Saturday, July 29, 2017

Graphic Novels into Film

(from V for Vendetta, Moore & Lloyd, 1988)

Course Description:
This course examines cinematic adaptations of literary texts alongside the literature itself. Class discussions will emphasize the formal characteristics of the works, their aesthetic and thematic importance, and the interpretive questions raised by the act of adaptation. This semester we will take five graphic novels as our focus.

(from Uzumaki, Higunchinsky, 2000)

Contact Info:
Prof. Jay McRoy
CART 228
Office Hours: W 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm (or by appointment)

Required Texts:

(from Blue is the Warmest Color, Maroh, 2010)

Course Guidelines and Expectations:
1) Come to class
2) Come to class on time
3) Turn your work in on time
4) Respect your fellow students


Class Attendance & Participation
3 Critical Microthemes/Brief Essays (600 words - 30% each for a total of 90%. A successful microtheme presents an argument about a topic or question as clearly, precisely, and concisely as possible. Do not worry about elaborate introductions or conclusions. Successful microthemes resemble detailed abstracts or, perhaps even more accurately, outlines created in sentence and paragraph form, with transition statements linking the main and supporting points of your argument. A successful microtheme does the following:

1. Includes a very brief 1-2 sentence introduction that includes a thesis statement an sets up an organizational plan;   
2. Includes clear supporting paragraphs that provide specific textural evidence to support your claims;
3. Is comprised of thoughtful, clear, and direct prose;
4. Is double-spaced;
5. Is free of grammar and other surface mistakes (i.e. spelling and syntax errors).

Given the rigid word limit, narrowing your micro theme to 600 words may prove challenging. If you are new to writing critically about film or simply wish to refine your skills, I can think of few better texts than Timothy Corrigan's A Short Guide to Writing about Film; this book is a terrific resource and is readily available online in both new and used editions.

Microtheme Prompt #1: Select one page from Alan Moore and David Lloyd's V for Vendetta (1988) and analyze it using the critical concepts that Scott McCloud discusses in Understanding Comics (1993). When discussing your selected page, explain how its form works in relation to its content. As you explore this page, you will want to pay close attention to elements such as: page layout; frame design and its implications; panel-to-panel transitions, word and picture combinations; and color. Remember, it is not enough to explain HOW the page layout works; you must also explain WHY it functions as it does. 

Microtheme Prompt #2: Select one of the graphic novels we have read so far this semester (i.e. V for Vendetta [Moore & Lloyd, 1998], Ghost World [Clowes, 1997], or Persepolis [Satrapi, 2000]), and discuss a particularly noteworthy transformation, elision, or addition that transpires during the adaptation process. As you write, note how the particular adaptive strategy you select either results in a compelling revisitation of the source text’s specific style and themes, or contributes to the creation of a cinematic work that has its very own specific aesthetic and thematic agenda. 

Microtheme Prompt #3: What makes for a successful film adaptation? Select the film adaptation you found most successful and explain why (and how) it succeeds. In the process, analyze a particularly illustrative scene or sequence, explaining how it constitutes an example of a successful adaptation.
Statement on Plagiarism:
The English Department at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside has a very explicit Plagiarism Policy. This policy can be found HERE. It is every student's responsibility to become familiar with this policy. Of course, if you are unsure whether something you wrote constitutes plagiarism, please speak with me BEFORE (or even AS) you hand in your work.

(from Ghost World, Clowes, 1997)

Semester Breakdown:

Week One (9/11): Introduction

(Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics)

("Hellboy 2004 & Scott McCloud's Guide to Understanding Comics")

Week Two (9/18): Understanding Comics I
          Read through Chapter 5

(Nerdwriter, "The Treachery of Images")

(An AP Student's Video Analysis of Spiegelman's Maus, 1991)

Week Three (9/25): Understanding Comics II
          Finish book

(Alan Moore on Hard Talk, 2012)

(Alan Moore on V for Vendetta)

("Anarchism: A History")

Week Four (10/2): V for Vendetta (Moore & Lloyd, 1988)
Week Five (10/9): V for Vendetta (McTeigue, 2005)
          Microtheme 1 Due
Week Six (10/16): Ghost World (Clowes, 1997)

(David Foster Wallace on Irony)

Week Seven (10/23): Ghost World (Zwigoff, 2001)
Week Eight (10/30): Persepolis (Satrapi, 2003)

(Marjane Satrapi)

Week Nine (11/6):  Persepolis (Paronnaud & Satrapi, 2007)

(Marjane Satrapi on Persepolis)

(Persepolis: The Making Of)

Week Ten (11/13):  Blue is the Warmest Color (Maroh, 2010)
          Microtheme 2 Due
Week Eleven (11/20): Blue is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013; NB - Because Blue is the Warmest Color is three hours long, class will run late.)

(Critical Analysis: Blue is the Warmest Color)

(Lesbians React to Sex Scenes in Blue is the Warmest Color)

(Film Analysis: Blue is the Warmest Color)

(Commentary: Blue is the Warmest Color)

NB: On this day, our class will meet in CART/RITA 130.
Week Twelve (11/27): Uzumaki (Ito, 1998-1999)

(Jump Ito: Spiral into Horror)

Week Thirteen (12/4):  Uzumaki (Higunchinsky, 2000)

(On Fibonacci)

(Places you will find "The Golden Ratio" & "The Golden Rectangle")

("Funky Monkey Ladies" - Piggy Banks)

("Smokin' Billy" - Thee Michelle Elephant Gun)

("Get Up Lucy" - Thee Michelle Elephant Gun)

("Clever Sleazed" - Dir En Gray)

("Listen to Me" - Kyo)

("Go All the Way" - Valentine D.C.)

(LeChat Wake Up Soon! Teaser)

***Final Microtheme due in my office (CART 228) by 5:00 pm on Friday 12/8.***