This course is an 8 week look at the idea of comic books/graphic novels as radical literature. It will consider how the still common image of comic books as being a medium for just comedy or fantasy for children or teenagers readers is inaccurate. Modern graphic novels tackle various ‘social issue’ subjects, such as history, biography, race, gender, class and the economic system. They do so often from a radical political point of view, as a type of subversive literature. Various examples will be looked at in short videos and text sections. There will be a zoom meeting each week, which all students are welcome to take part in (but this is not complusory). Some of the people taking this course may have already been very familiar with comic books and regular readers of graphic novels on social issues. Other will be coming to this course with little knowledge of modern comic books or graphic novels. Because of that the information presented here is mostly at an introductory level in regards to comic books, though somewhat more advanced in terms of the political content and theories involved. I myself am a professional comic book writer, of more than 40 books, many of which are on social and political issues.
Sean Michael Wilson is a graphic novel writer. His books are often on themes of history, politics and social issues, including: Parecomic(a book about participatory society and economics with an introduction by Noam Chomsky); Fight the Power! A Visual History of Protest Amongst the English Speaking Peoples’ ; Portraits of Violence, ten sociological theory on terrorism and state violence with Dr Brad Evans; Goodbye God? looking at the tension between science and religion (intro by Lawrence Krauss), and a book with the GFTU about the history of labour and progressive movements The Many Not the Few ( introduction by leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn and launched at a special event in the House of Commons). He has worked with a variety of organisations in the process, such as British universities and museums, Norwegian’s People’s Aid, the British and American Humanist Associations, Corporate Watch, GFTU, War on Want, etc.