Analytical Matching Game, Part 1

When it comes to investigating and analyzing stories, often times it tends to break down into THREE main categories:

  1. What was the purpose of creating the work by writer and artist?

  2. Who is the intended audience and how is the audience effected by the work?

  3. What message or argument, if there is one, is contained in the story that it is trying to communicate?

The purpose of this is to potentially provide analysis questions that might best fit your graphic novel. This does not account for your thesis question or statement but might aid in leading you to one.

Any of these could use a generic research question, but let’s see if exploring some of the suggested questions below we can break through to something more tailored to your graphic novel:

Son of Hitler   -Could this graphic novel offend people? Why and How? Are their elements of historical events at play in this novel? Is there an argument or message it wishes to convey? What is it? How does it do it?

V for Vendetta  -Is there an underlying message in this story? What is it? What are the major themes and are they relevant today as they were in the 1980s? What is the role of provocation and theatrics in this work?

Jessica Jones, Alias   -What makes this story different from traditional superhero comics? Are their elements of classic detective stories embedded here? How so? What are some relatable themes found within the work?

The Girl Who Lived   -How does the work utilize suspense as a story telling device? What makes this graphic novel unique?

Age of Ultron   -What are the implications of this kind of “alternative” story or what if story? Is there an argument or message in this story? What is the purpose for telling this kind of story?

Black Hole     -How effective is the metaphor for STDs as plague? Who and what kind of audience would be most impacted by this graphic novel? How does telling this story in this format, as a graphic novel, enhance the story telling?

Sin City      -In what ways does the interlinking stories work or not work for an audience? What elements of Crime Noir genre are represented in this story? In what ways does the choice of black and white impact or enhance the story telling?

Avengers: Wakanda Forever   -How is diverse representation handled in this book? How and what is the purpose of this story? What kind of message does it offer the reader/

Kingsman    -What is the purpose of this story? Are there literary elements in here? What message does the story ultimately wish to convey?

Fun Home    -Is this work a work of literature? What is the ultimate purpose of this story? How does personal exploration lead to revelations? What is the role of pain in growing up?

Walking Dead-What is the real story behind stories about zombies? What kind of revelation does the behavior of characters take on when society breaks down? How do “post-apocalyptic” stories like these enhance and amplify the human condition?

Luke Cage: Sins of the Father    -What is the message of this story? How does the story recount the relationships of father’s and sons? Who is the intended audience of this work and why?

Drama    -How is this story a “coming of age story”? What is a coming of age story? How and in what ways does this story court controversy? What is the central message?

Death of Superman    -What was the purpose of this story in killing Superman? Is this story unique? How? What kind of message can one take away from tragic stories?

Batman: Year One    -Why are origins important? What was the purpose of this story? How does the story effect and enhance what one knows about Batman?



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.

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