Changing of the format

The world as we know it changes rapidly every second as it spins around its axis. Its course dictates where we as humans go. From how humans think or what we feel on a day-to-day basis. In comics it reciprocates those changes. Coming from humans that gain extraordinary powers from freak scientific accidents. With aliens that have to assimilate to life on earth because their powers were a birthright given to them.

A writer internalizes these things that happen in our lives and bears them between the lines for us to read. Most literary works have been solely dominated by the words but that has been changing with the popularity of graphic novels. It focuses not one the words that reader absorbs but a compliment of striking images that jump off the page as well. As told to Time magazine by Will Eisner ‘So over the years literary and film work has helped develop stereotypes for our society. I think that becomes a responsibility. Literature has a [particular] responsibility because literature is the main source of our cultural continuation’.

It has been a slow climb for this format to achieve respect around educational circles. It only started in about 1984 that graphic novels started to really make waves being featured as a template for movies with like the first Batman by Tim Burton. Giving a broader source material to preserve. For writers like Chris Roesler the format has served us ‘with the visual translation of the story, a artist can display action of the character using the art to stimulate the sub conscious beyond the words’said Roesler.

The Watchmen by Alan Moore in considered as one the greatest graphic novels of our time. Its story about individual’s that have to reactivate themselves after retirement to save earth. Has opened popularity to the genre and influencing popularity to people that may have over format as a childish medium.That ‘it helped rethink a composition of writing to a more visual template instead of a strictly literary format’ said Roesler.

The question is though do these visual novels serve beyond entertainment. Where can they be considered educational. ‘Pulp fiction deserves a place like any other art form because it comments on society as a whole ‘ said Roesler. While that may be true on many levels its hard to convince older ways of thinking when it comes to literary works.

For the Ammerman campus on a small level this may changing. In there library in the past year. An incitation has been promoted to include these works. Having a prominent kiosk in front of the main desk. It is huge step for a genre that many have considered in the literary world as a less educational format.For Dawn K.Wing was formally introduced to American comics by a store called A Million Year Picnic.For her it has been a goal to promote these books.

While teaching in Japan Wing was exposed to not only the electrical stimulation of advertisements but also the large world of Manga. Manga is a popular form of comic that has a direct influence from Asian history. Sometimes mixed with elements of its rich history of old samurai culture to the more futuristic approach of science fiction. After her experience in Japan she came back to teach in America.

Feeling as though the culture as a whole was a very underground medium. Wing used her insight to try and approach it as an application for her students to learn. Using it to help her students as tool for learning in an ESL class. For many foreigner students the idea of America is easier teach to visually. Learning the language can be a task that has many frustrations along the way. By using the graphic novel format for the students.It can help these students to correlate between the words and visual style to understand more clearly.

The students surprisingly related a lot to the Manga that Wing was first exposed to in Japan. These stories of overcoming oppression or some impossible odd had someone correlated with them. Making the idea that using Graphic Novels as a tool for teaching come full circle. Some colleagues though were against this method citing differences in using this method. However many things that challenge the status quo have had adversaries as come to the forefront.

Taking what Wing had taught from these experiences motivated her to push for more Graphic Novels in the college. ‘ Lets be open different formats in the library and classrooms ‘ said Wing. Now her new goal is to inform students by expanding the colleges library.

by Cory lauth

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