The comic book pamphlet developed as an independent literary form in the 1930s and early 1940s and has been a favorite of adolescent enthusiasts and cult devotees ever since. Recently, it has entered into a process of transformation, moving from a species
of pulp fiction on the margins of children’s literature to an autonomous genre, one Will Eisner labeled the graphic novel. This transformation has been noted in such literary venues as the New York Times and the New Yorker, as well as in an increasing
number of university classrooms and bookstore shelves.
“Comic Books and Graphic Novels” presents a survey of the history of American comics and a review of major graphic novels circulating in the U. S. today. It is focused on three main points. First, it argues that as comics develop in concert with, and
participate in literary culture, they should be considered literature. Second, it reasons that such a designation forces us to redefine our concept of literature itself. Finally, it explores this transformative literary world by arguing that comics have
much to teach us about ourselves.
Get started by enrolling in an upcoming session, then print out the official course playset and get started!
Books and Graphic Novels Professor
William Kuskin University
of Colorado Boulder
This is the final schedule. A final syllabus will be available when the course opens.
WEEK ONE: WELCOME TO THE COURSE(RA)
Video 1: Welcome to the Course
Video 2: The Syllabus (Overview)
Video 3: The Syllabus (Logistics)
Video 4: What is a Comic?
Video 5: Teaching Comics (w/Barry Barrows)
Video 6: Collecting (w/Jim Vacca)
TWO: TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Lecture 1a: Reading the Grid
Lecture 1b: Two Comics Masters
Lecture 2a: The Golden Age
Lecture 2b: Golden Age Master
Lecture 2c: Gender in the Golden Age
Lecture 3a: The Virulent Art Lecture 3b: The Possibilities of Change
WEEK THREE: CRASH AND REBIRTH
Lecture 4a: Big Brother Steps In
Lecture 4b: The Comics Code Authority
Video 7: Fredric Wertham and the Atomic Age (w/Jim Vacca)
Lecture 5a: The Silver Ages Rises
Lecture 5b: Silver Age Master
Lecture 6a: Underground Comix
Lecture 6b: Black and White
Video 8: Comics Economics (w/Wayne Winsett)
WEEK FOUR: PATERNITY AND CREATIVITY
Lecture 7a: The Death of the Father
Lecture 7b: The Birth of the Children
8: Art Spiegelman’s Maus a: An American Artist
b: How to Read a
Book 9: Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home a: Finding Yourself in a Book
b: What Defines Art
WEEK FIVE: GENRE
Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns a: Innovation and Originality
b: The Rules of Genre
c: Who is The Batman?
Lecture 11: Warren Ellis and John Cassady's Planetary
a: The Possibilities of Genre
b: The Limits of the Page
Lecture 12: Neil Gaiman, Bill Willingham, Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Stables, and the Vernacular Canon of Fantasy
WEEK SIX: MEDIA
Lecture 13: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen a: The Media
b: The Poetics of the Page
Lecture 14: Joe Sacco’s Palestine a: Faces Tell Stories
b: Dead Ends
Lecture 15: Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s The Ultimates a: War Machine
b: Star Power
WEEK SEVEN: CONCLUSION
Lecture 16: Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan and Building Stories a: The Aesthetics of Loneliness
b: The Book of Honesty
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