Digital Comics

Course - first cycle - 15 credits

Syllabus for students autumn 2016, autumn 2014

Course Code:
KK146A revision 1
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
No main fields
Date of ratification:
10 February 2014
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
01 September 2014

Entry requirements

1. Basic eligibility for university studies
2. The equivalent of English course B in Swedish secondary school.
For Swedish Upper Secondary Grades merit rating will be calculated according to Områdesbehörighet 6/A6

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

The course can usually be included as part of a general degree at undergraduate level.


The course aims to give basic theoretical and practical knowledge of digital comics and their cultural and media contexts. To achieve this aim, students will analyse fictional and non-fiction comics, as well as develop, produce and reflect on these comics. They will also become proficient in graphic visual communication.
Starting from digital comics, the course will introduce and facilitate detailed analysis of visual storytelling and its conditions. Students use online comics and other digital comics to develop and clarify their knowledge of the potential and limitations of relevant media channels. The collaborative learning approach central to the distance course will also be addressed.

During the course, students will study, analyse and comment on the contemporary field of digital comics. In addition, they will create and publish digital comics of their own, as well as read, evaluate and comment on digital comics published by fellow students. Results and reflections will be published in open webforums aimed at digital comics and comics in general.


The course is divided into three modules:

Module 1 contains a short introduction to the basics of digital comics, starting with technical aspects, forms of narration, the history of digital comics and artistic practice. This module addresses practical and theoretical issues. Students will analyse and reflect on results and consider them in relation to the course's required literature/reading. Students will experiment with tools, styles, and construction of sequences to produce comic strips and visual material. This module develops the practical skills of visual narrating, layout of individual images and picture sequences, digitalisation, production, distribution and marketing. Results are presented online.

Module 2 looks at different strategies for publishing and marketing digital comics, including ethical and legal aspects. It continues from the first module and concludes after module 3, as it includes reflections on the individual project and the production of digital comics.

Module 3 is dedicated to an individual project to be developed for publication in digital format and published digitally as part of the project. Students will choose the topic and medium together with their supervisor. The project is carried out independently, with limited supervision. It can be used for further analysis and development in the final paper.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:
After completing this course, students will be able to

  • describe and discuss the history of digital comics (1)
  • describe and discuss the position of digital comics in contemporary media(2)
  • describe and discuss several important research areas for the medium (3)
  • describe and discuss production of a digital comic, from idea and concept to published product (4)
  • describe and discuss specific forms of production and publication for digital comics (5)

Competence and skills:
After completing this course, students will be able to
  • show development of their abilities in visual storytelling in digital comics (6)
  • reflect critically and analyse their own and other's work in spoken and written form (7)

Judgement and approach:
After completing this course, students will be able to

  • reflect in writing and orally on and evaluate their own and others’ comics in regard to content, form and topic. (8)
  • be able to judge ethical aspects of digital publishing and their consequences (9)

Learning activities

Digital comics is a part-time (50%) distance learning course. The course relies on active student participation and reading. Teaching involves online lectures, seminars and workshops, as well as media-based group work and supervised individual projects.


Module 1 (6 credits)
1. Introduction. Digital formats, digital media and history of webcomics, learning outcomes 1-3; assessed by one written and three creative assignments (6 credits)

Module 2 (3 credits)
2. Publishing and marketing digital comics, ethics, copyright legislation, learning outcomes 4-6, 9; assessed by one written assignment (1,5 credits) and an examination (1,5 credits).

Module 3 (6 credits)
3. Individual project based on given digital format (chosen with supervisor) assesses learning outcomes 4-9 based on completion of the individual project and its presentation to the class online (3 credits), as well as a written final report (3 credits)

The course combines take-home tests, a final report, and real-time written examinations to be completed within 2-3 hours via online or upload-participation.

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

Atchison, Lee (2008): A brief history of webcomics" in Sequential Tart 07.01.2008

Bell, Mark. 2006. “The Salvation of Comics: Digital Prophets and Iconoclasts.” The Review of Communication 6 (1–2): 131–140.

Bolter, J. & Grusin, R.: "Remediation" in: Configurations 4.3, 1996; 311-358.

Dittmar, Jakob (2013) ”Digital Comics”. Scandinavian Journal of Comics Research.

Kurtz, Scott (2008): How to make webcomics. Berkeley: Image comics.

McCloud, Scott (1993). Understanding Comics. New York: HarperCollins.

McCloud, Scott (2000). Reinventing comics. New York: HarperCollins

Murray, Janet H. (2000): Hamlet on the Holodeck. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT.

Phillips, Andrea (2012) A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling: How to Captivate and Engage Audiences Across Multiple Platforms. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Sticka, Tylor; Peter Wooley (2006ff): Comicsconvergence

Withrow, Steven; John Barber (2005): Webcomics: Tools and Techniques for Digital Cartooning. Lewes: Barron's Educational Series.

Additional chapters from books and other articles are to be read amounting to approx. 100-150 pages.

Approx. 500-1000 pages of digital comics to be selected partly individually and partly by the teachers of the course in relation to specific course topics.

Ellis, Warren (2001): Come in alone. San Francisco: AiT/Planet Lar.

Rose, Frank (2011) The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.

Course evaluation

The course ends with an individual evaluation of the course objectives. The evaluations are summarised and made available to the students on completion of the course.

Interim rules

In a case when a course is no longer given, or the contents have been changed essentially, the
student has the right to two opportunities during a one year period to be examined according to the course plan which was valid at the time of registration. The exam opportunities are set by the department and it is the student’s responsibility to contact the department to find out how and when the re-examination will take place.

Other Information

The course is held in English.