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Comics, Graphic Novels and Sequential Storytelling

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Explore the potential of sequential storytelling through comic books/graphic novels. Students will be required to produce a 4–6 page story in one of the following genres of their choice: science fiction, fantasy, noir, gothic, superhero, horror, action adventure, etc. Or, the story can be based on personal experience in the form of a memoir, diary format. The class will focus on creating a unique and personal means of expression and the students will develop a technique/style appropriate for the subject matter/genre of their story. Participation in class critiques and discussions will be an essential part of the class.

Students will be required to develop model sheets/turns of their main character(s), and environment drawings, for world building purposes, from the main scenes of their stories which will function as preproduction work for their final comic. Students can work either traditionally, i.e. pen, brush, ink water color, etc. on illustration paper or digitally. They will be required to keep a sketch book in which they’ll be tasked with doing drawings from observation in the evenings and over the weekends.

Students will be given a tour of the VCU Cabell Library Special Collections, which houses one of the most extensive collections of all things comic related on the east coast. They will also be presented with a history of the Comic Book/Strip medium through the Special Collection by the libraries Specialist for the Comic Arts, Cindy Jackson. There will also be at least one field trip to Velocity Comics, one of the most unique comic book stores in the mid-Atlantic.

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