About two months ago, Mark Waid tweeted that Ball State Univesity would be offering a “SuperMOOC” – a”super-massive open, online course” – for free called “Gender through Comic Books“. Of course, I signed up for it immediately, and the last four weeks of class -listening to Terry Moore, Mark Waid (him again!), Kelly Sue DeConnick, Stephen Wacker, Sana Amanat, and (so far) Gail Simone – have been phenomenal! The discussions are almost impossible to keep up with because 7,200 students, but even reading a few threads here and there are amazing ideas that deserved to be explored. Spending any amount of time with the thoughtful and passionate people involved and listening to what they have to say about comics shows how disingenuous statements like “They’re only comics” are. Comics are not “only”, not anymore and maybe not for the last decade at least.
If you didn’t sign up, you missed out on something very special. Next time.
Our one homework for the class – productive homework – is to create a comic strip that is based on a gender experience I (or someone I know) have had. I couldn’t think of anything. So, I do what all writers do: I lied and made up a story, which I think still has some points to make about gender roles and power in comic books. Here is Cockroach Woman & Cockroach Boy: An Experiment Gone Wrong.