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Portland State University Launches Comics Studies Certificate

Monday, January 26, 2015


PSU's Millar Library is home to the only complete collection of Dark Horse Comics. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons (cropped)

Portland State University has just introduced their new Comic Studies Program. Students who complete the program will be able to earn a Comic Studies certificate.

This post-baccalaureate program is interdisciplinary by design to teach artists, writers, and scholars. The program will draw upon several of PSU’s academic departments, including English, Art, Writing, Philosophy, and Publishing.  Students must successfully complete a total of 6 courses to earn the certificate. 

Classes will be taught by a mix of PSU professors, comics professionals inside Portland, and guest writers and artists as top-rank Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis, Nicole J. Georges, author of Calling Dr. Laura: A Memoir, and Shannon Wheeler, cartoonist for “The New Yorker” and creator of “Too Much Coffee Man.”

English professor Susan Kirtly and newly appointed Director of the Comic Studies Program is one of those acclaimed professionals. In 2013 she won an Eisner Award for Best Educational-Academic Work for her book “Lynda Barry: Girlhood Through the Looking Glass,” a study of the work of the long-time cartoonist Lynda Barry.

“The program is unique in that students will be able to have that scholarly experience, but they’ll also have these experts from the community who can give them hands-on advice and expertise, said Kirtly in a statement. “There’s a lot of flexibility for students to suit their own needs.

Portland is currently one of the biggest comic centers in the country. The city is home to presses such as Dark Horse (whose founder, Mike Richardson, is PSU graduate), Oni Press, and Top Shelf as well as dozens of independent writers and artists. Portland’s Periscope Studio is the largest collective of comics professionals in the world.

“I’ve been teaching graphic novel writing at Portland State for a few years, and every year I am overwhelmed by the deep passion students have for the subject,” Brian Michael Bendis said. “The official launch of the Comics Studies Program is the definition of the students’ voice being heard. Portland is one of the creative hubs of the entire art form, and Portland State is the perfect place for this program to launch.”

Click HERE for more information on the program.

Video Wall Credit: Floating World Comics


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