The following courses can be counted towards the Certificate in Comics Studies. If you have questions about whether other courses offered at PSU can be counted for credit towards the certificate, contact Susan Kirtley at skirtley@pdx.edu.

Spring 2021

ART 370 001 TOP PRINT: COLOR AND LAYER

Instructor: Eleanor Erskine
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings
Meeting Time: TR 9:00 - 11:50 AM

Adding on to the principles and skill sets first investigated in lower-level printmaking this course explores additional techniques in printmaking. Varying practices, methodologies, and theories will be explored. Topics include but are not limited to etching, relief, mixed media print, screen printing, and mono-print. May be repeated for credit up to a maximum of 12 credits. Open to non-majors with instructor’s consent or departmental approval. Recommended preparation: Art 270 and Art 271 (expected of art & art history majors). Prerequisites: Art 101, Art 102, Art 103, Art 270 or Art 271.

ART 399 001 SPST: DIGITAL DRAWING & PAINT

Instructor: Simon Boas
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings
Meeting Time: MW 6:00 - 8:50 PM

Terms, section, instructor and hours to be arranged. Consent of instructor and Chair of the Department of Art Required.

ART 399 002 SPST: ANIMATION UNLEASHED

Instructor: Benjamin Popp
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings
Meeting Time: TR 6:00 - 8:50 PM

Terms, section, instructor and hours to be arranged. Consent of instructor and Chair of the Department of Art Required.

ART 399 003 SPST: POLITICS OF STORYTELLING

Instructor: Soheila Azadi
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings
Meeting Time: TR 9:00 - 11:50 AM

Terms, section, instructor and hours to be arranged. Consent of instructor and Chair of the Department of Art Required.

ART 399 004 SPST: COMIC SHORTS

Instructor: Shannon Wheeler
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings
Meeting Time: MW 2:00 - 4:50 PM

Terms, section, instructor and hours to be arranged. Consent of instructor and Chair of the Department of Art Required.

ART 455 001 TIME-BASED ART STUDIO

Instructor: Julia Perini
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings
Meeting Time: R 6:00 - 8:50 PM

Advanced studio course focused on production of time-based arts including video art, animation, sound, performance, experimental film, installation, and other interdisciplinary forms. Course content focuses on the representation of time in art. Prerequisites: Art 255, Art 257 or consent of instructor.

ENG 306U 002 TOP: LATINX COMICS

Instructor: Marcel Brousseau
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Study of literary forms in popular culture, including such topics as fantasy, the graphic novel, and detective fiction. Course may be repeated for credit with different topics. Up to 8 credits of this course number can be applied to the English major.

ENG 399 001 SPST: COMICS MEMOIR

Instructor: Diana Schutz
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings
Meeting Time: W 1:00 - 1:50 PM

Comics are a rich form of artistic and narrative expression, a modern exemplar of the picture story whose history dates as far back as the Lascaux and Chauvet cave paintings in France. Boldly combining images and text, today’s comics fearlessly go where even Superman himself would not have dared: into stories of war, trauma, sexuality, spirituality, and self. In an effort to isolate that elusive element known as artistic style, especially in its relationship to the presentation of self, this course will focus on the rapidly growing genre of Comics Memoir. How do our lives become stories? When we read autobiographical works, we explore the intimate, dynamic connection between self and story—drawn story, in the case of comics. Students will explore the diversity of Comics Memoir by investigating the distinctive qualities of each work, its origins and precedent, its relationship both to the author and to a specific cultural moment, and its capacity to inspire and influence future comics art. Through intensive reading of a great variety of (primarily North American) autobiographical texts, we will seek to understand the unique visual grammar of the comics medium and its potential for personal storytelling in the autobiographical mode.

To help keep student expenses at a minimum, many of the readings will be available on our D2L site. Otherwise, we’ll also read these four comics texts, available at the PSU Bookstore or through most of our local comics specialty shops. Students are encouraged to seek out affordably priced copies; to that end, any edition or format—including secondhand, digital, or library versions—will be acceptable as long as students can readily access each text throughout the term:

  • Backderf, Derf: My Friend Dahmer
  • Eisner, Will: The Dreamer
  • Flowers, Ebony: Hot Comb
  • McCloud, Scott: Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

FR 410/510 001 TOP: FRENCH COMICS

Instructor: Annabelle Dolidon
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings
Meeting Time: TR 10:00 - 11:50 AM

General Information: There is no prerequisite for this course. This course (readings and meetings) is entirely in English and you do not need to know any French to take it. The only French word you need to know is BANDE DESSINÉE (BD or bd), which is -and is not exactly- how we say comics in French. The comics in this course focus on French history and culture but lend themselves to comparisons with other cultures. You are encouraged to bring in your own experience in our discussions.

What We’ll Do: In this course, we read, analyze and discuss French comics in English translation published from the 1980s until now, with the exception of week 1 and 2 that cover basics in the history of French comics, main authors and BDs, and you will learn, and practice with, the tools needed to ‘read’ comics. Keep in mind that comics is a specific medium, unlike film, novels or photography. We'll go over this. 

Approach: We will take a cultural/thematic approach to comics in order to learn not only how comics work to convey a narrative but also what position they may adopt vis-à-vis contemporary topics such as war, colonization, gender representations and our relationship to the environment. To support this approach, we will rely on the main texts, the comics, and the form they take as form is an intrinsic part of content in the comic medium.

Required Books:

Total cost: $70-$100. Some are available at the bookstore, some only as ebooks.

  • Reading Bande dessinée, by Ann Miller (Intellect Books, 2007) $9 on Kindle
  • Snowpiercer: The Escape, by Jean-Marc Rochette and Jacques Lob (used copies starting at $11, also at the PSU bookstore)
  • It was the War of the Trenches, by Tardi – rent or buy, used copies around $7 (new $25)
  • Alone, by Christophe Chabouté (1970) - $14.99 on kindle, $16.59 paperback
  • The Great Outdoors, Catherine Meurisse - $4.66 on comiXology (Amazon) KINDLE
  • Swimming in Darkness, by Lucas Harari (2017) – hardcover $18, Kindle $12 BOOKSTORE
  • Human, by Diego Agrimbau and Lucas Varela (2019) – KINDLE $8.59

JPN 345U 001 MANGA NOW!

Instructor: Jon Holt
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings
Meeting Time: TR 10:00 - 11:50 AM

Readings of new, critically acclaimed Japanese comic books and analysis of recent writings about the graphic-novel form. Readings of the manga are followed by a discussion of the artistic style, questions about Japanese society, and what kind of new developments are happening in the genre. Readings and discussions are in English. Expected preparation: Jpn 344.

WR 300 001 TOP: VISUAL STORYTELLING

Instructor: STAFF
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings
Meeting Time: MW 11:30 AM - 12:35 PM

Study of how ideas, information and narratives are uniquely conveyed when described with text, with images, and with text and images together. Examples will be explored from fiction and non-fiction writing, art history and a wide variety of comics. The emphasis will be on the artist’s intent and how that intent can remain consistent when expressed through different mediums.

WR 398 001 TOP: WRITING COMICS

Instructor: David Walker; Brian Bendis
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings
Meeting Time: TR 2:00 - 3:50 PM

Study and practice of creating comics and graphic narratives in a variety of genres, with a focus on form and process. Course may be repeated for credit with different topics for up to 8 credits. Up to 8 credits of this course number can be applied to the English major.

WR 462 001 BOOK DESIGN SOFTWARE

Instructor: Kelley Dodd
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings
Meeting Time: MW 2:00 - 3:50 PM

Comprehensive course in professional book design and production. Issues specific to the design of fiction and nonfiction books in a variety of genres and markets will be covered, including the applications of both old and new technologies in design and production. Also offered for graduate-level credit as Wr 562 and may be taken only once for credit. Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

WR 562 001 BOOK DESIGN SOFTWARE

Instructor: Kelley Dodd
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings
Meeting Time: MW 2:00 - 3:50 PM

Provides a strong foundation in design software used in the book publishing industry, focusing on Adobe InDesign. Also explores Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat, as well as XHTML and e-book design. The class considers audience expectations through a range of hands-on design projects. Also offered for undergraduate-level credit as Wr 462 and may be taken only once for credit.