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Graphic Novels

Bestselling comic book author Brian Michael Bendis teaches at PSU

Only at PSU can aspiring graphic novelists create their own 22-page comic under the instruction of one of the most successful and acclaimed comic-book writers in the country: Brian Michael Bendis.

Bendis, a Portland resident whose bestselling titles include Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers, returns to PSU in winter term to teach an intense seminar to a small group of handpicked students eager to break into the bustling comics scene in Portland. "Portland is the absolute perfect city to do it in," Bendis says. "The interest is absolutely here. The talent is absolutely here."

The class builds on PSU's strong writing, art, and publishing programs and Portland's growing reputation as a center for graphic novelists. Bendis plans to team his students with graphic-design students and bring in other professional writers, editors, and authors -- all-stars in the comics publishing world -- as guest lecturers.

"Graphic novels are an important influence on writing, not just locally," says Michele Glazer, director of PSU's new Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. "We're lucky to be in the hub of it."

When Bendis taught the class for the first time last year, final projects ranged from the most intimate autobiographical stories to the most surreal fantastical adventures.

Brandon Seifert, who took Bendis's class last year, says it was "too good an opportunity to pass up." He learned about story structure, drama, pacing, dialogue, and how to keep the reader turning the pages. "I feel like I'm a much better writer," he says.