LSO312 - The Graphic Novel

Outline info
Last revision date 2019-03-18 09:11:13.424
Last review date 2019-03-18 09:17:15.078

Subject Title
The Graphic Novel

Subject Description
The graphic novel emerged in the last quarter of the twentieth century as a complex narrational medium, powerfully combining telling and showing. From its antecedents in comic strip and comic book, the graphic novel evolved, through a sequence of thematically, narratively, and semiotically challenging comics, into a full-fledged narrative art form. This course surveys a range of graphic novels, both mainstream and independent. The emphasis, however, will be on the independent graphic novel. Secondary readings in history and criticism will help students understand better the context from which the graphic novel emerged, and to grasp more firmly their visual and textual aesthetics.

Credit Status
One Literature elective degree credit

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

Upon successful completion of this subject, the student will be able to:
1. Critically analyze the required readings in context of their social and cultural impact.
2. Discuss specific themes that are unique and inherent in this literary genre.
3. Examine the social and historical issues associated with some of the specific concepts examined in the assigned novels.
4. Analyze characters, plots, sub-plots, and setting in order to determine the success of the author?s intent.
5. Identify the influence of the graphic novel in modern urban society and culture.
6. Research, plan, and structure effective critical papers, including accurate documentation of primary/secondary sources.

Academic Integrity
Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca's commitment to deliver high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment. Ensure that you are aware of Seneca's Academic Integrity Policy which can be found at: Review section 2 of the policy for details regarding approaches to supporting integrity. Section 2.3 and Appendix B of the policy describe various sanctions that can be applied, if there is suspected academic misconduct (e.g., contract cheating, cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism).

Please visit the Academic Integrity website to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

ENG 106 or equivalent or permission of the coordinator

Topic Outline
Students will develop and demonstrate their competence in written expression, reading, and research skills by exploring such topics as the historical development of ‘comics,’ the relationship between the written word and visual imagery, and the thematic issues present in this genre.

Mode of Instruction
To ensure that students are engaged as much as possible in the learning process, instructors can use such teaching methods as class and small group discussions, essays and research, individual and group presentations, readings, lectures, workshops, in-class exercises, and/or computer-aided instruction.

Prescribed Texts
McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics
Spiegelman, A. Complete Maus

*other readings/material to be assigned by the instructor.

Reference Material

All students are required to use the following Research Guide for their assignments: Seneca Libraries. Guide to Research & Citation MLA Style. 5th ed. [Toronto]: Seneca Libraries. 2014.  It can be found at

Student Progression and Promotion Policy

Grading Policy

A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices (

Modes of Evaluation

All term work assignments must be completed prior to the time of the final exam or last class.  Students must contact faculty in advance of the assignment due date to discuss the possibility of an extension. Late assignments may be subject to the awarding of a penalty resulting in a lower grade assigned. Make-up opportunities for assignments must also be made in advance of the scheduled due date.  If an assignment is missed due to class absence, official documentation must be submitted to the faculty member on or before the next scheduled class. Make-up opportunities may not apply to all graded assignments.

Term Work 75%
Final Exam 25%

To be successful in this course, you must complete all course work as specified, and achieve an overall grade of 50% or more.  It is expected that students have a sufficient command of the English language to express themselves clearly in both written assignments and class discussions. As students are being graded on form as well as content, marks may be lost for poor organization of ideas and errors in spelling, grammar, capitalization and punctuation.
For further information on evaluation and academic standing, see the Academic Policy at

Approved by: Fiona Bain-greenwood