In this class we will map the path of the American superhero and consider the ways in which that journey reflects larger processes of social change. But we will also attempt to analyze superhero comic books as significant aesthetic achievements in themselves: expressions of a misunderstood and under-appreciated genre and art form, as uniquely American as jazz. Together we will try to formulate a critical vocabulary to discuss this remarkable artistic legacy. Finally, we will make an effort to better understand the extraordinary imaginative appeal of the costumed crime-fighter — an appeal that apparently overlaps significant distinctions of age, gender, nation, and culture, and which no amount of silliness or cynicism seems quite able to dispel.
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.