Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

CCOG for ART 217 Fall 2023

View archive version »
Course Number:
ART 217
Course Title:
Comics Art & Literature
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Examines comics art as a medium of visual narrative. Analyzes aesthetic qualities unique to comic books and graphic novels in artistic, historical, and literary contexts using seminal texts. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

Use creative ways to appreciate comics art as an artistic and literary practice through exploration of the art form’s diversity and narrative potential.
Increase one’s understanding of word/image relationships and visual communication.
Ask meaningful questions, identify ideas and issues, and use a basic vocabulary to be able to actively participate in a critical dialogue about comics art with others.
Understand and interpret relationships between comics and commercialism.
Develop a heightened awareness of the physical world, the nature of the relationship of human beings to it, and our impact on it via the experience of understanding comics art.
Practice self-critiquing skills to increase autonomous expression through comics art while recognizing the standards and definitions already established by both contemporary and historical works of art from different cultures.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The student will:

  • comprehend, apply, analyze, and evaluate readings via weekly written assignments;
  • present oral reports on assigned cartoonist and his/her work;
  • participate in group discussion;
  • provide a written critical in-depth analysis of a short-comics story;
  • participate in field trips;
  • act together with a professional cartoonist;
  • write and draw an eight-page mini-comic;
  • comprehend, apply, analyze and evaluate reading assignments;
  • identify comic artwork, and relate facts and ideas about these works of art in exam format;
  • research, plan, compose, edit and revise short papers.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, and Issues:


  • theory and criticism in the history of comics art
  • pattern-based thinking and historical process
  • various interpretations of comic art
  • art and gender
  • creativity and the impulse to make comic art

Stylistic and Interpretive

  • visual literacy
  • art media and artistic technique
  • “seeing and knowing”
  • iconography
  • formal elements of art

Social and Cultural

  • other peoples and their histories, values, and culture
  • art and economics
  • art and the social fabric
  • art and religion
  • art and politics
  • art and gender
  • relationship of culture and style
  • art and cultural transmission
  • historical impact of art
  • the influence of art on one’s own culture
  • the influence of art on relations with other cultures
  • art and artists
  • the impulse to make art
  • the Gestalt of art
  • the role of the artist in society
  • biography
  • geography and its influence on art and culture
  • artifact recovery, analysis, and restoration

Competencies and Skills:

            The successful student should be able to:

  • work creatively with comic art data, using it to develop principles of comic art
  • recognize and appraise patterns in historical phenomena
  • assess the ways in which a comic is affected by our own vantage point
  • recognize and discriminate among various styles of comic art
  • trace the development of comic art from one period to another
  • analyze formally works of comic art and appreciate the interrelationship of elements
  • determine symbolism in comic art
  • employ iconographical nomenclature
  • express the relationship of comic art to society and culture to style
  • analyze the “meaning” of comic art objects through understanding of historical, social, and political context
  • use specific terminology to describe works of comic art