TEDxDartmouth 2011- Michael Chaney: How to Read a Graphic Novel – March 6, 2011

In "Discovering to See the Social, or Just How to Review a Graphic Novel" Dartmouth College Partner Professor of English Michael Chaney offers a study of modern graphic novels. Showing that the graphic novel is a complicated tool that makes abstractions visible via distortion and caricature, Chaney discloses that a panel is not constantly what it seems.

28 thoughts on “TEDxDartmouth 2011- Michael Chaney: How to Read a Graphic Novel – March 6, 2011”

    1. As a teacher, I can unravel this mystery for you…. Its because an online teachers guide said to start with this… I’m sorry you had to watch this!

  1. I’m a very self-motivated artist. when one thinks of an artist, they think of someone painting on an easel, maybe drinking wine or, observing a bowl of fruit. As a growing graphic novelist, I find myself painting at my low desk, under a meager lighting, and observing life, my life as it happens, and taking in every aspect as a form of color and substance, even little hills of trash on the side of the road seem interesting to me now. This presentation gave me more self-motivation to move people’s eyes, and help them unlock the inner machinations of cold, plain and simple, life.

  2. Half the books I’m studying for my IB are graphic novels. It sounded like a bit of a shitty idea at first but they’re surprisingly interesting.

    1. The idea of immediacy is the idea that something is happening now in front of us. That whatever it is has a special significance and is worth paying attention to because of its current-ness (it’s not buried in the past, distant and half-forgotten). It has just happened, or it’s still happening now, so we should be more attentive. It’s relevant, exciting, unwritten, and urgent.

      This feeling or notion of immediacy is suggested through the use of the simple present tense “is” in the Persepolis caption, where the representation of Marji claims “This is me.”

      It’s not “This was me” or “This is a picture of me”. It’s “This is me” suggesting (against the plain reality of it) that the panel shows her now, as she is at this moment, and that this moment is concurrently the same period as when she is 10 (i.e. revolutionary Iran).

      Also, perhaps, that this cartoony representation of her is supposed to be taken as her “the person”, and for us to be concerned about and worried for her as one might an actual living person standing before us.

      But of course this is a fantasy that Satrapi offers us because obviously the panel is not now, or her (in flesh and blood). But it is a also a kind of unspoken tacit contract or agreement we enter into with the author as we begin to read, and choose to continue to read the graphic novel. Essentially we are choosing to accept the story on its own terms for the sake of consuming the narrative as we imagine it was intended to be consumed. We allow the fantasy despite recognising on a certain level that it is fantasy, and as such we are complicit in the effects that this fantasy has on us, the reader (namely all those things listed above that stem from a sense of immediacy). This is my understanding on “the fantasy of immediacy” that the speaker in this TedTalk mentions. Hope this explanation makes it easier to understand, not harder.

  3. Halfway through the talk after he explained how our mind eyes are so good at projecting face, I stated to see a “face” under his face formed by the collar lines of his polo shirt.

  4. Help me. In another setting, I would be fascinated by what this guy is saying, but I have to practically write an essay about this.

  5. Authors of comics: I’ll just draw what im imagining and what the story is telling

    English professors and teachers: THE COMICS AND SPACES BETWEEN THE PANELS SHOW MEANING AND EMOTIONS THAT ARE HIDDEN!!!

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