For my final paper, I'm tentatively thinking of exploring the concept of the mundane in "Jimmy Corrigan", "Fun Home", and a Czech graphic novel called "Alois Nebel." The Czechs have a word, vsĕdnost, that basically translates as "everyday-ness;" appreciating and reveling in the small, the seemingly boring, and the routine. I find this a fascinating and transformative concept, and I want to explore how Czech graphic novels respond and react to this way of life as opposed to American graphic novels. I would incorporate a Czech culture narrative as well, to provide some context to my paper, and discuss how folktales and one or two other literary works (maybe "Too Loud a Solitude" and another) embrace vsĕdnost.
In Jimmy Corrigan, there was an almost obsessive interposition of fantasy and reality. Czech culture and literature is both similar and different. The objective is to allow oneself to not be subsumed by the banality of everyday life and appreciating every action as meaningful, whether it is good or bad. Fantasy and the surreal are absolutely important aspects of Czech culture, but it is incorporated as part of the everyday-ness.
A big obstacle I'm already running into is actually getting my hands on "Alois Nebel." The graphic novel is in three parts, and only the first part ("Bílý Potok," meaning "white stream") is translated into English. I'd like to find both, so I can at least use the drawings from the second two parts to add to my conceptualization of everyday-ness in Czech graphic novels and better contrast it with American graphic novels. So far I've requested the entirety of the graphic novel in Czech and the first part of the American translation through IDS, but only three libraries worldwide have it. I think that I can get it shipped from a store in Prague, but it depends on how long it will take to arrive.
The second idea I had for a final paper was looking at graffiti in graphic novels and also discussing the concept of graffiti as a graphic narrative itself. Going off of McCloud's assertions that practically any art medium, including stained glass windows and ancient cave drawings, I would extend this to incorporate graffiti art. I wouldn't limit my scope to American phenomenon, as there is quite intricate graffiti art in Berlin and Athens. I would explore why it is so useful and communicative a medium, and try to uncover what different narratives are presented in various types of graffiti.