WEEK 1 (SEPTEMBER 1) approaches to popular culture

WEEK 2 (SEPTEMBER 8) superheroes

  • The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
  • “Batman: Commodity as Myth” by Bill Boichel, from The Many Lives of the Batman: Critical Approaches to a Superhero and His Media. Ed. Roberta E. Pearson & William Uricchio. New York: Routledge, 1991. 4-17. (Blackboard)
  • “Batman and the Twilight of the Idols: An Interview with Frank Miller” conducted by Christopher Sharrett, from The Many Lives of the Batman: Critical Approaches to a Superhero and His Media. Ed. Roberta E. Pearson & William Uricchio. New York: Routledge, 1991. 33-46. (Blackboard)
  • Chapter 10 from The Pleasures of Children’s Literature by Perry Nodelman. New York: Longman, 1991. (Blackboard)

WEEK 3 (SEPTEMBER 15) rethinking superheroes

  • The Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  • “What’s That You Smell Of?’ Twenty Years of Watchmen Nostalgia” by Elizabeth Rosen, in Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction 35.98 (2006): 85-98. (Blackboard)
  • Chapters 3, 4 and 5 from Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud. (Blackboard)

WEEK 4 (SEPTEMBER 22) rethinking genres

  • The Sandman (Preludes & Nocturnes and Dream Country) by Neil Gaiman
  • “The Uncanny” by Sigmund Freud, from The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Ed. James Strachey. London: Hogarth Press, 1953. 218-252. (Blackboard)

WEEK 5 (SEPTEMBER 29) trauma and narrative

  • Maus: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman
  • “Of Mice and Memory” by Joshua Brown, in Oral History Review 16.1 (1988): 91-109. (e-journal)
  • “The Black Hole of Trauma” by Bessel A. Van der Kolk and Alexander C. McFarlane, from Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society. Ed. Lars Weisaeth, Bessel A. van der Kolk, & Alexander C. McFarlane. New York: Guilford Press, 1996. 3-23. (Blackboard)


  • Maus: Here My Troubles Began by Art Speigelman
  • “’The Shadow of a Past Time’: History and Graphic Representation in Maus” by Hillary Chute, in Twentieth Century Literature 52.2 (2006): 199-230. (e-journal)
  • Excerpt from Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz

WEEK 7 (OCTOBER 13) counterhistory and counternarrative

  • Nat Turner by Kyle Baker
  • The Confessions of Nat Turner, the Leader of the Late Insurrection in Southampton, by Thomas R. Gray. VA. Baltimore, 1831. Documenting the American South. <>
  • A Guide to a Speech and Photographs Relating to Nat Turner’s Insurrection. Special Collections. University of Virginia, 2007. <>
  • “Text and Context to The Confessions of Nat Turner” by Kenneth S. Greenburg, from The Confessions of Nat Turner and Related Documents. Boston, Bedford, 1996. 1-35. (Blackboard)

WEEK 8 (OCTOBER 20) fragmentation and family

  • Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
  • “Comics Architecture, Multidimensionality, and Time: Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth” by Thomas A. Bredehoft, in Modern Fiction Studies 52.4 (2006): 869-890. (e-journal)

WEEK 9 (OCTOBER 27) memory and regret

  • Alan’s War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope by Emmanuel Guibert
  • * Tracing Due *

WEEK 10 (NOVEMBER 3) the literary and the visual

  • Fun Home: A Family Tragicomedy by Alison Bechdel
  • “Drawing on Modernism in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home” by Ariela Freedman, in Journal of Modern Literature 32.4 (2009): 125-140. (e-journal)
  • “An Interview with Alison Bechdel” conducted by Hillary Chute, in MFS Modern Fiction Studies 52.4 (2006): 1004-1013. (e-journal)

WEEK 11 (NOVEMBER 10) experiments in form

  • Asterios Polyp by David Mazzuccheli


  • In My Darkest Hour by Wilfed Santiago
  • Excerpts on “Grotesque Realism” by Mikhail Bakhtin, from Rabelais and His World. Trans. Helene Iswolsky. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984. (Blackboard)
  • “Mourning and Melancholia” by Sigmund Freud (Blackboard)

WEEK 13 (NOVEMBER 24) thanksgiving break

  • No Class

WEEK 14 (DECEMBER 1) war and peace

  • Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan
  • Waltz with Bashir: A Lebanon War Story by Ari Folman and David Polonsky

WEEK 15 (DECEMBER 8) the future of comics