British Comics Creators module (EN41024)

On this page


Module code



This module offers students the opportunity to study an important emerging area of contemporary literature - comics and graphic novels. You examine the work of contemporary British comics, such as Alan Moore, Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman, who have revolutionised comics by treating the medium as one rich in literary potential and cultural significance, challenging the very notion of authorship in comics, a medium known for its creative anonymity.

In the module we explore topics such as Moore, Morrison and Gaiman's literary influences, authorship and the comic industry, political satire, post-modern playfulness and European and American influences, particularly the way in which the superhero genre is used to question the "special relationship" between America and Britain. It will highlight the relations between the textual and the visual in comics and will explore the place of comics in relation to other kinds of contemporary art and literature, and other mediums using word and image interactions (notably film).

Finally, we explore and question the relevance and validity of various theoretical and aesthetic contexts for the understanding of comics as art and literature.


The module will be taught by weekly one-hour lectures followed by weekly two-hour seminars over 11 weeks.


  • Close analysis exercise 40%
  • Research essay 60%

Primary Texts

  • Moore: WatchmenFrom HellSnakes and LaddersLost GirlsThe League of Extraordinary Gentleman
  • Gaiman: Signal to NoiseThe Sandman
  • Morrison: ZenithArkham AsylumAnimal ManDoom PatrolFlex Mentallo, The Invisibles, The Filth

Secondary Texts

  • Bender, Hy, The Sandman Companion (London: Titan Books, 1999)
  • Gravett, Paul, and Peter Stanbury, Great British Comics (London: Aurum Press, 2006)
  • Smokey Man and Gary Spencer Millidge, Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman (Leigh-on-Sea: Abiogenesis Press, 2003)
  • Versaci, Rocco. This Book Contains Graphic Language: Comics as Literature (New York and London: Continuum, 2007)

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should:

  • demonstrate the ability to write informed and independent critical analysis of relevant texts,
  • show knowledge of the range of theoretical approaches to the comics studied on the module,
  • demonstrate an ability to think and write in an interdisciplinary way,
  • show an awareness of key aspects of history and critical debate in relation to the texts and theories studied.


This module is available on following courses: