Sharing thoughts on comic books being literature

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Before superheroes were known on the big screen, they were first introduced through comic books. The Union asked students and staff about their thoughts on comic books being literature.

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Claudia Striepe, instruction librarian

“Actually, yes I do. In fact, a few years back we had Professor Brown who used to do a whole section on comic books as they relate to all sorts of history, social topics, and it was found that it was very useful for, not only readers in general but also for ESL students who had trouble reading the longer texts. It was found to be a really compelling way in. Once you were hooked on the topic or the issue, then you had enough interest to tackle the longer text in a larger format.”

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Arian Sanyal, 20, computer science major

“I feel like comic books are definitely the ways for people to find fiction enjoyable in a lot of age groups. I’ve noticed that a lot of younger kids have stopped reading books and turned to comic books for the graphic visuals along with the storytelling. Comic books are definitely a way for newer generations of finding that same love for fictional storytelling and literature. Something like a literature class based on graphic novels, that would fit [here] perfectly.”

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John Chavez, 19, music major

“I do think they should be considered literature because they do have a lot of interesting lessons that they have to offer. For example in ‘The Avengers,’ they really talk about the good and bad and touches on things like our higher powers, that make you question things. I would for sure take [comics literature class] just to see what it’s like.”

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Berkeley Price, Dean of Fine Arts

“The best rap is great poetry. Just like the best graphic novels and comic books are great literature. There may be some trashy stuff out there or cheap stuff that’s mass produced, but I’m sure that there are some high-quality good things, or why would people be interested?”

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Alexia Mason, 18, biology major

“Just growing up, like when I would want to pick a comic book my mother would never let me because she felt like they weren’t real books, so, I’d have to get something a little more advanced for my age. But, comic books were not really considered [litereature], and I kind of grew up with that thought. I kind of still see it that way, but reading is reading.”

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Abdiel Gutierrez, 20, computer science major

“If anything, it gives you a better sense of the story through the art; it is its own type of writing. It’s sad that some people don’t see it that way, but it takes a certain amount of skill set to be able to write a comic and for people to relate to some of those comics.”

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Tom Hazel, health science and athletics professor

“Yes, of course, they’re literature. Literature is relative to whatever age group or audience calls it literature. Comic books forever told stories about life, the same thing as books. I think people are limited to the real scope of what comic books are… they’re based on fables and stories, folklore and everything else.”

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