Comics are suddenly everywhere. Sure, they’re in comic books and the funny pages, but now they’re on movie screens and TV screens and the computer screens, too. Millions of people attend conventions around the world dedicated to comics, many of them wearing comic-inspired costumes. If a costume is too much for you, you can find a comic book t-shirt at Target or the local mall wherever you live. But it’s not just pop culture stuff; graphic novels are in serious bookstores. Graphic novelists win major book awards and MacArthur “Genius” grants. Comics of all kinds are finding their way onto the syllabi of courses in colleges across the country. So, what’s the deal with comics?
This course provides an introduction to the history and aesthetic traditions of Anglo-American comics, and to the academic discipline of Comics Studies. Together we will explore a wide spectrum of comic-art forms (especially the newspaper strip, the comic book, and the graphic novel) and a variety of modes and genres. We will also examine several examples of historical and contemporary comic’s scholarship.
Lower-division Elective courses allow students to choose (or “elect”) courses or faculty specific to their own developing interests, enabling them thereby to shape their own educational experience. Major II students can also use one lower-division elective to fulfill the Writing Requirement with ENG 209 The Craft of the Sentence.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.
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.