Graphic novel class joins high school curriculum


Photo Credit: Patricia Whyte

The bestselling graphic novel “V for Vendetta” by Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Steve Whitaker, and Siobhan Dodds.

by Patricia Whyte, Staff White

A new course will be added to the English curriculum next year, entitled “The Graphic Novel.”

The course will be a single semester elective taught by Mr. Jason Toncic, who is also an English 10 teacher and the newspaper adviser.

There are no classes exclusively studies the graphic novel. Some classes may work with graphic novels in addition to “traditional” novels; however “The Graphic Novel” will study graphic novels as both a form of literature and art.

“The entire point of this course is to look at the graphic novel as a stand alone form of text,” Toncic said.

The idea of “The Graphic Novel” becoming a course was initially talked about last summer, along with several other courses. After further discussion, a survey was available so that parents and students could give their input on which course they would like to see added, and “The Graphic Novel” was selected. Toncic was given the opportunity to teach the class because the course was originally his idea.

“I think that one of the fears I have as an English teacher is that are going to stop wanting to read. I think that by having a course about graphic novels, we may get people who might otherwise not enjoy reading to come and give literature a chance,” Toncic said.

The focus of the course will primarily be the literary elements of graphic novels and the way that they are constructed. Dean Eleftheriades (’17) is already familiar with graphic novels and is excited about potentially taking this class in the future.

“I think graphic novels are a really important part of literature because it’s a totally different kind of book. Most books are words, accompanied with pictures. A graphic novel is exactly the opposite, it’s a whole illustration accompanied with a description, which gives you a whole different outlook on how to read it,” Eleftheriades said.

Eleftheriades has already read one of the novels that will likely be on the curriculum for this class next year. The novel, entitled “Maus” by Art Spiegelman, depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a holocaust survivor. Another novel that will potentially be studied next year is “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi, an autobiographical novel about her life in Iran during and after the Islamic Revolution.

Mathew Lacognata (’17), an aspiring artist and writer, finds inspiration from graphic novels uses them as an outlet for both his writing and art.

“If I took this class, I would hope to get a better understanding of how graphic novels work,” said Lacognata.

Toncic hopes to get students who might otherwise not take an English elective to take this class, and encourages students to “give it a try.”

“Overall, I want to stress that this is just another form of telling a story, of conveying ideas and messages,” Toncic said.