Studying Comics At The Michigan State University

ethan_editedMichigan State University launches its History Of The Modern Comic Book course – or HST101h for its snappier name. Join in by following Assistant professor Ethan Watrall on Twitter as captain_primate. Professor Captain Primate. Yes, I like that. He’s currently talking about, what else, Disney buying Marvel.

The course consists of blogging about your favourite comics (30%) on at least a weekly basis, a final exam (25%) and a research paper (45%) on titles including From Hell, Maus, The Nightly News, DMZ, Invisibles, Ezsex County, Strangers In Paradise, Jimmy Corrigan and A Contract With God. But ooh, what’s this, Wot No Watchmen?

And there’s the wonderful line;

Students are not required to purchase any traditional textbooks for this course.

Instead they must buy a comic a week, at least 2 a month not by Marvel and DC, and an original graphic novel or trade paperback listed above.

The course includes a field trip to 21st Century Comics & Games, and topics such as “Is the comic book an American phenomena?”. The course examines the history of the American comic, with a few divergencies into manga, Belgian-Franco, Mexican, Indian and British comics, looking in depth at the growth and expansion of comics publishers, their distribution methods, the changing trends of the market, individals such as Stan & Jack, Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Joe Quesada& Dan DiDio, even this very publisher gets a mention in one lesson, Dark Horse, Image, Avatar, Boom! Oni, Top Shelf – and beyond, comics speculation, intellectual property and creators rights and towards the future into digital comics and comics piracy. Artists Ryan Stegman and Jason Howard will be guest lecturers.

It does look a lot of work. But damn it sounds a lot of fun too.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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