K. Fritz Ruehr
Comic Books and Graphic NovelsCourse taught by: K. Fritz Ruehr
What are the distinctive aesthetic and communicative possibilities and challenges shared by comic books? They have been a mainstay of American popular culture since the 1930s. Their blend of graphics and writing makes for a compelling mixed medium in which artists can entertain, tell stories, and convey deeper ideas. But despite the unique formal and expressive possibilities of comic books, they have long been relegated to kids' rooms. Historically, comic books have also struggled against censorship and the stigma that they promoted juvenile delinquency. In recent years, comics have begun to be respected for their artistic possibilities, and fans and scholars alike are now taking a fresh look at the medium. In this class we will read and discuss influential comic books, past and present, and also examine academic treatments of comics from a number of different perspectives, including semiotics, politics, and aesthetics. Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics will be our main textbook.