The paper describes a project for Liverpool John Moores University PGCE Art and Design students in which they carried out practical research into comics and graphic novels as part of their preparation for teaching. The students were encouraged to investigate the history of the genre, its formal properties as well as its potential as a vehicle for social realism. The practical task was to prepare a single comic book page design, in the course of which they explored a range of possibilities from imaginative children's stories to serious issues such as illness and abuse. They took the opportunity to investigate the potential of this sequential medium to construct narratives using devices such as sequence, repetition and multiple perspectives as well as the juxtapositions of image and text. The paper contains examples of students' work where the investigations yielded interesting and innovative results.