Reading List for ENGL 493: Graphic Novels (Fall 2009)

I've finalized the reading list for my Fall 2009 course on graphic novels. This is the same super-sized class that I'll be teaching with technologies that may help me preserve my student-centered pedagogy. The syllabus was especially hard to settle on, as there are so many compelling graphic novels worthy of inclusion. I had to… Continue reading Reading List for ENGL 493: Graphic Novels (Fall 2009)

30 Days of Night, Again, and Again, and Again

One midnight a short time ago I picked up 30 Days of Night, a vampire graphic novel I was looking forward to, after having read some great reviews. (In 500 Essential Graphic Novels, for example, Gene Kannenberg calls 30 Days of Night a “livid, modern-gothic triumph.”) I finished the first volume by 1am. Was I… Continue reading 30 Days of Night, Again, and Again, and Again

Fall 2009 Course Descriptions

I've got two fantastic advanced literature classes planned for Fall 2009: ENGL 459 (Disaster Fiction) This class explores what the influential critic and novelist Susan Sontag called "the imagination of disaster." Sontag was speaking of Hollywood cinema of the fifties and sixties, arguing that end-of-the-world films of this era simultaneously aestheticize destruction and address a… Continue reading Fall 2009 Course Descriptions

So Many Universes in My Head

I've been wondering, how many universes can I hold in my head at once? I'm talking about fictional universes, of course. And by universe, I mean a world set apart by its own physics and cosmology. So, realist narratives all occupy the same universe (Sherlock Holmes and Tony Soprano exist in the same universe). But… Continue reading So Many Universes in My Head

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones

Continuing on the Indiana Jones theme, I also discovered in my old comic book box the first couple issues of "The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones" (larger image). This was back when the Indy characters had the potential to be a serious franchise -- there was a Young Indiana Jones on television, you had the… Continue reading The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones

Raiders of the Lost Ark Comic Book

In anticipation of the upcoming Indiana Jones movie, I dug through the old comic book box and came up with this, Marvel's "Official Comics Adaptation of the Hit Title" -- the original Raiders of the Lost Ark in comic book form (larger image). You'd think this would be worth some money on eBay, but it… Continue reading Raiders of the Lost Ark Comic Book

Pope John Paul II in Action

Tradermaester-maestertrader Adam remembers young Karol Wojtyla (henceforth known as "the pope boy") running through the streets of Poland in Marvel's comic book adaptation of his life. I'm happy to bolster Adam's memory with these EXCLUSIVE!!! images of the pope boy playing soccer in his hometown of Wadowice (larger image). For my part, the image from… Continue reading Pope John Paul II in Action

A glut of Popes on eBay

Inspired by the strange coincidences between Adam's and my first forays into comic books as children, I've dug up this gem from my attic: Marvel Comic's "The Life of Pope John Paul II" (full size image). Published in 1982, this graphic biography (as opposed to a graphic novel) tells the "entire story" of Pope John… Continue reading A glut of Popes on eBay

My musty old comic books

Adam and I have been friends for over thirty years -- he's one of the few people I regularly keep in touch with from my childhood. And lately Adam's been mining our childhood for memories of our individual and collective comic book "habit," writing some wonderful reflections upon comic books and what they've meant to… Continue reading My musty old comic books

Using Understanding Comics to Understand New Media

A few weeks ago I posted some thoughts about the rhetoric of the hyperlink, which I was working on with my Textual Media course. I've complicated my students thinking (I hope) by suggesting that we can use Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud's wonderfully insightful dissection of comics (itself in comics form) to understand new media. Among… Continue reading Using Understanding Comics to Understand New Media