Schedule

WEEK 1

September 3rd

  • Introductions
  • Introduction to the Course
  • Student Responsibilities
  • 21st Century Comics & Games fieldtrip (seriously)

WEEK 2

September 8th

  • Why should we care about comics?/Why should we study comics?
  • What is a comic book anyway?
  • Is the comic book and American phenomena?
  • Chronological framework for exploring comics
  • The Language of Comic Books – A Primer

September 10th

  • In the Beginning – from Prehistory to The Golden Age
  • The Road to DC – National Allied Publications
  • The Road to Marvel – Timely Publications
  • Dr. Fredric Wertham & the Seduction of the Innocent
  • The Death of the Superhero

September 10th Assignments

  • Blog Entry #1: Comics Autobiography. Write a narrative post that details the significant interactions that you have had with comics during your life and that suggests what those interactions reveal about you. Your post will tell your fellow students (and your professor) what kind of comic reader you are by sharing details about your key experiences with comics. Write the blog post in chronological order, and be sure to organize your post in a way that tells how you became the comic reader you are today. Finally, be sure to use concrete details in your story. Use strong, specific information to make the significance of your interactions with comics clear. Here are some a good examples of what I’m looking for. (DUE SUNDAY by 5PM)

WEEK 3

September 15th

  • In the Beginning – The Silver Age
  • The Rebirth of the Superhero
  • The Comics Code Authority
  • The Road to Marvel – Atlas Comics
  • Stan & Jack

September 17th

  • Discussion
  • Be Prepared to Talk About: What is a superhero anyway? And why are we so obsessed with them? Has this obsession changed over time? If so, why? If you could choose one super power, what would it be? What do you find appealing about that power? Does this appeal translate into the more general obsession with superheroes?

September 17th Assignments

  • Blog Entry #2: Weekly Book Discussion (due by 5pm on Friday)

WEEK 4

September 22nd

  • In the Beginning – The Bronze Age
  • Underground Comics (Comix) and their impact on the mainstream
  • Publishers Depict Serious Themes, and Challenge the Comics Code Authority
  • The Return of the X-Men (and what that really means)

September 24th

  • Lecture Cancelled

September 24th Assignments

  • Blog Entry #3: Weekly Book Discussion (due by 5pm on Friday)

WEEK 5

September 29th

  • The Birth of the Direct Market
  • The Rise of the Graphic Novel
  • Secret Wars, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the Emergence of the Comic Book Event

October 1st

  • The Rise of the Independent Publisher & Creator
  • The Birth of Creator Rights

October 1st Assignments

  • Blog Entry #4: Weekly Book Discussion (due by 5pm on Friday)

WEEK 6

October 6th

  • The Road to the Modern Age
  • Miracle Man, The Crow, V for Vendetta, American Flagg, Swamp Thing
  • The Birth of the Modern Age
  • Watchmen & The Dark Knight Returns
  • Alan Moore
  • Frank Miller

October 8th

  • Collecting Comic Books
  • The Speculator Boom
  • The (re) Emergence of the Independent: Image, Darkhorse, and Others
  • The Death of Superman and The Death of Speculator Market

October 8th Assignments

  • Blog Entry #5: Weekly Book Discussion (due by 5pm on Friday)

WEEK 7

October 13th

  • Comic Books Become Literature
  • Comic Books Become Intellectual Property

October 15th

  • Marvel Goes Public, and then Goes Bankrupt
  • Comic Book Wars: The Fight for Marvel

October 15th Assignments

  • Blog Entry #6: Weekly Book Discussion (due by 5pm on Friday)

WEEK 8

October 20th

  • The Modern Age & The Post-Modern Age
  • The Birth of the Ultimate Universe
  • Joe Quesada & Dan Didio: Changing the Face of Marvel & DC
  • Marvel Comics Rating System
  • Comic Books Become Valuable Movie Properties
  • DC Gets Vertigo
  • Transmetropolitan

October 22nd

  • The Face of the Modern Comic Book Industry
  • Changing Demography
  • How Comics Are Made
  • How Comics are Sold
  • Comics as Intellectual Property (Revisited)

October 22nd Assignments

  • Blog Entry #7: Weekly Book Discussion (due by 5pm on Friday)

WEEK 9

October 27th

  • Beyond the Big Two – The Modern Face of Independent Publishers
  • Darkhorse, Image, Avatar, Boom! Oni, Top Shelf, Red 5 – and beyond

October 29th

  • Discussion
  • Be Prepared to Talk About: (1) What implications does the concentration of ownership have for diverse genres and new ideas to take hold in the mainstream of the industry? What alternatives exist for creators and consumers who want something other than what the mainstream producers are offering? (2) What advantages did direct market distribution offer the mass market distribution did not? What sacrifices has the industry made in moving almost completely away from newsstand reliance? (3) Visit both a local bookstore and a comics specialty shop. Note the placement of materials published by the big two publishers (Marvel & DC), and compare those to other publishers at each outlet. What share of the market do the big two publishers seem to commend in terms of shelf space? Is there any noteworthy difference in how the bookstore and specialty shot treat teh big two and all other publishers? (4) Take two of your weekly books (one mainstream and one indie) and do an advertising analysis. What producs are being advertised and what are the principle characters being depicted in the ads (young children, teens, cartoon characters, etc.). What do the advertisements say about the target audience? Are there differences in the advertisements between the mainstream book and the indie book? If so, why? Do the advertisements do justice to the audience?

October 29th Assignments

  • Blog Entry #8: Weekly Book Discussion (due by 5pm on Friday)

WEEK 10

November 3rd

  • The Face of the Modern Comic Book Industry
  • Changing Demography
  • How Comics Are Made
  • How Comics are Sold

November 5th

  • Fans and Fandom
  • Marvel Mania
  • The Emergene of Comic Book Conventions
  • Fans Publish for Fans: The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, Comics Buyers Guide, The Comics Journal, and Wizard

November 5th Assignments

  • Blog Entry #9: Weekly Book Discussion (due by 5pm on Friday)

WEEK 11

November 10th

  • Internatiional Comics
  • Manga
  • Canadian Comics
  • The Franco-Belgian Comic
  • Comics in Mexico
  • Comics in India
  • British Comics

November 12th

  • Comic Books and Ideology
  • Superheroes at War
  • Anti-War Comics
  • Government Produced Comics
  • Women & Ethnic Minorities in Comics
  • Homosexuality in Comics
  • Social Causes in Comics

November 12th Assignments

  • Blog Entry #10: Weekly Book Discussion (due by 5pm on Friday)

WEEK 12

November 17th

  • Guest Lecture: Ryan Stegman (artist for such books as Incredible Hercules, Marvel Adventures: Spiderman, and Riftwar) & Jason Howard (artist for Robert Kirkman’s Astounding Wolfman)

November 19th

  • Canadian Comics
  • The Franco-Belgian Comic
  • Comics in Mexico
  • Comics in India
  • British Comics

November 19th Assignments

  • Blog Entry #11: Weekly Book Discussion (due by 5pm on Friday)

WEEK 13

  • No lectures – enjoy your Thanksgiving break

WEEK 14

December 1st

  • Comic Books and Ideology
  • Superheroes at War
  • Anti-War Comics
  • Government Produced Comics
  • Women & Ethnic Minorities in Comics
  • Homosexuality in Comics
  • Social Causes in Comics

December 3rd

  • The Modern Age & The Post-Modern Age (cont.)
  • Dan Didio: Changing the Face of  DC
  • Marvel Comics Rating System
  • Comic Books Become Valuable Movie Properties
  • DC Gets Vertigo
  • Transmetropolitan

WEEK 15

December 8th

  • Beyond the Big Two – The Modern Face of Independent Publishers
  • Darkhorse, Image, Avatar, Boom! Oni, Top Shelf, Red 5 – and beyond

December 10th

  • The Future of Comics
  • The Death of the Direct Market?
  • Digital Comics
  • Web comics
  • Motion Comics
  • Comics Piracy
  • The Future of the Comic Distributor

FINAL EXAM

  • December 15th, 12:45-2:45

December 16th

OGN/Trade Research Paper due by 5pm

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