As comic books become a larger part of our culture, they have also gained quite a bit of respect from those who previously dismissed them as childish. Many now view comics as legitimate pieces of art. This includes universities, who have created more and more comic book related classes sure to interest any fan of the medium.
Comics and their offshoots have become a huge business. It seems like every other movie that comes out was based on a graphic novel these days. Colleges have taken notice of the popularity and shaped courses that will help people break into the world of comics, or just entertain while teaching you new and interesting things. Here are 5 online college courses for comic book fans.
Graphic Novel as Literature at Emerson College
Emerson College has taken the progressive step of viewing graphic novels as legitimate writing endeavors. This class focuses on the different methods and styles of storytelling by some of the best comic book creators in the business. If you have been looking for an excuse to read Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” or Will Eisner’s “The Spirit” here is your chance to earn college credit while doing so.
There have been quite a few big names among comic book writers that deserve study. Neil Gaiman is an award winning novelist and comic book writer. Alan Moore is widely considered one of the greatest comic book writers of all time. It is about time that their work got recognized as being truly impressive examples of writing.
History of Comics at Academy of Art University
Comics have been around for over a century, and the story of how they reached their popularity today has been marked with government inquests, backstabbing and bankruptcies. The Academy of Art University has realized that the story of comic books is just as interesting as anything in the comics themselves and built a history class in response.
Science: Superheroes to Global Warming at University of California Irvine
Have you ever wondered how super strength would work in real life or how Spider-Man’s web is able to trap hundreds of pounds of super villains at once? Then Science: Superheroes to Global Warming class at University of California Irvine is the perfect class for you! Plus, it should help resolve a lot of debates between the comic book nerds of the world when you learn the science behind your favorite superhero’s powers.
This is actually a great idea for a course. Comic books have deep roots in science fiction. Superman is a visitor from another world, Iron Man invented the world’s coolest armor, and Reed Richards can invent anything he feels like. A class on what is feasible and the theories behind the actual scientific principles shown in comics is sure to garner interest from both comic book fans and science enthusiasts.
Far Side Entomology at Oregon State University
This class was originally taught on campus at Oregon State University, but the lessons have since been moved online. Entomology is the study of insects, and Gary Larson, creator of the comic strip The Far Side, loved to draw bugs. More specifically, Gary Larson loved to draw bugs with human personalities in odd situations, such as flies who are spooked walking through a display of pinned down insects.
The Far Side is one of the most popular comic strips of all time, mainly thanks to Gary Larson’s quirky sense of humor and his uncommon interests. Entomology is not the most common of hobbies, so a well known comic that deals with the subject is a great way to draw in students and make the study of insects even more interesting than it already is.
Survey of the Drawn Story at The Center for Cartoon Studies
Survey of the Drawn Story is an extremely interesting class. Visual depictions of stories throughout history are studied, such as medieval tapestries, stained glass windows, all the way up to the modern advent of the comic book. People have been using art to tell stories since they were finger painting the insides of caves. Visual stimulation is a powerful tool for storytelling, and this course will explain why.
Basically, this course looks at comic book history well before comic books even existed. This is the investigation of the path that this particular art form took to become what it is today. Plus it is another class that gives you college credit for reading comic books, and the early predecessors to comic books. You can’t go wrong with that.