All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Cynthia Ryan

Advisory Committee Members

Lilia M Graves

Bruce M McComiskey

Susan Olmstead-Wang

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


Graphic novels, as not yet fully researched and examined forms under academia, suffer from their association in the public mind with the advertisement industry and cheap subject matter. This negative affiliation is especially popular in teachers' circles that use the graphic novel mostly as an instrument to improve reading skills rather than to present it as an extraordinary example of a frontier literary form. The graphic novel is one of many products that took off dynamically with the technological revolution using the visual as a communication's medium. Visual communication is not only one of the leading forms of passing information, but also is a narrative form having a similar quality of expression and the ability to present sophisticated cultural values found in traditional literature. The difficulties to accept the graphic novel result from its specific construction related to complex ideas, theories, and digital technologies that are not directly connected with the traditional meaning of literature. The growing importance of an image that influences many aspects of life makes the current society, on the one hand, visually oriented, but on the other hand, not versed in understanding and using the visual mode properly. The teachers belonging to a generation of digital immigrants who did not grow up with the visual technologies are not able to treat the graphic novel as a full-fledged member of the English curriculum. The existing gap between the generation of digital immigrants and natives who grew up with the technology hinders the teaching process and intergenerational communication. Since many aspects of life are oriented around the visual, and the current preoccupation with digital technology does not seem to fade, teachers need a transitional form of the graphic novel--the artist's book--that may compromise both the teachers and students' demand, creating a bridge of mutual understanding and conversation in the new digital era.



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