Course Description

Welcome to our workshop! We will read and create comics, with an emphasis on
comics rooted in realism, both non-fiction and fiction. Because comics are primarily a visual medium, as much time will be spent considering the visual and artistic choices of the creators as discussing their thematic elements. The same is true for your own work, which will be workshopped for its visual as much as written inventiveness. However, this is a creative writing class, not a drawing class, which means you will not be given drawing instruction. It doesn’t matter if you cannot draw well! Lots of “professional” comics artists are limited in their visual skills. What matters is that you learn to see what these artists are doing, through trying it yourself. In other words, what matters is your devotion to a steady learning practice. In addition to creating comics, course requirements will include keeping up with the reading, regular attendance, in-class presentations and participation, and a thorough commitment to the work of your peers.

Please note: This class is not suited to students with an interest in superhero comics. Though superhero comics continue to dominate the form, NO superhero comics will be read, accepted, or workshopped in this class.

Also note: Students MUST attend the first class in order to keep their seats.

*** Students are expected to spend at least 6-8 hours/week outside class time on work that
includes but isn’t limited to reading, drawing, writing, and preparing for presentations.***

Teaching Assistant (TA)
We’re lucky to have with us Otter Jung-Allen (they/them) as TA this semester! Otter
has taken the course before, and taken many other CW courses; they give terrific feedback. Please don’t hesitate to meet with them to discuss your writing, drawing, revision, and other concerns, remotely or in person (following protocol, as below).

Covid-19 Protocol
As you know, masking (nose and mouth) is required in class and in faculty offices.
Students will not be allowed inside buildings without a mask. Also per campus protocol, eating in class is not allowed. Sipping water is, provided masks are deftly negotiated.

Keep classroom doors open for ventilation—important; windows aren’t openable!— and maintain safe distance from us all.

Please note: if you need to quarantine, there is no college-wide policy for individual Zoom access to students in lieu of an absence. For my part, though I’d like to be able to offer this, last year I learned that it is logistically highly complicated—for starters, faculty (and TAs) may not see a student’s email notifying us of the situation in time, and we need our own laptops for course work.

REQUIRED texts—Available at Amherst Books:
* Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud.
* Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Pena. * Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey by Ozge Samanci
* The Arrival by Shaun Tan
* Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

I will also be submitting some shorter works digitally.

*PLEASE PLAN CAREFULLY SO YOU HAVE THE BOOKS ON TIME. If they are not in yet at Amherst Books, they are widely available online, as well as at Five College Libraries. Additionally, Hampshire College Library has put all these books on reserve.