Edinburgh Napier University are offering a taster session for Graphic Fiction on 27 June, as part of its open doors event for their MA in Creative Writing.
The MA is run by Sam Kelly and David Bishop. Kelly has a formidable track record in publishing and is running a taster session on experimental writing at the event. Bishop, running the graphic fiction taster, is a former editor of 2000AD, and mentored quite a few souls, notably the comic artist Frank Quitely. The combined skills of Kelly and Bishop have produced an MA which is unique in its very usefulness, and the graphic fiction specialism is the first of its kind in Scotland.
We spoke to Bishop about this specialism, and about the future of comics in mainstream literature.
“Publishing and academia are now giving graphic fiction the attention it deserves. Both fields have woken up to something people around the world have known for decades – that comics are not just for kids or superhero enthusiasts.
“The unholy trinity of Maus, Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns got graphic fiction noticed back in 1986, but it’s taken more than twenty-five years for those breakthrough successes to become embedded in the culture of publishing. Need proof? Look at the rise of publishers like SelfMadeHero and Jonathan Cape’s graphic novel imprint; Comica at the ICA and the Observer Graphic Short Story Prize; the crossover success of Persepolis, The Walking Dead and Alice in Sunderland.
“There is now significant academic research into graphic fiction narrative by the likes of Dr Mel Gibson and Professor James Chapman, both of them publishing scholarly book and papers. The Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier University teaches writing for graphic fiction as a vocational skill, but within the context of a course that promotes innovation and academically rigorous learning. Graphic fiction is here to stay – no spandex required.”
Graduates from the course praise its practicality and its application to the real world. Aly Mathers specialised in Graphic Fiction, and his comic script Necrophenia has now been optioned as a screen play. Ariadne Cass-Maran, our own Creative Director, is also a graduate of the programme and Graphic Scotland would not exist without the support of Bishop and Kelly.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to write for comics, this is the time, and place, to do it.