Intro to Graphic Novels

The term "Graphic Novel" has a very loose definition. Generally, they are fictional stories in comic-strip format or graphics presented as a book. Graphic novels usually combine text and images to develop plot and character. The sequencing and composition of images are deliberate, to produce an aesthetic response in the reader. This means that the presentation of a graphic novel is intended to appeal to you visually while engaging you in the plot and characters in the story. Graphic novels appear in a variety of forms, such as manga, satire, and fantasy. Many graphic novels have been adapted to film like the films Watchmen, 300, and V for Vendetta. Some graphic novels have won international acclaim. For instance, Art Spiegelman's graphic novel, Maus: a Survivor's Tale , earned a Pulitzer Prize for its allegorical depiction of the Holocaust of World War II. While some may regard graphic novels as comic books, graphic novels today are complex and can be studied with academic rigor.

The tutorials Strategies for Studying Illustrations and Kade's Guide to Graphic Novels, will provide some essential information for you as you begin the study of the graphic novel. You may also refer to pp. 157-167 in your English Language Arts Handbook for Secondary Students for further information about studying photographs.

Establishing Context for The Rabbits

As a preface to your reading of The Rabbits (found in the graphic novel collection titled Lost and Found), take a look at the picture presented to you on this page. This is a picture that you have already seen in Who Am I?

There are many ways in which we might analyze this visual. One aspect is to analyze the element of the disappearing feet, looking at what that might communicate to the viewer.

What do you think this visual might be saying about what might make a culture, a community, or a person begin to disappear, to become invisible?

Complete this Self Assessment before reading The Rabbits. (This is not for marks.) 

Illustration from Encounter by Jane Yolen, illustrated by David Shannon. © 1992 by David Shannon. Reprints by permission of Houghton Miffin Harcourt.