English 2000: Studies in English: Beyond Superheroes: A Survey of Contemporary Comics and Graphic Novels
In this course students will explore outside of the traditional superhero tropes, encountering a variety of genres (including autobiography, journalism, and realist, genre, and experimental fiction) and interacting with recently developed forms and formats (including graphic novels, web-comics, and minicomics). Central to this course will be investigations into the tension between high and low art, the place of popular culture within academia, the politics of representation (in particular gender, queer, and ethnic representation), artistic hybridity, and the power of visual narrative to address cultural and social concerns.
Students from all levels of artistic and literary skill will study and apply the unique technical and practical skills needed to create a comic book, including character design, page layout, panel construction, and the image/text relationship. In addition, students will be exposed to the unique creative process involved in comics production, including the makeup of creative teams (writer, artist, letterer, colorist, editor, etc.), and opportunities and techniques for publication. The culmination of the course will be a short comics narrative written and revised by each student and printed as a handmade book.