Comics and Graphic Storytelling: A Sample Syllabus

Last week, I featured an interview with the editors and contributors to a new anthology, Critical Approaches to Comics, suggesting that it signaled the solidification of Comics Studies as a field of academic research. As it happens, I am putting the final touches to a syllabus I have been developing for a Comic Studies course which I will be teaching in the Spring here at the University of Southern California, one which makes extensive use of that collection.

Today, I thought I would share with you the basic blue print of this class, which is designed to expose students to a range of different methods for studying the medium and to as broad a sample of (primarily) American comics and graphic storytelling as I could cram into one subject. I’ve found in the past that undergraduates often know a pretty limited sample of comics — sometimes the mainstream super heroes, sometimes independent titles — but they lack a depth of historical perspectives and a mental model of a full range of what comics can and are doing. As a consequence, the most valuable thing we can do as teachers is to expose them to as many comics as it is humanly possible to read in a semester and to diverse ways of reading and discussing what they are reading. At the moment, I have probably pushed this past the breaking point and I am most likely stripping down some of what is currently listed, but having pulled together such a rich list of materials, I figured why not share them with my readers.

JOUR 499 Special Topics: Comics and Graphic Storytelling

Henry Jenkins

“Comics are just words and images. You can do anything with words and images” – Harvey Pekar

In this class, we will take apart Pekar’s core claim about the nature of his medium. Our approach is emphatically exploratory. While we will deal with many of the dominant figures of historical and contemporary comics, we will not necessarily observe proper boundaries (between high and popular art, between independent and mainstream comics, between historical and contemporary comics, between American and international comics). We want to explore the full range of different uses which have been made of this medium.

Our central focus will be on comics (including comic strips but primarily comic books and graphic novels) as a medium rather than as a genre – that is, we believe that the formal practices of comics can be deployed to tell a broad range of different kinds of stories and speak to diverse kinds of audiences. We want to put this proposition to the test by developing a core vocabulary for thinking about comics as a medium and then looking at how artists have drawn on that vocabulary in a range of different contexts.

To do this, we will need to read lots and lots of comics – don’t complain. I am assuming you are taking this class because you like, no, love, comics. Some of them will take you outside your comfort zone. Some of them will deal with controversial material. Some of them will look ugly or strange when you first encounter them. Some of them may frustrate or confuse you. But most of them, when everything is said and done, will entertain you. Few of you will read as broad a range of comics as you will encounter here, so use this reading to map the territory and expand your tastes. While I hope you like the comics I’ve chosen, I care more that you come to understand and appreciate them for what they tell us about the comics tradition.

Objectives

By the end of the class, the student will:

  • Be able to deploy a range of different methods for analyzing comics (including formal technique, genre, authorship, and intertextual analysis)
  • Grasp how comics tell stories through words and images
  • Be able to describe the basic vocabulary of graphic storytelling
  • Be familiar with the core figures who shaped the history of comics as a medium
  • Discuss the continuing relevance of the superhero genre as an window into understanding American life.
  • Be aware of the differences between American comics and the graphic traditions of other leading comics-producing countries, including Japan and France
  • Understand the differences between mainstream, independent, and underground comics traditions
  • Understand the relationship between the comic strip and comic book traditions
  • Developed a model for thinking about the ways comics have been a vehicle for journalism, history, autobiography, and social commentary
  • Explain how contemporary comics artists have built upon materials borrowed from the larger tradition, using past themes and icons to shed light on contemporary culture
  • Be able to discuss how women and minority authors have carved out a space for themselves within the comics tradition

Assignments and Grading

Page Analysis – Each week, the student should select one page from one of the comics we read and develop a one page analysis, which applies some of the concepts or methods we have been studying that week. Please turn in a copy of the page in question with your analysis to aid with the grading. The writing is intended to be exploratory and will be graded (Check, Check Plus, Check Minus) based on the student’s abilities to look closely at what’s on the page and to explain why the choices made matter in our understanding of the work as a whole. Please keep in mind that this will be the primary means by which I can appraise whether or not you have done the readings each week and whether or not you have understood them fully. Push yourself to apply a range of different methods of analysis over the course of the semester. (30 Percent) DUE DATE (Due every Friday)

Formal analysis paper – The student will select one of the comics we’ve read this term (or another of their own selection, with the approval of the instructor), and write a concise five page paper applying one of the methods of formal analysis we have examined in the first part of the class (McCloud, Eisner, Smith and Duncan) with the goal of helping us to better understand the techniques the graphic storyteller is deploying and how they contribute to the overall meaning and expressiveness of the book. Where possible, ground your analysis in the readings, though do not simply replicate what the critics we are reading have already done. Please provide concrete examples to support your claims. (20 Percent) DUE DATE (Feb. 22)

Author Analysis – Select a favorite comic book author, preferably one we have not read in the class, and develop an concise five page analysis of their specific qualities as an author, informed by the Randy Duncan essay we’ve read on Alan Moore. Draw examples from multiple texts from their body of work to show repeated patterns or themes. Discuss their relationship to their genres and to the comic book traditions which have informed their approach. Again, the paper will be evaluated based on the quality of the argument and your ability to support your claims with concrete examples. (30 Percent) DUE DATE (April 2)

Character analysis paper – Select a character from comic strips or comic books who has been especially meaningful to you. Write a concise five-page paper which explores some of the following questions: What do you see as the primary qualities of this character and how have they emerged over time as we have watched the character interact in a range of different situations and stories? What has changed and remained the same about the character over time? How have shifts in authorship impacted the character? Again, ground your analysis with concrete examples which support your claims. The paper will be evaluated based on the quality of the analysis and of the supporting evidence. (20 Percent) DUE DATE (Exam Week)

Books

(A Word to the Wise: Comics are expensive, and we are going to be reading lots of them in this class, so my recommendation is that you form a buddy or club system, much as you did when you read comics when you were younger. Go in together with 2-3 people and swap off the comics, so you each carry a more reasonable part of the price.)

Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (New York: Harper, 1990, 224 pp.)

Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (eds.) Critical Approaches to Comics (London: Routledge, 2011, 328 pp.)

Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library, Number 16 (self-published). (64 pp.)

Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima, Lone Wolf and Cub Vol. 1: The Assassin’s Road (Portland, OR: Dark Horse, 2000, 296 pp.).

Peter Kuper, The System (New York: DC Comics, 1997, 192 pp.)

Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, DayTripper (New York: Vertigo, 2011, 256 pp.)

David Mazzuchelli, Asterios Polyp (New York: Pantheon, 2009, 344 pp.)

Craig Thompson, Blankets (Marietta, GA: Top Shelf, 2011, 592 pp.)

David B., Epileptic (New York: Pantheon, 2006, 368 pp.)

Al Capp, The Short Life and Happy Times of the Shmoo (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2002, 144 pp.)

James Sturm and Guy Davis, Fantastic Four Legends: Unstable Molecules (New York: Marvels, 2003, 128 pp.).

Keith Chow and Jerry Ma (eds.) Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology (New York: New Press, 2009, 200 pp.)

Alan Moore, Batman: The Killing Joke (New York: DC, 2008, 64 pp.)

Mike Carey and Peter Gross, The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (New York: Vertigo, 2010, 144 pp.)

Joyce Farmer, Special Exits (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2010, 208 pp.)

Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (New York: Pantheon, 2004. 160 pp.).

The rest of the Readings will be on Blackboard.

Schedule

Week 1

Monday, January 9 – Getting Started

  • Scott McCloud, “Setting the Record Straight,” Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, pp. 2-24

.

Wednesday, January 11 – Caricature and Illustration

  • Scott McCloud, “The Vocabulary of Comics,” Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, pp. 24-59.
  • Joseph Witek, “Comic Modes: Caricature and Illustration in the Crumb Family’s Dirty Laundry“, in Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (eds.) Critical Approaches to Comics (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 27-42.
  • R. Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Excerpts from The Complete Dirty Laundry Comics (San Francisco: Last Gasp Comics, 1993), pp. 6-41.
  • R. Crumb, excerpts from The Book of Genesis Illustrated (New York: W.W. Norton, 2009), Chapter 1-9 (28 pages)

Week 2

Monday, January 16 – Martin Luther King’s Birthday – No class.

Wednesday, January 18 – The Gutter and The Frame

  • Scott McCloud, “Blood in the Gutter,” Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, pp. 60-93.
  • Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library, Number 16.

Week 3

Monday, January 23 – The Shape of the Page

  • Will Eisner, “The Frame,” Comics and Sequential Art (New York: W.W. Norton, 2008), pp. 39-102.
  • “Will Eisner, The Spirit,” in Michael Barrier and Martin Williams (eds.) A Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics (Washington DC: Smithsonian Institute Press, 1981), pp. 269-294.
  • Will Eisner, “A Contract With God” and “Izzy the Cockroach and the Meaning of Life,” The Contract With God Trilogy: Life on Dropsie Avenue (New York: W.W. Norton, 2006), pp. 3-62, 187-204.

  • Wednesday, January 25 – Visual Storytelling in the Japanese Tradition
  • Pascal LeFevre, “Mise En Scene and Framing: Visual Storytelling in Lone Wolf and Cub” in Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (eds.) Critical Approaches to Comics (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 71-83.
  • Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima, Lone Wolf and Cub Vol. 1: The Assassin’s Road (Portland, OR: Dark Horse, 2000).

Week 4

Monday, January 30 – Wordless Comics

  • David A. Berona, “Wordless Comics: The Imaginative Appeal of Peter Kiper’s The System,” in Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (eds.) Critical Approaches to Comics (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 17-26.
  • Peter Kuper, The System (New York: DC Comics, 1997).

Wednesday, February 1 – Temporality and Seriality

  • Scott McCloud, “Time Frames” Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, pp. 94-117.
  • Richard McGuire, “Here,” Raw Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 69-74.
  • Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, DayTripper (New York: Vertigo, 2011).

Week 5

Monday, February 6 – Line and Color

  • Scott McCloud, “Living in the Line” and “A Word About Color” Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, pp. 118-137, 185-193.
  • Randy Duncan, “Image Functions: Shape and Color as Hermeneutic Images in Asterios Polyp,” in Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (eds.) Critical Approaches to Comics (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 43-54.
  • David Mazzuchelli, Asterios Polyp (New York: Pantheon, 2009).

Wednesday, February 8 – Abstraction and Realism

  • Andrei Molotiu, “Abstract Form: Sequential Dynamism and Iconostasis in Abstract Comics and in Steve Ditko’s Amazing Spider-Man,” in Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (eds.) Critical Approaches to Comics (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 84-100.
  • Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, “The Final Chapter” in Bob Callahan (ed.) The Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Stories: From Crumb to Clowes (Washington DC: Smithsonian Institute, 2004) pp. 122-141.
  • Stan Lee and Jim Steranko, “The Strange Death of Captain America” in Bob Callahan (ed.) The Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Stories: From Crumb to Clowes (Washington DC: Smithsonian Institute, 2004), pp. 64-84.
  • David Mack, “Chapter One,” Daredevil/Echo: Vision Quest (New York: Marvel, 2010), pp. 1-23.

Week 6

Monday, February 13 – An Art of Tensions

  • Charles Hatfield, “An Art of Tensions: The Otherness of Comics Reading”, Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature (Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 2005), pp. 32-67.
  • Craig Thompson, Blankets (Marietta, GA: Top Shelf, 2011).

Wednesday, February 15 – Text and Image

  • Douglas Wolk, “David B: The Battle Against the Real World,” Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean (New York: Da Capo, 2007), pp. 139-146.
  • Herge, “TinTin: The Secret of the Unicorn, ” Herge’s TinTin Adventures, vol. 3 (London: Methuen, 1990).
  • David B., Epileptic (New York: Pantheon, 2006).

Week 7

Monday, February 20 – Presidents’ Day – No class.

Wednesday, February 22 – Comic Characters

  • Walt Kelly, The Ever-Loving Blue-Eyed Years With Pogo (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1959), pp. 27-69.
  • Al Capp, The Short Life and Happy Times of the Shmoo (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2002).
  • Carl Barks, “The Second Richest Duck,” Uncle Scrooge Vs. Flintheart Glomgord (Prescott, AZ: Gladstone), pp. 1-20.
  • Jeff Smith, “The Great Cow Race,” Bone: Book Two (Columbus, OH: Cartoon Books, 2004), pp. 153-258.

Formal Analysis Paper Due

Week 8

Monday, February 27 – The Origins of a Genre: The Superhero 1

  • Peter Coogan, “Genre: Reconstructing the Superhero in All-Star Superman” in Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (eds.) Critical Approaches to Comics (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 203-220.
  • Grant Morrison, “The SunGod and the Dark Knight,” Supergods (New York: Spigel and Grau, 2011), pp. 3-26.
  • Jerome Siegel and Joe Schuster, “Superman,” in E. Nelson Bridwell, Superman From the Thirties to the Eighties (New York: Crown, 1983), pp. 23-127.
  • Grant Morrison, Excerpts from All-Star Superman (New York: DC Comics, 2008), TBD.

Wednesday, February 29 – The Legacy of a Genre: The Superhero 2

  • Scott Bukattman, “X-Bodies: The Torment of The Mutant Superhero,” Matters of Gravity: Special Effects and Supermen in the 20th Century (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), pp. 48-80.
  • Gary Conway, Gil Kane and John Romita Sr., “The Night Gwen Stacey Died,” Amazing Spiderman 121-122, 1973, pp.1-25.
  • Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, “The Incredible Hulk #1,” The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time (New York: Marvel, 2001), pp.1-25
  • Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross, “Monsters Among Us,” Marvels (New York: Marvel, 2010).
  • Brian Michael Bendis, “Side-Tracked,” Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 5 (New York: Marvel, 2003), pp. 1-22.

Week 9

Monday, March 5 – Genre And Multiplicity: The Superhero 3

  • Paul Chadwick, “A Stone Among Stones,” The Complete Concrete (Portland, OR: Dark Horse, 1994), pp. 11-38.
  • Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, “Fantastic Four #1,” The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time (New York: Marvel, 2001), pp.1-25.
  • James Sturm and Guy Davis, Fantastic Four Legends: Unstable Molecules (New York: Marvels, 2003).

Wednesday, March 7 – Genre and Ideology: The Superhero 4

  • Keith Chow and Jerry Ma (eds.) Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology (New York: New Press, 2009).
  • Stanford Carpenter, “Truth Be Told: Authorship and the Creation of the Black Captain America,” in Jim McLaughlin (ed.) Comics as Philosophy (Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 2005), pp. 46-62.

March 12-17 – Spring Recess – No class.

Week 10

Monday, March 19 – Authorship (The Writer)

  • Matthew J. Smith, “Auteur Criticism: The Re-Visionary Works of Alan Moore” in Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (eds.) Critical Approaches to Comics (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 178-189.
  • Alan Moore and Rick Veitch, “How Things Work Out,” Tomorrow Stories 2, not numbered (10 pages)
  • Alan Moore, “Secret Origins,” Supreme: The Story of the Year (New York: Checker, 2002), pp. not numbered (23 Pages)
  • Alan Moore, “The Radiant Heavenly City”, Promethea Vol.1 (New York: America’s Best, 1999), pp. 1-36.
  • Alan Moore, Batman: The Killing Joke (New York: DC, 2008).

Wednesday, March 21 – Authorship (The Publisher)

  • Julia Round, “Is This a Book?’: DC Vertigo and The Redefinition of Comics in the 1990s,” in Paul Williams and James Lyons (ed.) The Rise of the American Comics Artist: Creators and Contexts (Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 2010), pp. 14-30.
  • Jean-Paul Gabilliet, “Production,” Of Comics and Men: A Cultural History of American Comic Books (Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 2005), pp. 111-132.
  • Neil Gaiman with Charles Vest and Malcolm Jones III, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” in The Absolute Sandman Volume One (New York: Vertigo, 2006), pp.495-519.
  • Bill Willingham and Lan Medina, “Old Tales Revisited,” Fables, 1, no pages (aprox. 32 pages)
  • Mike Carey and Peter Gross, The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (New York: Vertigo, 2010).

Week 11

Monday, March 26 – Crossing Borders

  • Douglas Wolk, “Gilbert Hernandez: Spiraling into the System” and “Jaimie Hernandez: Mad Love,” in Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean (New York: Da Capo, 2007), pp. 181-202.
  • Jaimie Hernandez, “100 Rooms,” Locas: The Maggie and Hopie Stories (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2004), pp. 60-90.
  • Gilbert Hernandez, “Heartbreak Soup,” Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2004), pp. 13-57.

Wednesday, March 28 – Comics and Reality 1: Comics Journalism

  • Amy Kiste Nyberg, “Comics Journalism: Drawing on Words to Picture the Past in Safe Area Gorazde” in Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (eds.) Critical Approaches to Comics (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. .
  • Joe Sacco, excerpt from Palestine (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2002), pp. 81-141
  • Joe Sacco, excerpt from Safe Area Gorazde (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2002), pp. 1-56.

Week 12

Monday, April 2 – Comics and Reality 2: Comics and Everyday Life

  • Joseph Witek, “‘You Can Do Anything With Words and Pictures: Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor,” Comic Books as History (Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 1989), pp. 121-156.
  • Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, excerpts from Local (Oni, 2008), no pages (aprox. 60 pages)
  • Harvey Pekar, excerpts from American Splendor (New York: Ballatine, 1987), pp. no pages (aprox. 30 pages).

Author Analysis Paper Due

Wednesday, April 4 – Comics and Reality 3: Autobiography

  • Joyce Farmer, Special Exits (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2010).
  • C. Tyler, “Gone,” Late Bloomer (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2005), pp. 96-102.

Week 13

Monday, April 9 – Comics and History 1

  • Hillary L. Chute, “Graphic Narrative as Witness: Marjane Satrapi,” Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983), pp. 135-174.
  • Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (New York: Pantheon, 2004).

Wednesday, April 11 – Comics and History 2

  • Joseph Witek, “Comic Books as History: The First Shots at Fort Sumter,” Comic Books as History (Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 1989), pp. 13-47.
  • Ho Che Anderson, excerpt from King: A Comic’s Biography (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2010), pp. 94-153.
  • Howard Cruise, excerpt from Stuck Rubber Baby (New York: Vertigo, 2011), pp.41-85.

Week 14

Monday, April 16 – High/Low

  • Henry Jenkins, “Comics as Debris: Art Spiegelman’s In The Shadow of No Towers” (work in Progress).
  • Art Spigelman, excerpts from Breakdowns: Portraits of the Artist as a Young %@*! (New York: Pantheon, 2008), pp. . No Pages (13 Pages)
  • Basil Wolverton, “Powerhouse Pepper: A Nightmare Scare,” Raw Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 175-180.
  • Jack Cole, “Plastic Man: Plague of the Plastic People,” in Art Spigelman, Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to Their Limits (New York: DC, 2001), pp. . No pages (13 pages)
  • Will Elder and Harvey Kurtzman, “Superdooperman,” Michael Barrier and Martin Williams (eds.) A Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Comics (Washington DC: Smithsonian Institute, 1981, pp. 311-318.

Wednesday, April 18 – Haunted By the Past

  • Harvey Kurtzman, “Corpse on the Imjin!,” Michael Barrier and Martin Williams (eds.) A Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Comics (Washington DC: Smithsonian Institute, 1981), pp. 305-311.
  • Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein, and Jack Davis, “Foul Play,” Grant Geissman (ed.) Foul Play! (New York: Harper, 2005) pp. 83-89.
  • Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein, and Joe Orlando, “Judgement Day,” Grant Geissman (ed.) Foul Play! (New York: Harper, 2005) pp. 147-153.
  • Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein, and Reed Crandall, “The High Cost of Dying,” Grant Geissman (ed.) Foul Play! (New York: Harper, 2005) pp. 217-223.
  • Bernie Kriegstein, “Murder Dream,” B. Krigstein Comics (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2004), pp. 179-184.
  • Charles Burns, “Teen Plague,” Raw Vol. 2, No.1, pp. 5-25.

Week 15

Monday, April 23 – Comparative Perspectives

  • Henry Jenkins, “Should We Discipline the Reading of Comics?” in Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (eds.) Critical Approaches to Comics (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 1-14.
  • Kim Deitch, “Karla in Komieland,” Raw Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 59-68.
  • Kim Deitch, “The Cult of the Clown,” Beyond the Pale! (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 1989), pp. 43-52.
  • Kim Deitch, “The Stuff of Dreams,” Alias the Cat! (New York: Pantheon, 2007), pp. no pages (23 pages)

Wednesday, April 25 – The Future of Comics?

  • Scott McCloud, “The Infinite Canvas”, Reinventing Comics (New York: Harper, 2000), pp. 222-228.
  • Scott McCloud, “Planet Earth,” “The Conversation,” Zot! 1987-1991 (New York: Harper, 2008), pp. 17-64, 517-534.
  • Scott McCloud, “Hearts and Minds,” Zot! Online, http://www.scottmccloud.com/1-webcomics/zot/index.html
  • Scott McCloud, “The Right Number,” http://www.scottmccloud.com/1-webcomics/trn-intro/index.html
  • Scott McCloud, “My Obsession With Chess,” http://www.scottmccloud.com/1-webcomics/chess/index.html

Week 16 – Date TBD (May 2-9)

Character Analysis Paper Due

Comments

  1. This looks superb. For the Sacco week, consider having students listen to Sacco's own lecture, as introduced by Chris Hedges. He's superb. http://podcast.lannan.org/2011

    This onstage interview at NYU is also very good: http://nyuprimarysources.org/v

  2. Gwen Tarbox says:

    I'm glad that you are using Critical Approaches to Comics in your course; if it had been available in time, I would have used it this semester — I read the entire text the day after it arrived, and I shared segments of your intro via lecture to my students. I've posted below a link to the course blog that I have created for the comics studies class that I am teaching this semester. I will admit up front that I am still working diligently to develop my understanding of visual culture and theory; as such, the class right now reads much more like an English Studies course. That said, I have never enjoyed teaching a course so much, and I will look forward to reading your updates via this blog on how the class goes for you. Best wishes, Gwen. http://bookcandy.typepad.com/e

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  4. Clarissa says:

    A very interesting lineup, some really stellar works in here. Though I think if I were designing a similar course, I would prefer to include more European and Japanese comics, given that the American comic industry is rather small compared to those overseas and generally serves a more niche audience — the larger and more mainstream-supported markets I think bred a greater variety in subject matter and approach.

    Of course, it's always a tough call. The volume of material is simply staggering, so any selection is open to criticism or disagreement from others with different preferences or focus.

    Good luck with the course when it launches!

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