The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the study of graphic narrative (graphic novels and comic books) as literature. Though once dismissed a childish or “junk”, these narratives are gaining mainstream popularity and acceptance as legitimate forms of art/storytelling worthy of critical consideration. Throughout the course, students will examine the interplay in these works between literature, comics, and art. What do these narratives ask us to consider about the ways that meaning is both communicated and constructed? What do they tell us about the representation and construction of reality and “truth”? How are text and visual codes used in these narratives to examine the relationship between individuals and their broader social environment? How do contemporary creators of graphic narratives respond to the traditional view of comics as “junk culture”? What can comics and graphic novels tell us about the relationship between popular culture and literary studies?