"A comic book can be true!?!" | Newberry

"A comic book can be true!?!"

Considering Non-fiction Comics
Wednesday, February 25, 2015

9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Dr. Ji-Hyae Park, Roosevelt University
Wait list only
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

While the term “non-fiction comics” may not be familiar, you have likely heard of the following comics, even though they are often referred to as “graphic novels”: Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and, of course, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, to name a few. In fact, Maus was originally filed under “fiction” on the New York Times Bestseller list, until Spiegelman protested and it was subsequently placed under non-fiction. This error reveals perhaps the preconceiving notion that comics are necessarily fictional, maybe because of its historical association with exaggeration or fantasy. On the other hand, the confusion over categorizing comics as fiction or non-fiction might also suggest some confusion over how we distinguish them. The Common Core State Standards also designate texts as either “literary” or “Informational,” which seems to suppose that a text is either one or the other. In this seminar, we will investigate what comics reveal about the distinctions between fiction and non-fiction and how they relate to our conception(s) of truth, literature, and information. We will also explore how these categories have shaped the way comics are made, received, and publicized, especially with the cultural acceptance of the term, “graphic novel,” despite its potential to produce misunderstanding. It is no coincidence that the most well-known non-fiction comics are book-length autobiographies, but this does not represent the breadth and diversity of non-fiction genres in comics, which will be highlighted in the seminar. Finally, we will consider how specific non-fiction comics may be used effectively in the classroom for both “literary” and “informational” purposes.

Cost and Registration Information 

Registration for all Newberry Teachers’ Consortium seminars opens September 4, 2014.

For NTC registration information, please contact Charlotte Ross at rossc@newberry.org.