Courses

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.

You can find a listing of courses offered in prior terms at our Course Archives page.

Winter 2020

ENG 496: COMICS THEORY
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:40-6:30pm
Focus on various critical approaches to comics, exploring interdisciplinary theories and methods and
applying these theories to primary texts.

WR 398: WRITING COMICS
Wednesdays, 12:00-3:50pm
Prof. David Walker (dfw@pdx.edu)
The graphic novel features the unique marriage of words and pictures that has seeped into every facet of
popular culture. This course will focus on composing graphic narratives, exploring all the storytelling
elements that create this unique visual medium.

ENG 306U: TOP: GRAPHIC NOVEL
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 12:45-1:50pm
Prof. Katya Amato (amatok@pdx.edu)

"The graphic novel is not literary fiction's half-wit cousin, but, more accurately, the mutant sister who can often do everything fiction can, and, just as often, more." Dave Eggers

"Drawing is a way of thinking." Chris Ware

This term we explore contemporary graphic novels and interpret them with the respect and delight they deserve. The course is not a historical or genre survey: no superheroes, Will Eisner, or Fritz the Cat. Instead, we focus on recent graphic novels that make truth claims we will examine, sometimes with historical perspectives as context. 

Much class time will be spent in groups to obtain other people's perspectives, so be sure that you like group work (you are graded, however, only on your own writing). Attendance and participation are required. Assignments include short response papers, panel analysis, a five-page paper tying together three of our texts and interpreting a theme or imagery, and a final project (an analytical paper or a sixteen-panel story arc). Guest speakers are likely though not yet spoken for.

When I am sure that we can obtain the seven graphic novels I'd like to examine, I will add their titles to this description and order them from the PSU Bookstore. For further information, feel free to get in touch with me via email at amatok@pdx.edu.

WR 460/560: INTRO TO BOOK PUBLISHING
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00-3:50pm
Provides a detailed overview of the publishing process, organized around the division of labor, including
introductions to contemporary American publishing, issues of intellectual commerce, copyright law,
publishing contracts, book editing, book design and production, book marketing and distribution, and
bookselling. Based on work in mock publishing companies, students prepare portfolios of written
documents, i.e., book proposals, editorial guidelines, design and production standards, and marketing
plans. Guest speakers from the publishing industry and field trips provide exposure to the industry.

WR 462/562: BOOK DESIGN SOFTWARE
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00-3:50pm
Prof. Kelley Dodd (dodd@pdx.edu)
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

ART 356: VISUAL STORYTELLING
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00-11:50am
Prof. Laura Di Trapani (ditrapan@pdx.edu)
Studio course exploring strategies of representation of stories, characters, and other narrative elements in
time-based visual media. Focuses on the use and creation of storyboards, graphic novels, and animation
in fiction and non-fiction storytelling. Recommended preparation: Art 103 and Art 255, Art 256, and/or Art
257 (expected of art & art history majors). Open to Non-majors with instructor consent. Prerequisite: Art 103.

JPN 344U: MANGA: JAPANESE GRAPHIC NOVELS
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00-11:50am
Prof. Jon Holt (joholt@pdx.edu)
Readings of masterpieces of Japanese comic books, analysis of writing about the graphic-novel form.
Readings of the manga are followed by discussion of the artistic style, questions about Japanese society,
and each novel’s place in the history of the genre. Readings /discussions are in English. Expected
preparation: 8 credits of literature.

PHL 317U: PHILOSOPHY OF ART
Web-based course
Prof. Angela Coventry (coventry@pdx.edu)
Philosophical issues concerning the creation, interpretation, and consumption of art. Includes an overview
of the major philosophical theories about the nature of art, an examination of the relationship between art
and ethics, art and psychology, art and pornography, and relativism of aesthetic value judgments.