Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
A Contract with God, and Other Tenement Stories by Will Eisner
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale I & II by Art Spiegelman
Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
Black Hole by Charles Burns
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
We3 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely and/or The Mystery Play by Grant Morrison and Jon J. Muth
Further details and explanations after the jump.
I’m not so much teaching this course as taking it, though I suppose I’ll actually be doing both. It’s a kind of independent project I’m taking on that’s going to end with a paper and a presentation and all that jazz, and I wanted to do it on something I was passionate about.
From the list, you can tell I went mostly with the big guns, though I assure you, I read every comment you left and reasons why (multiple times) and pored over the lovely list compiled by Tim Callahan. It was the absolute hardest selection process ever. I shied away from capes and multi-volume works, so that cut a lot out right off the bat. Things that looked out of print or unavailable on Amazon were another no-go. I also wanted to make sure I had an awful lot of award-winning and acclaimed works, to better bolster my proposal. From there, I tried to vary the list in terms of subject matter and design– as much as a course on comics memoirs and/or non-fiction-y comic works would be great, with stuff like Fun Home, American Born Chinese, Palestine, Persepolis and whatnot added in, I wanted a more diverse list.
The Grant Morrison stuff is entirely my own indulgence, however. It’s a shame his best stuff is either superheroic, multi-volume, or out of print, though I think We3 has a lot to say and The Mystery Play is an involving work that could lead to some good discussion.
I also reserve the right to toss in some Kirby when the time comes, probably New Gods, even if it’s just “The Glory Boat” (Kirby’s finest hour) and “The Pact.” He’s too important to neglect, but he didn’t quite fit on this type of list. We’ll see how the thing flows if/when it gets going. Sneaky sneaky.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Curses? Ideas for last-minute additions/changes/substitutions? Do you think it’s an adequate survey of the literature that the comics medium has to offer? I believe it’ll make for a dense and delicious semester of study. What say you?