Approaching an Analysis of Graphic Novels

Analyzing Graphic Novels

At the end of Module 2 I put to my students (you) some questions to help them start analyzing and exploring their graphic novels (basically where Report 1 asks them to begin after they are finished with it). This is part of the path I want you to take in route to finding their research question and then thesis statement.

This is in fact a step we began, or I had them begin, when dealing with McCloud’s Ch. 7 and his Six Steps. McCloud discusses the Six Steps as part of a fluid and layered creative process, I want to emphasize it in its reverse for you: as analysis of the creative process.

My focus is to push you to approach their graphic novels and go deeper, to start at McCloud’s Step 6: Surface, and then dig beneath the surface to get closer the elements within the story and form of the graphic novel itself:

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.30.59 AM


Next, let’s move out of the abstract by actually applying these layers/steps and questions to a specific example (graphic novel). Let’s go with one no one in the class selected –

Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely




As I ponder and reflect, I want to think about this: Is there something here that provokes me to find out more about, to ask more questions, to want to make a case for in an argument?

If there is, great, I may be able to adapt this into a research question.

If there is not, it’s not a failure because I have learned and gone into depth with my graphic novel in ways that might benefit my research as I move forward. What I have found I may write more about in my Research Journals as well. Or perhaps what I have found will lend itself to helping me see the Graphic Novel I am reading differently in a way that might lead me to another research question, who knows.

This will be what will lead us to discuss The Craft of Research, starting with Ch. 3 in Module 3 in Week 4


BA in History from Northwestern State, MA in English from Northwestern State, and PhD in Rhetoric from Texas Woman's University. Big into comic books and visual rhetoric. Assistant Professor of English at Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s