Our Week with Will Eisner

This past week, our class started our first text, A Contract with God by Will Eisner. The graphic novel is divided into four chapters that for the most part are not relatable. Dr. Whalen also taught us how to use Gimp.

On Tuesday we started off the class being taught how to use Gimp for our disassembly projects. Professor Whalen taught us with using Garfield comics. We went step by step, first choosing a comic strip then teaching us different techniques of how to edit out one of the characters. Being taught different techniques helped a lot with getting the best results of removing a character and keeping the background color as close as possible to the original. This workshop gave us a preview for what we’ll be doing for our own projects, but using one of our own graphic novel texts.

On Tuesday, we also discussed the first chapter of A Contract with God, about a man who looses his faith in God after his adopted daughter dies. We mainly discussed the art work, the use of text, and animating the text in a way that gives it more meaning. We talked about the use of word bubbles/clouds and how they blend within the text or they stand out depending on what the story wants to tell. Going through these different readings helped me to realize that analyzing a graphic novel is different than novel.

There are many components to consider when reading a graphic novel. The use of coloring/shading, the expressions on the character’s faces, the size and animations of the texts, the use of word bubbles, and panels. On Thursday we talked about the use of panels for chapters 2 to 4 and the significance behind using panels and how they matter to a graphic novel. We also talked about the many different characters in the fourth chapter and the underlying messages of rape, social status, and gender roles. We touched base of two different characters that resemble Will Eisner, the author, and how he included himself in the story line.

Overall, we learned different techniques of Gimp and talked about different ways to reading a graphic novel.