Con last year and it just came to me today after being processed. 3/5/08 Just finished reading this during Homework Center duty and while I ate dinner. The first chapter and the last chapter were very helpful with my upcoming presentation. Some of the middle stuff about comics and war, for example, didn't interest me as much because I am not familiar with the comics he refers to but the section on GN memoirs was fascinating and it got me to read Alison Bechdel's wonderfully poignant "Fun Home" for the first time last week. Aside from a few obvious typos, Versaci's book is a good one and it's great reading a book about GNs that refers to newer titles that are still in print. Part of the problem I found over the past few years is that books or articles would mention these awesome books and then I would find that they were no longer available!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I'll confess, I was hoping for more discussion of superhero comics. >_< Which makes me feel guilty, because the book's clearly-stated intention is to argue that comics are capable of being literature like any other form of expression. Thus the author spends a great deal of time on Love and Rockets, Maus, and Ghost World and other similar Serious Graphic Novels. Thus, an interesting and illuminating read--just not quite what I was in the mood for at the moment. I'll confess, I was hoping for more discussion of superhero comics. >_< Which makes me feel guilty, because the book's clearly-stated intention is to argue that comics are capable of being literature like any other form of expression. Thus the author spends a great deal of time on Love and Rockets, Maus, and Ghost World and other similar Serious Graphic Novels. Thus, an interesting and illuminating read--just not quite what I was in the mood for at the moment.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I enjoyed this. It's definitely not a light read, but it is a thought-provoking one. There were times I sort of felt hit over the head by Versaci's thesis (okay, I get it, comics are literature, comics can do things text-based works can't), but the argument he makes is relevant and important. I also have a whole new list of types of comics I had never been exposed to and that I'm curious to find more about, so that's a success, too.

  6. 5 out of 5

    secondwomn

    probably really a 3.5, but i'm ok with bumping this one up slightly. accessible academic writing about comics compared to an array of topics (memoir, film, literature). a bit repetitive (i get it, comics do things that "prose only can't do"), but the examples are well chosen and illustrated and versaci's mix of popular and lesser-known works is refreshing.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    I previously took a class on the literacy of sequential art. I saw this at the library and picked it up. I like how it explains the benefits and unique communication style of sequential art. It explains that this is not a lesser medium, but a different medium. Good read for an academic book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David

    A powerful exploration of the literary merit of graphic novels.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    An interesting book that calls for the cannon and people in general to take comic/graphic novels more seriously as literature

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adam Bessie

    Very thorough job of demonstrating comics as a legit art form.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Aleta Fera

    This book should have been a homerun for me, as I like lit and comics. Stopped reading halfway through the first chapter...how he manages to make comics boring takes a special talent.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kaisha

    This is an interesting scholarly monograph on the importance and impact of comic books/graphic novels, highly recomend it to anyone who has even a passing interest these.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Henrik Harbin

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Mellor

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leah

  17. 4 out of 5

    Allison

  18. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karna Mustaqim

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kenna Day

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  22. 5 out of 5

    Geert Vandermeersche

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andriana

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Williamson

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gemma

  28. 5 out of 5

    stevie

  29. 5 out of 5

    John

  30. 5 out of 5

    Audrey Snowden

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