Primer for “Developments In Comics Pedagogy” (MLA, January 8, 2016): Comics Are Funny


On Friday, January 8, Keith McCleary (UC San Diego) and I will be leading the roundtable “Developments in Comics Pedagogy” at the Austin, Texas, meeting of the Modern Language Association.

For the next few days, in preparation for our discussion, I will be writing about what led to this roundtable, recent approaches in the teaching of comics and graphic novels, and my own contributions to this discussion about pedagogy and visual texts. Abstracts and bios for all roundtable participants are available here.

Reading the publications of roundtable colleague Maria Cardona has been helpful for understanding another approach many teachers take to comics: a recognition that there is something powerful about the laughter comics, especially comic strips, provide.

I want to consider that idea as it relates to what Maria calls subversion, and what I have tried to do tackling certain Japanese comics, and how I think both of us use these techniques to teach about gender representations. I think Maria and I are in agreement that laughter is a helpful response used by feminist approaches to comics to critique sexism.