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For my final paper, I hope to explore characterization within graphic narratives - more specifically, the differences between characterization in graphic narratives versus other types of media. Within this admittedly broad topic, there are a number of subtopics that I will consider focusing on, as well as different sources that might be more appropriate for some discussions rather than others. Most of my sources will be graphic narratives that have been adapted to or from various other forms of media, although I expect most of them will be concerned with movies and conventional literature.

  • Is it easier or harder to characterize in a graphic novel versus another form of media?
  • Are characters in graphic novels noticeably different than their multimedia counterparts? Why might this be?
  • What obstacles do authors/screenwriters face when trying to remain faithful to an already existing and beloved character while also attempting to add a personal creative touch?
  • How do time restraints affect the way graphic novel characters are portrayed in film? Generally, a graphic narrative is released piece by piece over a long period of time, sometimes not ending for months or longer. Compared to a feature film which is typically around 2 hours long (and any given character is only on screen for a fraction of that time), there must be certain sacrifices made on many levels, including characterization.

Currently, the works I am considering as sources include V for Vendetta, Watchmen, 300, The Dark Tower, and The Spirit.

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3 Comments

  1. Unknown User (mwf1)

    You already know that his topic is currently pretty broad so I won't repeat what you already said.  I like this idea and honestly am thinking of scrapping mine for one in favor of comparing the Watchmen film adaptation to The Dark Knight movie which drew a lot of its inspiration from Batman comics.  I would be careful though and make sure Professor Cooper doesn't mind reading a lot about films.

  2. Unknown User (mle4)

    I agree, you're really going to have to narrow this topic down.  However, some suggestions on how to do this might involve comparing graphic narratives to another specific genre, such as film adaptations, as literature is very broad.  Then you can compare specific differences and hypothesize why these differences are present.  I'm not sure if you will have to narrow it down even more but some categories for comparison could include: appearance, dialogue/vocal inflection, or  elements that are added/removed as a result of the change in medium.  This sounds like a fun topic to research...good luck!

  3. So there's consensus among the three of us that your topic, as is, probably is too broad to be very workable -- I forsee some stressy times ahead, were this to be your guide.  One solution is to plunge into some fairly theoretical material on literary characterization: Scholes/Kellogg's The Nature of Narrative, or Bal's Narratology.  A very accessible survey of characterization as applied to the field of children's literature can be found in the two samples here: Nikolajeva.  Another possibility is suggested by your fourth topic: comics as a specifically serial narrative, and the issues of characterization similar to 19th-century novels (Dickens, Trollope, etc.), movie serials like Flash Gordon, or even television soap operas/series.  Hard for me to say more; I don't want to back you into a corner!  You might want to consider how you want to spend the time that will go into producing this essay -- try to locate your particular interest, even obsession....