A few years ago, a colleague of mine, desperate to express frustration with a particular student, said something along the lines of, “He can quit reading literature and go back to his comic books.” As a fan of comics, I was crushed. She equated a bad student with a whole genre of literature for which I felt an extreme affinity. I wanted to throw some witty remark back, something biting and at the same time celebratory about the genre. Instead, I laughed and walked out of her room. But it got me thinking about using comics in the classroom.
A while later, I approached my department head about creating a class that would deal specifically in comic books. She shut me down. I didn’t get much of a reason, but I assumed it was due to the preconceived notion of what a comic book is and for what it stands. So I set about changing the perception of comic books. (more…)