Graphic novels now go to school, teach strip by strip

Students learn about everything from conquering Everest to Steve Jobs’ genius through these books

July 13, 2016 12:52 am | Updated October 18, 2016 01:01 pm IST - Jaideep Deo BhanjNEW DELHI:

Learning from a graphic novel is a fun experience for readers of all ages.

Learning from a graphic novel is a fun experience for readers of all ages.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the graphic novel is worth even more because it tells epic stories, ranging from the Mahabharata to Marx.

The power of sequential art to tell serious stories and genres is on display at a month-long exhibit in the capital titled “Telling Stories Through Pictures”, put together by Campfire Graphic Novels.

Comics may be seen as a non-serious form of storytelling, but a graphic novel from a similar genre is infotainment that makes overbearing texts more compelling.

The expo contains a step-by-step guide on how a graphic novel is put together — from writing an original novel to abridging a complex work or concept visually.

Girija Jhunjhunwala, director, Campfire Graphic Novels, says a graphic novel is different from a comic book. For one, it is not a series. It also removes excessive use of ‘effects’ and handles intellectually more mature themes.

There’s a lot that graphic novels can teach, and the CBSE recommends titles like Conquering Everest, Mother Teresa – Angel of the Slums, Steve Jobs - Genius by Design and Krishna – Defender of Dharma for Class VII and VIII students.

Teachers use them as a supplement to text books to teach mythology, history and even concepts in Mathematics. Wafa Hamid, an assistant professor at the Lady Shri Ram College for Women, says she used Jaya, an Illustrated re-telling of the Mahabharata , by Devdutt Pattanaik, to teach the epic to students of literature.

“Classical literature is rooted in retelling of folklore orally. There are many versions of the Mahabharata. Exploring the retelling through graphic novels not only makes it more relatable because of the visual appeal but also illustrates the process of re-telling that the oral tradition is based on to the students.”

Ms. Jhunjhunwala says, “Graphic novels can be enjoyed by people of any age as they are available in multiple genres, and many Indian writers are choosing the genre. We at Campfire ensure that when stories are being adapted, the plot, flow and authenticity is given priority and illustrators and writers are told not to deviate from the plot.”

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