In this course, we'll learn about the artform of comics. For a long time, many people would not use the word "art" in that sentence, but such people confuse the form of comics, which is a way to communicate, with individual pieces of content, which can range in quality. What are comics, then? To start defining them, we'll have to separate them from comic books, and look at their long, worldwide history. We'll ask if Mayan picture panels count as comics (maybe). We'll ask the same question about Egyptian hieroglyphs (no) and William Hogarth prints (probably). What's the difference between comics and comic books? Why do the Mayan pictures count but not the Egyptian ones? Who was William Hogarth? Take this class and find out! Once we've established what comics are, we can analyze how they work, which is the major content of the class. We'll see how comics make sense by relying on our most fundamental perceptions, like how we experience time, process empathy, and organize visual information. We'll see these rules at work in a handful of historically remote (read: old) comics, before we quickly jump to the early-twentieth century and the advent of the funny pages. From there, we'll move on to comic books, and while we'll spend some time on superheroes from various eras, we'll see that comic books aren't all superpowers and spandex (not that there's anything wrong with that!). They're also a useful form for memoir and storytelling about race, sexuality, politics, and everyday life. The course textbook will be Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. Additional primary texts may include but are not limited to: George Herriman's Krazy Kat, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Superman, Alan Moore's Miracleman, Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, Marjan Satrapi's Persepolis, and Chuck Brown's Bitter Root. Course is for first-year, non-transfer students only.
Course Attributes: EN H; FYS; BU Hum; AS HUM; FA HUM