English 396CO: Comic Books as Literature
(#16880)
 

SPRING 2005 SCHEDULE
(tentative and, of course, subject to change)

Sierra Hall 285 / Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:30-10:45am

 

   R = read this text before coming to class

   D = Discussion topic

   L = Lecture

   (CP) = reading(s) in our course packet

   RED text = major assignment due [links to these assignments will be added in future]

 

WEEK 1

2/01:    Course Intro & Syllabus; D: What do we have to know to read comics?

 

2/03:    D: 1. What are comics?, or, the problem of definition; 2. The contours of the field.

 

WEEK 2

2/08:    R: McCloud, Understanding Comics, Ch. 1; plus (CP) Kunzle, “The Comic Strip”; Witek, “Comics Criticism….”

            D: The “minicomic” assignment.

 

2/10:    R: McCloud, Chs. 2 & 3.

            D: Breakdown and “closure.”

            RESPONSE PAPER #1 DUE: Applying the concept of “closure.”

 

WEEK 3

2/15:    R: McCloud, Ch. 4, plus (CP) Eisner, "Ten Minutes"; Kurtzman, "Big 'If'"; Barks, "A Duck's-Eye View of Europe."

            D: “Timing” in comics.

 

2/17:    R: McCloud, Chs. 5 & 6, plus (CP) Ware, “I Guess”; Kannenberg, “The Comics of Chris Ware.”

            D: Text/image relationships.

 

WEEK 4

2/22:    In-class writing: text/image relationships.

 

2/24:    R: McCloud, Ch. 8, plus McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern.

           

WEEK 5

3/01:    In-class writing: McSweeney’s vis-à-vis McCloud.

 

3/03:    “Minicomic” assignment due:

   In-class critique / discussion of our minicomix (this will include substantial in-class writing).

 

WEEK 6

3/08:    R: (CP) Siegel & Shuster, “Superman”; Kane, “The Legend of the Batman”; Simon & Kirby, “Meet Captain America.”

            L: The history of comic books: mid-1930s to late 1940s.

            D: The “comic shop” assignment.

 

3/10:    R: (CP) Eisner, “The Story of Gerhard Shnobble.”

            In-class writing: the superhero genre.

 

WEEK 7

3/15:    R: (CP) Feldstein & Kamen, “The Orphan”; Anonymous, “Archie”; Kurtzman & Elder, “Starchie.”

            L: The history of comic books: late 1940s to mid-1950s: moral panic and the rise of the Code.

 

3/17:    R: (CP) Wertham et al., excerpts from Literary Censorship; Fiedler, “Both Ends Against the Middle”; Crumb et al.,

                        various comix.

            L: History: the emergence of underground comix, late-1960s forward.

 

SPRING RECESS (no class, 3/22 or 3/24)

 

WEEK 8

3/29:    L: Special Guest: Artist, writer and teacher Brian Tucker on the impact of underground comix.

            RESPONSE PAPER #2 DUE: Regarding underground comix.

 

3/31:    NO CLASS (Cesar Chavez Holiday)

 

WEEK 9

4/05:    R: Spiegelman, Maus Vol. 1: Prologue and Ch. 1; plus (CP) Crumb, Pekar & Crumb, and Kominsky-Crumb,

               various autobiographical comix; Hatfield, “Coming Home to Roost.”

   L: The rise of autobiographical comix.

            “Comic shop” assignment due.

 

4/07:    R: Spiegelman, Maus Vol. 1 (to conclusion).

 

WEEK 10

4/12:    R: Maus Vol. 2; plus (CP) Halkin and Gopnik on Maus.

 

4/14:    R: Satrapi, Persepolis, Vol. 1.

            RESPONSE PAPER #3 DUE: Regarding autobiographical comics.

 

WEEK 11

4/19:    R: Gilbert Hernandez & Jaime Hernandez, Love & Rockets Book 6: Duck Feet.

 

4/21:    D: Duck Feet, continued.

 

WEEK 12

4/26:    L: Special Guest: TBA.

 

4/28:    R: Miller et al., Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

 

WEEK 13

5/03:    L: Special Guest: Former DC Comics editor Kevin Dooley on changes in “mainstream” comics, 1980s-90s.

 

5/05:    D: Dark Knight, concluded.

            RESPONSE PAPER #4 DUE: Topic TBA.

 

WEEK 14

5/10:    R: Tezuka, Phoenix: Dawn.
 

5/12:    L: Special Guest: CSUN’s Prof. Aki Hirota on manga (Japanese comics).

            R: (CP) Schodt, “Enter the Id” and “Modern Manga at the End of the Millennium” [excerpt].

 

            **Take-home final exam essay topics given.**

 

WEEK 15

5/17:    R: Drechsler, Summer of Love; plus (CP) Groensteen, “ Why are Comics Still in Search of Cultural Legitimization?”

 

5/19:    R: Clowes, Ghost World.

            LAST DAY TO HAND IN EXTRA CREDIT WORK!

 

WEEK 16 (FINALS WEEK)

 5/24:    Take-home final exam ESSAYs due no later than 12:00pm (noon) in my office, ST 735.


This page maintained by Charles Hatfield                                                                                    Last updated 25 Jan 2005