Lower Division (1000–2000) Special Content Courses, Summer Sessions A & B
Note: Only course descriptions are listed below. For a comprehensive summary of course numbers, sections, times and locations, titles, and instructors, see the following web page:
Summer AENG 1131
Writing Through Media: SuperHeroes
Though comics have been a staple of popular culture in the US since the early 20th century, they have become respectable in recent years. This is true of graphic memoirs and other “serious” works, to
be sure; but lately it’s true even of superhero comics. In fact, it would be difficult today to name a medium untouched by this genre. The genre’s overwhelming presence today demands a revisiting of its early historical
and ideological situation and a consideration of its uses in the present moment. One of this course’s presumptions is that genres, as institutions, exist in time and space and are therefore rethought and retooled
through history and as new technology and media become available for generic experimentation. Uninhibited by any one medium, we see superhero narratives across media now, from DJ duo Madvillain’s 2004 collaboration Madvillainy;
to Junot Díaz’s Pulitzer winner, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; to Pixar’s 2016 animated short, Sanjay’s Super Team.
This course begins with early superhero productions like the first issues of Superman, moving on to superhero comics in the 60s and 70s (Wonder Woman), in order to discuss some of the sociological
and political representations and fantasies. We will spend some time with comics from the 1980s-90s, a moment that, as Andrew Hoberek argues, marked the superhero’s shift from unrealistic stories to a more psychologically
complex exploration of the character reminiscent of modernist print literature (selections may include Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing or Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight or Daredevil: The Man Without Fear).
We will also investigate the way superhero narratives appear in film (in both blockbusters and other cinemas) and how, in particular, they are being adapted in film and digital media. We will read Chris Claremont’s X-Men: Days of Future Past alongside
Bryan Singer’s 2014 film adaptation adaptation. We will likely read Brian Michael Bendis’s final volume of Jessica Jones: Alias alongside selections from its Netflix adaptation Jessica Jones. We
will also spend some time on the ways in which other genres are influencing superheroes (selections from Netflix’s adaptation of Daredevil). We will end the semester by looking at alternative comics
publishing both in terms of their content and production by looking at creator-owned titles that offer new developments in the intersections of creativity, labor, and intellectual property.
Times: M T W R F 3, T R 6-7
Summer BLIT 2000
Times: M T W R F 5