Comics as Instruments for Social Change

Comic strips are a great way to combine storytelling and art to get your message across.  The first newspaper comic strips appeared in the late 19th century and soon expanded to full-length stories, or comic books.  Today, local and national newspapers both include comics that are funny and thought provoking.

Activity 1

Turn to the comics section of your newspaper.  Read through the comics and choose one that is appealing to you.  Who are the characters?  What larger message is the artist trying to get across?  Does the artist/writer use any stereotypes?  What are they?

Activity 2

Using the same comic used in Activity 1 or choosing another, predict what tomorrow’s episode is going to look like and design the page and text. You can draw this out on a piece of paper or use design software on your computer.

Activity 3 – for advanced students

Borderland is a social change comic book that tells the story of seven victims of human trafficking or modern-day slavery.  As a class, read one story and discuss its significance and importance. Next, choose an important social issue and design a 10 panel comic strip to tell your story.  You can work individually or as a collaboration (one student designs the comic and the other student writes the text).

Link to Borderland:



About stowestudents

Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War. The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.

Posted on February 16, 2011, in Curriculum: Grades 7-10. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. We should always focus on social issues so that we can solve them as early as posible. *

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