comic covers from RWS class

RWS 413 - The Rhetoric of Comics

Rhetoric scholar Kathryn Comer states that comics “rely on more than just linguistic and visual modes of communication; they combine words and images with gestural, spatial, and even audio modes into a truly multimodal experience.” This course offers an analytical look at the multimodal characteristics of comics, focusing on how visual rhetoric and sequential narrative are crafted within the genre to persuade and to convey meaning and messages to specific audiences. Students will identify, analyze, and evaluate the various modes of communication that comics creators utilize in telling their stories. Particular attention will be paid to comics using the medium to further arguments and narratives by and/or about people of color and historically marginalized communities. To reinforce the featured skills, we’ll move from theory to praxis as we help students utilize the rhetorical elements available through the comic medium in the creation of their own individual comic narratives and other multimodal texts.

Course Materials


Project One | Two | Three

About the Course Designer


Ben Jenkins completed his M.F.A. in creative writing and his B.A. in English at SDSU. Currently, he works as a lecturer at SDSU while also teaching English at Miramar College. Ben is a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. In 2016, he won the new voices Native American writing contest at the literary journal, See the Elephant

Some of Ben’s interests include: literature and issues pertaining to American Indians and other indigenous people throughout the world, civil discourse, our relationship with technology, social justice, the environment, visual rhetoric, and comics.

Read Ben's blog post about the course.