Comics and cartoon studies

Undergraduate minor

The Illustrated World

The minor in comics and cartoon studies offers a critical look into the energetic world of illustrated narrative using examples from newspaper comic strips, comic books, and graphic novels from around the world. “There isn’t another art form that combines words and images in quite the same way,” says Ben Saunders, program director. “But comics remain one of the most effective forms of communication that human beings have ever devised; it's a whole world of art that we hope to explore in the coming years.”

Pore over the pages of the first American superhero comics from 1938. Attend exhibitions of popular comics, such as Peanuts, or academic conferences devoted to the form. Study how different cultures present their history and traditions through visual and verbal representations. By learning to appreciate comics and cartoons, you will acquire critical skills in interpretation, analysis, and composition. From the subtle to the slapstick and the documentary to the fantastic, you will see the world in a vibrant new light while tackling an array of intellectual challenges.

Sample Courses

  • Introduction to Comic Studies is offered in the English department and builds a foundation for students to study the art of comics and the methodologies of comics studies.
  • Japanese Horror considers everything about contemporary Japanese horror cinema, folklore, and comics in terms of subject matter, style, and cinematic technique. Students will consider a range of topics from vengeful ghost stories to serial killer thrillers to body horror and techno-horror.
  • Modern American Superhero is an examination of the path of the American comic book superhero and an exploration of the ways in which that journey reflects large processes of social change.
  • War in French Comics invites students to approach bande dessinée as a complex, hybrid genre where text and image interact to produce meaning. Students will look at conflicts such as the French Revolution, French Commune, WWI, and WWII and examine how and why artists/authors represented them “graphically.”
  • Graphic Narrative and Cultural Theory is a survey of 20th- and 21st-century graphic novels in the context of cultural theory.

See more courses in comics and cartoon studies.

Comics and Cartoon Studies