American Widow cover

American Widow is written by Alissa Torres, with art by Sungyoon Choi.

Shepherd students reflect...

“Talking with Alissa has changed the way I'll approach my own writing. I have a greater understanding of how to express myself with dialogue, pictures and the use of panels.” -Elizabeth Michael

“… this experience has changed the way I'll approach my own novel because I now see the importance and also the powerful statement these books can create within the reader.” - Andrew Fultz

“I really love how open Alissa was with everything. She didn't hold back what she said, she told us all about her experience. It was refreshing.” –Joel Heslop

News: American Widow author Alissa Torres leads discussion group for COMM 343 Graphic Novel class

Shepherdstown, WV – September 21, 2010 - Students in COMM 343 Graphic Novel were treated today to a virtual visit by Random House author Alissa Torres. Skype video conferencing software enabled Torres to join the group live from her office in New York.

Torres’ novel is an autobiographical look at her experiences following the death of her husband in the World Trade Towers on September 11. The book has received positive reviews in many publications, including The New York Times and USA Today, and is described by industry expert Scott McCloud as “an emotionally charged visual document that doesn’t pave over the ambivalence and complexity of life’s mixed messages. Torres and Choi’s approach to comics, like Torres’s approach to life, is filled with twist, turns and unexpected revelations.”

American Widow is currently part of the required reading for the COMM 343 class. Professor Monica Larson commented, “We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to speak live with a successful author about how she created her first graphic novel. The use of video conferencing software gives us access to the best in the field, regardless of their physical location.”

After a brief introduction that addressed her experience writing the book, Torres opened the floor for questions. A wide variety of topics were covered, ranging from why Torres selected a graphic novel format in the first place, to how to work effectively with a publisher. Students’ response to the event was overwhelmingly upbeat.

About COMM 343 Graphic Novel

Once the domain of sticky-fingered kids clutching nickels and dimes, comics have grown up and are establishing themselves as a fast-growing and respected literary genre. Students enrolled in The Graphic Novel will explore this cultural phenomenon by analyzing works like Neil Gaiman's Sandman series and Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan. Students will also write and design their own graphic novels . And contrary to common belief, you don't have to draw to create. Even non-artists can produce compelling content using imaging and animation software provided in class.