PCA: Graphic Novels in World __ Classes

The League of Extraordinary Historical Connections: Using Graphic Novels in
World History Classes

Maryanne Rhett, Monmouth University

This is a live blogging of the session.

teaching any particular field has unique challenges

teaching texts w sequential art helps to combat many of the difficulties

taking the class to fulfill a requirement “don’t understand, like, or get” history

League of Extraordinary Gentleman

symbolic shift of power from European (Quartermaine) to American (Sawyer- who is not in the book)

integrate many of the themes I wanted to reinforce
non-traditional media

introduction to graphic novels
Why are they so useful?

world history and comic books: too broad, too general, too common and not relevant for critical thinking, analytical x, and ?
Challenges tell us more about the challengers than the challenges.

Challenge to define the field come from academics:
no particular focus or education
American exceptionalism pitted against world (POLITICS ALERT)

world history classes are forced to skim
not a general field, theoretical approach to history

World history examines historical themes, trends, events throughout the world.
(replace history with literature)

“more real books” another article noted “fluff driven comedy” may fit into the category of graphic novel, but does not define it

Required/requested to define graphic novel for academia, showing scholarship importance.
diversity of approaches graphic novels offer

1. traditional
2. fictionalized fiction
3. graphic history
4. re-conceptualized history
5. graphic journalism
6. memoir, autobiography

1= Captain America, Rabbi’s Cat, Bourbon Island 1730, Xmen, A Tale of Rwanda
using any other form of literature, material needs to be understood within literary qualities and historical context (my field of theory!!!!!!!)

comic book itself becomes the history artifact, like Gilgamesh

2= League of Extraordinary Gentleman
characters support superheroic, but had previous lives, had their own histories separate from the graphic novels

giant skull on front page of League = Brobdingnag in GT
picture on the wall = Dorian Gray
why is the invisible man Griffin?

3= Suspended in Language (early atomic theory)
The Plot: The Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (historical plot)
real historical works, should be on the shelves next to the graphic novel

4 = Allohistory, counter-factual history, steam punk
= Northlanders, 300 (Frank Miller’s), Hetalia (out of Japan)

5= War is Boring, Palestine, presented in different ways, first person narrative

6= Persepolis, Che, Malcolm X, Anne Frank

allow us to look at multiple perspectives

new Batman guy = French imperialism in Algeria, increased immigration, Muslim, hijab, rich v. poor

allow us to explore these themes in a much more “presentist way”

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