MLA 2012 Panel, Seattle
Session 579. Why Comics Are and Are Not Picture Books
Saturday, 7 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m.
Room 303, Washington State Convention Center
Presiding: Charles Hatfield, California State University, Northridge; Craig Svonkin, Metropolitan State College of Denver
Session jointly arranged by the MLA Division on Children’s Literature and the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives
Both picture books and comics participate in children’s culture and literacy learning; both build narratives visually. Yet their kinship is obscured by different ideological frameworks: picture books are generally seen as empowering young readers to take part in a social structure that prizes official literacy; comics, in contrast, are often seen as fugitive reading competing with or obstructing that literacy. Despite this presumed opposition, the two genres share historical antecedents and formal features, most obviously visual/verbal hybridity. This session will encourage a critical conversation to match.
1. Picture Book Guy Looks at Comics: Structural Differences in Two Kinds of Visual Narrative
Perry Nodelman, University of Winnipeg
2. Not Genres but Modes of Graphic Narrative: Comics and Picture Books
Philip Nel, Kansas State University
3. Graphic Novels’ Assault upon the Republic of Reading
Michael Joseph, Rutgers University, New Brunswick
4. The Panel as Page and the Page as Panel: Uncle Shelby and the Case of the Twin ABZ Books
Joseph Terry Thomas, Jr., San Diego State University
Taken together, the[ir] papers promise to spark intense discussion of important formal and ideological relations between picture books and comics. .