Theorizing Comics and Graphic Novels

Comics and the superheroes that are in them have long been stereotyped as interests fit only for children, delinquents, and social misfits. Lately, however, the emergence of comics that are both popular and sophisticated and the predominance of superhero movies worldwide has spurred the notion that they’re fit objects for academic attention. In this course, we’ll be exploring the cutting edge of comics studies, dealing with problems about their ontological status, relations to other art forms, narratological possibilities, and ethical value. Then we’ll consider the ways in which superhero stories prompt reflection on heroism, moral duties, and identity. Throughout, the course will stress the importance of critical and creative thinking, as well as philosophical argumentation, in coming to terms with a vital part of our contemporary culture.