Posted by: Doc T | January 29, 2014

UNT Comics Studies Conference 2014

March 1, 2014 at UNT

Saturday March 1, 2014 at UNT in Denton TX from 10am-6pm!

SUPERSCHOLARS ASSEMBLE!! It’s that time of year once again for UNT’s Comics Studies Conference!

The University of North Texas Center for Interdisciplinarity invites paper submissions to the 2014 UNT Comics Studies Conference to be held March 1, 2014 in Denton, TX from 10am-6pm. Debuting in 2011, the UNT Comics Studies Conference focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to graphic narrative or sequential arts and welcomes competitive paper submissions to participate in panel discussions and roundtable sessions exploring the critical and educational applications of comics or graphic novels. Held in conjunction with the UNT GeeKon week (full schedule here), this year’s keynote speaker is KATE LETH, webcomic creator of fan-favorite KATE OR DIE! and writer for Adventure Time, whose 4pm talk is on “The Geek Grrrl’s Guide to Making Your Own Webcomics!” Read More…

Posted by: Doc T | December 23, 2013

On Evil: ‘Twas the Night Before Krampus…


From CA’s “Great Comics That Never Happened“… but maybe should!

Season’s Greetings, superscholars! Another great semester has come and gone, with so many wonderful students and smart papers. In honor of the winter break, here is a brief look at an Old World European tradition that many are rediscovering in comics and IRL: Krampus the Christmas DemonRead More…

Posted by: Doc T | December 5, 2013

SuperFinal take-home Exam!

Doc T:

Due Wed Dec 11 at 1:30p, same Bat-place for same Bat-channel!


What, no superheroes for Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Sankranti, Kwanzaa, or Eid-al-Adha? Darn you again, hegemony.

As we end the course, and reflect upon materials covered since the midterm exam, answer one of the following questions in 4-5 single-spaced pages *or* answer both in 2-3 single-spaced pages *each*.  A heading should identify yourself and the course, COMM 4849 Mythic Rhetoric of Superheroes. Please make sure your answers are typed, spell-checked, grammar-checked, and draw upon specific concepts and readings from the course.

1.  Use readings from either race, class, or gender to identify at least 3 key concepts from that unit and illustrate them using examples from graphic novels you’ve read for the course.  How are those 3 concepts defined and what examples illustrate them? What might comic book superheroes offer in helping us think critically about these issues?

2.  How would you answer the question, “What can we learn from studying…

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Posted by: Doc T | December 4, 2013

Paper #3: Graphic Novel Analysis


Even Calvin & Hobbes dabble in rhetorical criticism of their favorite comic books, but your final paper is going to kick it up a notch by integrating concepts, readings, and analytic schema we’ve been surveying in this course.  As mentioned in class, your first step is to select a graphic novel collecting a series or storyline and research some of the author’s motives, the text’s core themes, and some of the best critical commentary already out there.  The next step is to formulate a few key ideas or themes that you want to explore in your paper, the guidelines for which are included in the course syllabus (and this paper shouldn’t be too terribly different in organization than your second paper on animated superheroes).  But keep in mind, the point of the exercise is to synthesize readings and concepts from the semester in your analysis.  Here is a quick review…

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Posted by: Doc T | December 2, 2013

Post-9/11 Superhero Zeitgeist? Week 14


All Star Superman offers a remythologizing message of hope .

Our post-midterm genealogy of the SuperAntihero culminates in a look at post-9/11 superheroes and their thorny cultural and socio-politicalissues. As we continue to reflect upon Marvel’s CIVIL WARstoryline (and aftermath), we will also be examining Grant Morrison’s award-winning and critically acclaimed run onALL-STAR SUPERMAN to discuss “Does Superman still matter?” (some of my thoughts are here about Kal-El refuting superkillers like AzBats).  Meanwhile, we will also be looking ahead to your final paper’s analysis of a graphic novel!

Are superheroes inherently fascist, or anti-fascistic symbols? Maybe the medium matters and comics are more reflexive than Hollywood formula?

swipe_file_the_boys_supermanAlso: Superman’s evolving looks, reading too much into Batman (and other weirdness), Action Comics #1 breaks records, The Avengers poster gets gender-flipped, Superman‘s movie make-over, and…

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Posted by: Doc T | November 18, 2013

Evolution of the SuperAntihero


This satirical look at “The Evolution of the Superhero” (by Ryan Dunlavey) nicely summarizes our turn to surveying an alternate genealogy of the Comic Book SuperAntihero across the Marvel/DC divide. This week’s comics selection is the British firebrand volume  V FOR VENDETTA, Alan Moore’s controversial 1990 meditation on superheroic terrorism between Anarchy and Fascism as we contemplate the hegemonic resistance and reification in comics ideology… and in the streets. As #OccupyWallStreet embraces Moore’s iconic Anarchist SuperAntihero, are V and The Jokercomic bookdoppelgängers?!? And what to make to the Wachowski Bros. 2006cinematic translation when read against Nolan’s “agent of chaos” Joker in The Dark Knight? Perhaps they have more in common than a chilling smile? And what happens when Marvel’s CIVIL WAR pits post-9/11 superantihero against superantihero to ask you “Which side are you on?


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Posted by: Doc T | November 6, 2013

GenderQueer Mutants & Monstrosities? Week 11


The new Batwoman returns with a difference…

With their secret identities and flair for drag performances, superheroes have always been a bit queer in their subtexts (or overt commentary) for homosexualsocial issues (perhaps a legacy of the Marvel Age). This week’s selections of readings explores the homoerotics and homophobia that haunts these comic bookdraped crusadersnarratives. The history of GLBTQ superheroes is as problematic as all mediated depictions of minorities, but perhaps doubly so since the lines between gay and straight blur when contemplating the inherentGender Troubles of representation (even Ultimate Spider-Man isn’t immune to predictablehomophobichysterics).

This week’s comic is BATWOMAN: ELEGY, which sparked both controversy and triumph in it’s groundbreakingmainstream’ success of featuring a gay superheroine. Batwoman’s history is as checkered as one might expect, but Greg Rucka’s bold storytelling has proven

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Posted by: Doc T | October 31, 2013

Re-Imagining a Multicultural Super-ICON


Superhero comics have long had a ‘diversity problem’ when it comes to representing minority characters. Dwayne McDuffie and “ICON: A Hero’s Welcome” (1993) from multicultural Milestone Comics provides a fascinating text for reflection upon issues of minority representations in comic books via Black Superheroes. McDuffie presents readers with an engaging “Black Superman” mythos but also offers some metatextual critiques of SuperWhiteness in comics in clever ways. Also note how his protagonists, Augustus and Raquel, illustrate enduring debates over the “double consciousness” of African-Americans struggling with ‘Black Skins & White Masks‘ in a culture still presuming White Supremacy, continuing the conversation on race sparked by WEB duBois and Booker T. Washington. Who or what is the ‘villain’ of this story if not our real-world stereotypes, prejudices and the Paradoxes of African-American Superheroes?

1) In…

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Posted by: Doc T | October 24, 2013

Feminist Superheroines? Week 10


Superhero comics have long had much difficulty in their representations of superheroines and Wonder Women. This week we’ll be exploring Feminist rhetorical criticism and issues of sexism within the genderrepresentationsof comics and in the comics industry as we consider a history HERstory of the superheroine. Our graphic novel of the week is PROMETHEA, Alan Moore’s bold experiment in re-writing a Womyn Wonder that won accolades and mainstream attention for sparking more discussion of persistentGender Trouble in comics representation (the infamous WIR problem).

Also discussed will be Wonder Woman’s altered origin in DC’s new 52 relaunch.

The latest in a long line of failed attempts to address gender inequity and minority representation .

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Posted by: Doc T | October 17, 2013

Interrogating Ideology with Red Son: Week 8


This week’s comic is RED SON, an Elseworlds alternate reality that imagines the consequences of Kal-El‘s rocket crashing in the Soviet Union rather than Kansas. The 2003 graphic novel caused some controversy and won awards even as it gave Scottish writer Mark Millar more fame and acclaim. Still, the comic raises intriguing issues about superheroes and American exceptionalism outside of simplistic moral binaries. Has Supermanalwaysbeen a class warrior? We will be interested in examining the risks of political comics as we also review some of the superhero scholarship readings!

As a bonus, see what creators think about writing superheroines and Wonder Woman’s altered origin!

The SUPERMIDTERM is Tuesday 10/18! Bring a skinny green scantron and a #2 pencil along with your journal. According to USA Today, it’ll be one of the “easiest” college courses you’ll take ;)

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