Course Instructor Days Times Room


Comics are read widely and seriously by people of all ages in many nations, but they have long been considered a kind of non-literature in the US. The fortunes of comics have been changing (somewhat) in recent decades, and this course will pay some attention to how the changes have happened and what they mean. However, this is first and foremost a study of comics as a medium, regardless of status. Early in the course, we will master the terms and concepts needed to analyze comics, and these terms will be a part of class discussion and part of the writing assignments throughout the semester. Comics will be selected from a variety of national traditions and periods, but there will be a significant focus on the past three decades of graphic novels in the US.  One or two films may supplement the primary texts. Students taking this course should be aware that there is a lot of reading and that the texts are, unfortunately, expensive. They are also required; students who attend class without the day’s reading will be counted absent. Additionally, students should note that printed (that is, paper) copies of all texts are required; digital copies will not be allowed.

Students should also note that the assigned texts contain a great deal of visually explicit violence, including sexual violence (not to mention sexual content of other kinds). If the texts were films, several of them would earn an NC-17 rating. Please do not sign up for this course if either your conscience, or any other factor relevant to your reading life, does not permit full, energetic, critical engagement with this kind of material.


Quizzes will be constant.

Short essays will be required during the term.

There will be a final exam.


Students will be allowed four absences. Additional absences will damage the final grade; the more absences there are, the worse the damage will be. If some absences are excused, the damage can be reduced but not erased. Students should be aware that this policy is never altered, and that it has been the primary factor in drops and failures in previous terms. Take this into consideration before deciding to register for the course.