Starting this fall, students in the English 2225 class at Lakeland will benefit from a unique partnership between the college and the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Lakeland English professor Dr. Patrick McLaughlin is moving away from the classroom blackboard to a green one. Or rather, a green screen. No, he is not considering a career change to meteorologist. He’s expanding into unknown territory all in an effort to enhance his students’ learning in the genre known as graphic fiction.
Although the course is primarily online, students will gather once a week at the Holden University Center adjacent to the main campus to learn how fine art has influenced graphic fiction.
There, they will participate interactively wit McLaughlin who will be presenting live from the art museum’s television studio through a high-definition IVDL (Interactive Video Distance Learning) connection. It can best be compared to as a classroom-sized Skype ® but with a clearer and higher quality not found through regular Internet providers.
For those unfamiliar with graphic fiction, it is the traditional comic book all grown-up. Complete with sequenced illustrations and story lines, the graphic novel (as they are also known) was influenced by Japanese Manga. “Manga” is the Japanese word for comic, or cartoon.
“Graphic fiction grew out of comics,” said McLaughlin. “People wanted something that was more mature. The French really pioneered the genre with ‘bandes dessinées’ because they wanted to treat more provocative subjects. Graphic fiction storylines go where comic books don’t - or won't.”
The English 2225 course this fall explores graphic fiction as an art form through analysis of the medium's use of techniques and characteristics, including collected short stories, series, adaptations, and novels. Students will study graphic fiction elements and strategies, including point of view, plot, setting, character, theme, and its literary and visual devices.
But it’s important for McLaughlin to stress other connections, not just the comics and the literary aspects.
“For example, in week one, we will be discussing historical precursors to modern-day sequential art, which is also known as graphic fiction. We will be looking at such artifacts as stone reliefs from Mesoamerica.” McLaughlin will stand in front of the green screen and at the same time students over in the Holden University building will see the professor in front of a large image of the artifact being examined.
Some of the other art museum pieces to be used as a base for understanding story sequence will be: “Horse Race at the Kamo Shrine” (Japanese); Relief of Agricultural Scenes (Egypt, Old Kingdom, early Dynasty 6); Page of Disasters from the Tarikh-I-Alfi (India, 16th century); “Hours of Queen Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain” (circa AD 1495-1500); “Taste in High Life,” (in the manner of) William Hogarth (AD 1746); and woodcuts by Rockwell Kent, Lynd Ward, and others.
“Graphic fiction has really come into its own,” said McLaughlin. “For a while it was fringe. But now it dominates storytelling in the realm of popular culture, as witnessed by the spate of blockbuster movies featuring characters and storylines from serialized comics and graphic fiction."
For more information about the class beginning August 29, contact Dr. Patrick McLaughlin at 440-525-7353 or at email@example.com.
A series of three virtual presentations with area museums will be presented this fall at the Holden University Center.
The cost is $25 per discussion; early bird fee is $15 is registered two weeks before each course. Each class runs from 10 - 11:30 a.m. Participants will enjoy coffee, pastry and an informal discussion of the topic, followed by an hour-long museum video conference presentation made possible by the Holden University Center’s newest technology and Lake National Bank’s sponsorship:
Friday, Sept. 14
Western Reserve Historical Society
“Magic of Memories: Fab 50s Cleveland Style”
Friday, October 12
Cleveland Museum of Art
“Gods & Heroes of Greece and Rome (Mythology)”
Friday, November 2
Natural History Museum
“Mineralogy: Our ‘Un’-Natural Anthropogenic Addiction to Rocks and Minerals”
To register, call 440-5257116.
Photo Caption: A studio engineer works behind the scenes at the Cleveland Museum of Art