Survey and analyze a particular kind of visual literature – that art form known the “Graphic Novel” or “Comic Art.” This course serves as an introduction to critical methods in popular culture studies, with a focus on the graphic novel as cultural product and practice. Together, we will explore the ways in which meanings emerge in several celebrated texts of the graphic novel genre, as well as some emerging classics. Our readings of these texts will be informed by a diversity of theoretical perspectives, including visual culture studies, postmodernism and intersectionality. We will interrogate the relationships between the concepts “graphic novel” or “comic book” and “popular culture,” with each of us bringing our lived experiences to our readings and discussions. In the context of contemporary U.S. society, we will see how critical studies of popular culture have a distinct place in the arts and humanities. We will consider the contradictory ways in which difference, power and knowledge are articulated in cultural production. Through in-depth studies of several primary texts we will learn how graphic storytellers use and manipulate historical and contemporary social issues as the building blocks for their art. Finally, we will apply these skills to create our own application of the art of graphic storytelling.