English Language KS3 / KS4: Comic strips and graphic novels

What happens when the words on the page aren’t enough to tell the story?

Anthony Horowitz introduces writers of young adult fiction such as David Almond and Eoin Colfer who have experimented with form to create exciting new ways of storytelling.

Using the example of David Almond’s The Savage, the commentary explores the way that Dave McKean’s illustrations incorporate graphic elements to the story, and how this then influences the story itself.

The words and images operate together to construct the story, and, by combining elements of the past and present actually combine to create a futuristic form of storytelling.

Character and visual representations build narrative and even invent language through fractured spelling.

Eoin Colfer then explains how his Artemis Fowl series builds on the tradition of comic strips to bring new life to the traditional adventure story and creates an alternative way of storytelling to reach a wider readership.

Teacher Notes

Students could adapt an extract from an existing text into an experimental graphic form, exploring some of the Artemis Fowl fan sites for inspiration.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching English Language at KS3 and KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4 and 5 in Scotland.

More from the series Curriculum Collections: English Literature / Language

Comedy and tragedy in Great Expectations
Music in Performance Poetry
What is the power of poetry?
What inspires a writer?
What makes travel writing engaging?
What makes good story writing?
How did Arthur Conan Doyle create the character of Sherlock Holmes?