New Books = No Excuses Anymore! (Quick Reviews of Two Salient New Texts)
Katie Monnin's similarly titled single-authored Teaching Graphic Novels offers a complete and thorough deconstruction of how to study comics as comics and as literature. The various methods for viewing frames and exploring other elements of comics as text constitute a breakdown of the medium like no other text on the market geared towards secondary educators. "But I just don't understand the form!!" and "I just don't get comics and don't know how to teach their formal properties to my students so they can adequately read them" are now relegated to lame excuses, folks.
I have to admit, I'm a "part" of both books, which were published in the latter part of 2009. As some of my previous posts revealed, I have a chapter in the MLA book, and Katie was very kind to mention me as a mentor figure in the front matter of her book. I'm very proud to say I was able to give Katie a hug at this year's NCTE, where she hand-delivered a copy of the text to me, after seeing such a kind sentiment expressed. So, I may be guilty of bias, but it is very exciting to see texts filling in gaps such that the overall body of comics-and-literacy scholarship and research becomes more well-constructed bridge to learning than little islands of insight surrounded in between by vast oceans of disconnect.
I recommend both texts to anyone with an iota of curiosity regarding why all these teachers seem to be accepting a once maligned medium.