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How to Read Comics

You'll never read the funnies the same way again.

Like all good folks, you liked The Avengers and loved The Dark Knight. But these characters didn't just emerge from some Hollywood bigwig's noggin. No, they've been around for decades in the pages and panels of comic books.

You may think that comics are for kids and weird old men who wear sweatpants a lot. Well, we hate to break it to you, but comics haven't been for kids in about 30 years (though the creepy old dudes still lurk about), so you have no excuse for missing out. Fortunately, Shmoop is here to help you—just in time for what many are calling "the graphic literature Renaissance."

In this course, we'll walk you through the basics of the medium: what are comics? how do they work? how do you read them effectively? and why oh why do people keep calling them graphic novels?

By the end of this course, you'll never call it child's play ever again.

Course Breakdown

*Purchasing by unit includes course material only.

Unit 1. Sequential Art a.k.a. Comix a.k.a. Graphic Novels a.k.a. Comics

In these 15 lessons, you'll learn some fancypants sequential art lingo, read a few long-form comics, and get to thinking about comics as literature.


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  • Course Length: 3 weeks
  • Grade Levels: 9, 10
  • Course Type: Short Course
  • Category:
    • Humanities
    • Literature

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