This class is conceived as an introduction to the art of comics, and to the methodologies of the new academic discipline of Comics Studies. Course content will vary from term to term, according to the specialist interests of the individual instructor, within the following parameters. Students will be exposed to a spectrum of comic-art forms (i.e., at a minimum, three of the following archetypal forms: the gag cartoon, the editorial cartoon, the newspaper strip, the comic book, the graphic novel, the web comic). Students will be exposed to a historical range of comic texts, ranging from (at least) the early 1900s to the present. Students will be required to read several professional critical or theoretical essays over the course of the term alongside the primary materials the instructor of record assigns. These essays will be drawn from relevant academic peer-reviewed sources. Scott McCloud’s influential book, Understanding Comics, will be required reading for all versions of the class.
Comics Studies Minor courses present students with an international, historical, and critical perspective on the art of editorial cartoons, comic books, and graphic novels, and how these forms communicate, inform, and emotionally engage their audiences. Students will be required to think outside of accustomed disciplinary boundaries, and to analyze and experiment with the interaction of both visual and linguistic systems of meaning.