Dissertation

This page will be used for all research for my dissertation.

My research proposal was titled “The Changes and Representation in western Comic Book/Graphic Novel Design from the 1960?s Onward.

Research Proposal

This doesn’t mean that my dissertation will follow the same question however I do believe that I will definitely remain with the core theme of graphic novels and comic books.

Research

I have been using online journals and questionnaires for my major research along with graphic novels and comic books.

Questionnaire

(I will shortly post my first questionnaire’s results, you can also take part in my questionnaire by clicking the link above.)

So far I have found that Dr Mel Gibson seems to be the UK leader in the field of graphic novel and comic book research, however I have also discovered that The University of Columbia have an extensive library of graphic novel and comic book research including published journals.

I will also be discussing the Silver and Bronze age of comics, so if I do decide to go down that route I will have to alter my timeline from 1960’s onward to 1956 onward as 1956 was the dawn of The Silver Age of comics with the introduction of writers like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby who revolutionised the comic book industry.

I will also look into how the audience of graphic novels have changed with the introduction of The Bronze Age of comics and how Graphic Novels really took off then and brought the world of comic books and graphic novels to older and female readers.

Reading Research

I found that through the initial research obtain from my questionnaire, that the graphic novels that seem to be the most influential are Watchmen, Sandman, V for Vendetta, Sin City and Kick-Ass. The interesting thing is that Alan Moore wrote two of these (Watchmen & V for Vendetta) and he is said the be one of the main innovators of the bronze age of comic books. Alan Moore also created some of the lead comic book characters such as John Constantine, Rorschach and V, Alan Moore has also worked with major writers like Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane and David Lloyd.

So far the graphic novels that I have read and researched are;

V for Vendetta – Alan Moore and David Lloyd, 1982

Scott Pilgrim Vol:1-6 – Bryan Lee O’Malley, 2004 – 2010

Watchmen –  Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, 1986

Kick-Ass – Mark Millar and John Romita Jr, 2008

Hellboy: Seed of Destruction – Mike Mignola, 1993

World of Warcraft (comics): The Ashbringer – Micky Neilsen, Ludo Lullabi and Tony Washington, 2009

Spider-Man: Clone Saga – Terry Kavanagh and Tom DeFalco, 1994 – 1996

Wolverine: Insane in the Brain – Jason Aaron, 2010

X-Men: Onslaught Saga – Scott Lobdell, 1996

300 – Frank Miller, 1998

I am planning to research further graphic novels such as;

The Sandman – Neil Gaiman, 1989 – 1996

Hellblazer – Peter Milligan and Alan Moore, 1998

A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories – Will Eisner, 1978

along with a few others.

The Big Question

I have been gathering research to help me to develop a question that is not as broad as what I currently have. Who, what, why, where, when and how …..each of these will help to define the question and I have decided to work around the Silver and Bronze age of Comics.

What were the changes that allowed the birth of the Silver and Bronze age of comic books/graphic novels, what did they represent, how and why did they effect the comic book audience, why was it so important and what caused the changes to occur? .…now is this even broader than the original question or is this all part of the same question but giving it a lot more depth and purpose?


The Basic Comic Book Principals Research

There are 6 basic principals of comic book design according to Gary Spencer Millidge in his book Comic Book Design: The Essential Guide to Designing Great Comics and Graphic Novels.

  • Character and Location Design.
  • Visual Storytelling and Panel Design.
  • Page Layout and Design.
  • Lettering and Balloons.
  • Designing with Colour.
  • Covers and Publication Design

What Is Design?

“Design is an ever-present aspect of modern life. Everything, from product packaging, cars, phones, newspapers, websites, shop fronts, clothing, advertising, television, and the programs that appear on them has been conscious and deliberate design.

More specifically, graphic design is said to be all about visual communication and presentation, a discipline which combines symbols, images, and/or words to express ideas and messages.

That’s not a bed definition of comics in itself.”Gary Spencer Millidge, 2009 (Comic Book Design: The Essential Guide to Designing Great Comics) p8


Further Reading Research; The 30 Must Read Graphic Novels (2010)

According to Empire magazine in 2010 the ‘Top 30 Must Read Graphic Novels’ are;

  1. Sandman – By: Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean etc.
  2. Maus – By: Art Spiegelman
  3. Rising Stars – By: J. Michael Straczynski, Fiona Avery
  4. Palestine – By: Joe Sacco
  5. Persepolis – By: Marjane Satrapi
  6. Y: The Last Man – By: Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra
  7. The Scott Pilgrim Series – By: Bryan Lee O’Malley
  8. The Walking Dead – By: Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard
  9. The Dark Knight Returns – By: Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, Lynn Varley
  10. Preacher – By: Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon
  11. Watchmen – By: Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons
  12. Batman: Year One – By: Frank Miller, Dave Mazzuchelli
  13. 100 Bullets – By: Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso
  14. Superman: Red Son – By: Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, Kilian Plunkett
  15. Fables – By: Bill Willingham et al
  16. X-Men: Days of Future Past – By: Chris Claremont, John Byrne
  17. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – By: Alan Moore, Kevin O’Neill
  18. Astonishing X-Men – By: Joss Whedon, John Cassaday
  19. Hellboy: Seed of Destruction – By: Mike Mignola, John Byrne
  20. Scalped – By: Jason Aaron, R.A. Guera
  21. Planetary – By: Warren Ellis, John Cassaday
  22. Powers – By: Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming
  23. Invincible – By: Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker
  24. Punisher Max – By: Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon
  25. Tintin – By: Hergé
  26. Asterix – By: René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo
  27. Black Hole – By: Charles Burns
  28. Ghost World – By: Daniel Clowes
  29. Locke & Key – By: Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez
  30. Tank Girl – By: Alan Martin, Jamie Hewlett et al

The Big Question …revised

After further research I have decided to go with this as the final title for the dissertation;

From Comic Books to Graphic Novels, their birth, origins and the revolution they caused: An investigation & discussion

I feel that this really narrows down the broadness of the original question and allows the dissertation to be more direct. Now it is no longer a question and has changed into a investigation/discussion.

Dissertation Cover Proposals

Well here are two proposals for my Dissertation covers, I think that what I will do is use imagery to help split up the chapters not unlike a graphic novel.

Good news, I have finished my dissertation and I am very happy with it. The final title that I decided on was;

From Comic Books to Graphic Novels: The births, origins and the revolution they caused. An Investigation and Discussion.

I may see if I can get this published, I have heard that there is a French publication that does this. I am still gonna hand it in and get feedback first.

For all my dissertation covers click here

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  1. […] These are the six page covers that I used within my dissertation (From Comic Books to Graphic Novels: The births, origins and the revolution they caused. An Investigation and Discussion.) for the chapters in my dissertation. […]