I work as a secondary History teacher. I often assign students to create a 1-page comic strip based on the history they learned.

Some of the content I teach is quite serious, and also personal to students attending the school (e.g. happened to their grandparents or great-grandparents), and was part of some dark times in our history. Long story short, an administrator warned it isn't politically correct to call these assignments "comic strip", no matter if I warn students to not add humor to the projects.

The only alternative term I know is "graphic novel", but that, I think, implies a longer work.

Is there a more sensitive name for "comic strip", that can apply to something constructed from panels, dialogue boxes, etc. using all of the conventions found in comic strips and graphic novels, yet is short?


4 Answers 4


graphic strip

He began with small illustrations and cartoons, including the first graphic strip version of Sherlock Holmes in 1894... London Plaques (2011) p.268

In 2013, retail sales of comics and novels in graphic strip format in North America topped an estimated $870 million, including digital download-to-own sales, an increase from $735 million in 2012, according to a report by the Comics Chronicles, which tracks comic book and graphic novel sales. Orlando Sentinel (2014)

Anti-Muslim racist incidents can also be used to stimulate discussion and problem solving with students...For example, students can be encouraged to respond through artwork such as drawings, posters, or graphic strips that retell the incident in visual form and provide a different, more appropriate to what happened. The Sage Handbook of Critical Pedagogies. (2020)

The general practitioner and comic book/graphic novel artist Ian Williams, who has a regular weekly graphic strip in The Guardian newspaper, provides an insightful and harrowing account of a GP making his way through medical school and junior doctor training as an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms (Williams, 2014). The catharsis is healing and should have happened much earlier in the doctor's career. Williams' graphic novel is described as 'fictional'; its message is fact. Staying Human During the Foundation Programme and Beyond (2017)

In 1973, Evening Standard graphic strip writer Peter O'Donnell published a strip of Modesty Blaise over a year called "The Bluebeard Affair." When the strip was collected in 2006, he wrote in the preface:... Bluebeard: A Reader's Guide to the English Tradition (2009) p.179

While making this animation, Sajad found himself healing, he was able to put his experiences and emotions on paper, and see graphics have a life of their own. After this was when he created his dream project, a graphic strip around Kashmir, where the story was to not be romanticised with, but rather show things as they are and in this process, to preserve the humanity, innocence of the people as well as the specificity and originality of the location. Narrative, Public Cultures and Visuality (2018) p.60

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    I can assure you that the school administrators will make an issue of the term graphic strip eight ways from Sunday. Aug 1, 2021 at 2:45
  • If someone tells you that "comic strip" is not PC, it's up to them to provide the PC term. Graphic panels, pictorial drama resolutions -- we can all make up names. But one exists. Hey, just call it "Your Project"
    – DjinTonic
    Aug 1, 2021 at 2:58

You can call it a graphic narrative.

This is a general term for comic books, graphic novels, manga, etc. See the answer to the question "word that covers manga comic book graphic novel and bande dessin".


Comics is the standard general English term for the medium, the content needn't be comical, and nowadays often isn't. But if your Administrator tolerates no contradiction, lets trawl the history of well meaning attempts for perspective:

Graphic Story, Graphic Narrative, Graphic Novel, Graphic Memoir, etc.. One problem with these is that graphic also euphemistically connotes sex, violence, and shock. The nouns tend to confuse, when applied to comics that are not novels, stories, memoirs, etc.

Picto-Fiction, Picture Stories, from William M. Gaines and Max Gaines, both aiming to evade anti-comics prejudice. Neither term caught on, nor did Illustories (Lev Gleason).

Bandes Dessinees, or BD; John Ralston Saul favors this import.

Cartoons, Comix, The Funnies, Funnybooks, none of these seem Administratively sensitive enough for this question.

Sequential Art; factual but the capital A connotes pretentiousness. Pictorial Literature is similarly overweening.

  • This didn't quite answer the Q. tho'. Objectively, there is probably no answer. Subjectively whatever term best pleases the admin would seem like the best that could be done.
    – agc
    Aug 1, 2021 at 7:28

How about appropriating the term...


a panel or series of panels on which a set of sketches is arranged depicting consecutively the important changes of scene and action in a series of shots (as for a film, television show, or commercial)

Merriam Webster

Originally developed by Disney studios, they often consist of rough images and text to lay out the important events and scenery, but can also use finer images and photos.

If you think of the history as being the already completed film, this could work.

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