Universities Get Graphic

On the curriculum: graphic novelist Shaun Tan

On the curriculum: graphic novelist Shaun Tan

The University of Melbourne has announced that in 2011 it will offer an undergraduate subject on comics called Graphic Narratives.

The course guide promises the subject will “focus on 20th century writers such as Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel, Chris Ware, Marjane Satrapi, Charles Burns, Bruce Mutard and Shaun Tan”. The course also promises guest presenters including Nicki Greenberg and Mandy Ord. There’s a Facebook page that has regular updates on the course’s guests and features.

While it may be one of Australia’s first undergraduate courses covering the graphic novel, Griffith University is offering a short course called Creating a Graphic Novel, which is “primarily concerned with the successful telling of story within the boundaries of the medium”.

The graphic novel is being re-discovered in more traditional literary circles. Booktopia reports that Beat poet Allen Ginsberg has been re-invented as a graphic novel possibly involving werewolves.

Recently the First Tuesday Book Club hosted a special on the graphic novel featuring several of Australia’s best graphic novelists alongside Meanjin editor Sophie Cunningham who has published several graphic novelists. Comic writer and illustrator Eddie Campbell complained about the re-discovery of the graphic novel. “I hear that we’ve finally been accepted by the culture at large but at the same time… If this was true… I’d be invited on shows for being an interesting personality…”

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