Since the ground-breaking publication of Art Spiegelman's MAUS in 1993, "graphic novels" have entered the global cultural mainstream. A truly multicultural genre, comics created by men and women around the world now appear in U.S. high school and college curricula, hold the attention of academic critics, and earn big box-office returns in cinematic adaptations. Though dubbed "graphic novels" by publishers to signal their high-culture aspirations and achievement, outstanding examples of the contemporary book-length comic actually appear in many literary genres. In this course we will survey the current field and read works of fiction (such as THE WATCHMEN and JIMMY CORRIGAN), autobiography (MAUS, PERSEPOLIS, FUN HOME, and 100 DEMONS), journalism (PALESTINE and SAFE AREA GORAZDE), and what we might call "comic theory" (UNDERSTANDING COMICS). And just as comics have become a global medium, they are perhaps inherently postmodern. Many contemporary comics are self-conscious about questions of form and theories of representation, a characteristic that will help us formulate new versions of the questions often considered in literary study. How do words and pictures drawn together in sequential narratives tell stories? What different skills are needed to comprehend this complex play of image, language, and time? What can graphic books do that other books cannot, and what are the constraints that shape this form?