Abina and the Important Men began as an attempt to address a classroom problem: how to teach students about the dual responsibilities of the historian to historical subjects and contemporary audiences. These goals both drove its development as a graphic history. Fortuitously, its publication caught the leading edge of the rehabilitation of that medium as a serious scholarly mode of communication. This great graphic shift is part of a wider realignment of both the history discipline and popular culture, and it provides both opportunities and pitfalls for the scholar who wishes to share their work with a broader public while retaining its authenticity and maintaining its accuracy. This is a discussion by the author of Abina and the Important Men about what he has learned since its publication in first edition in 2012, with some arguments about the future of the graphic history genre. The graphic novel can be obtained through the Oxford University Press website, or the community-built 2-D animated video version can be watched here (Password: Independence).
Recommended video/reading/short links:
• “How to Design a Comix Page” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dQEfL2BfUM
• Julia Alekseyeva, “Form, Function, and Style in the Graphic Essay,” Sequentials Journal, 1.4 (May 2020).
Rocky Cotard and Laurent Dubois, “The Slave Revolution That Gave Birth to Haiti,” The Nib (Feb. 5, 2018).
• Nick Sousanis, “No Sides,” Spin, Weave & Cut (blog), http://spinweaveandcut.com/no-sides/
• Charis Loke & Max Loh, “The Word for World is Image,” Singpowrimo, 20.2:
Other recommended readings:
• Trevor R. Getz, “Getting Serious about Comic Histories”, American Historical Review, 2018, 123, 1596-1597.
• Barbara Tversky, “Visualizing Thought”, Topics in Cognitive Science, 3 (2011), 499-535.
• Neil Cohn, “In defense of a ‘grammar’ in the visual language of comics”, Journal of Pragmatics, 127 (2018), 1-19.