NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Course offers glimpse into world of graphic novels

Every few semesters at Northern Essex, a Graphic Novel class is offered to students who are looking for a class to fill a writing intensive course requirement.  Over the course of the semester, students will be required to read graphic novels and complete responses in which they will bring into class after reading the specific graphic novel assigned and participate in a discussion session on that particular graphic novel.

This class is usually taught by Professor Ginger Hurajt and consists of reading and discussing about 6 graphic novels over the course of the semester and be required to write a script for a short 1-to-2-page comic, draw a 1-to-2-page comic after swapping with someone else, and complete your own comic autobiographical comic that is at least 3 pages long.

This semester students read graphic novels such as Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, Maus by Art Spiegelman, The Sandman Volume 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman, Smashed: The Story Collection by Junji Ito, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo & Me by Ellen Forney and Oksi by Mari Ahokoivu.

When talking with a few students that took this class this semester, Dylan Oconnell and Alliyah Cuevas, they gave some insight as to what they liked most about this class.

When asked what their favorite graphic novel was throughout the semester in this class, Oconnell said, “Probably Oksi because there wasn’t really a lot of words to read and the pictures themselves were drawn with a lot of water color.”  In response to the same question, Cuevas said, “My favorite graphic novel was definitely Maus.  It gave me another perspective of the Holocaust by showing the devastating reality of survival and how loss and separation tore apart families.  It was very eye-opening to see the damage done to families and relationships as that perspective is never addressed in any history class.

When asked to give feedback on the course Oconnell said, “I think the course is good for people that are interested in art and reading because you get a bit of both in one class.”

When asked the same thing, Cuevas responded, “ I would say that the course was refreshing to take.  I like that there was a lot of focus on understanding the graphic novels as well as analyzing their art styles.  It was also nice to be able to make scripts and comics ourselves; it makes you realize how much commitment and energy it would take to create an entire comic book on your own.”

If you’re looking for courses to take and see that The Graphic Novel class is available to take that semester, consider looking into it for yourself.