The State of Comics Scholarship
So, I have been looking deeper and deeper into comics studies this term. Maybe because I am in Portland, and it so abundant at PSU, or because it is a possible avenue I want to take my career in. As an interdisciplinary scholar, I see the value in approaching mediums like comics from many different areas of expertise. You have your art aspect, your writing aspect, your historical aspect, your humanities aspect, and your philosophical aspect. There are many more approaches I can add to the list, but I’m too lazy to give everyone their due diligence.
I just read “The State of Comics Scholarship: Comics Studies and Disciplinarily” by Gregory Steirer. It was interesting to read this because it set off so many sparks in my head as to approaching comics on a scholarly level from an interdisciplinary lens. He mentions how it is “impossible to place” in academia because it isn’t just one thing. That means that it is open to interpretation for people to approach it however they want. It isn’t a taboo because of its increasing presence in pop culture and social anthropology. Yet, scholarship in the area is very new. That’s when I began to believe in the opportunities it has for black scholars looking for a place. The article mentions the cultural and historical aspects that go into studying this stuff and it amazes me how disconnected the field is. Coupling that with the lack of diversity in the area, I see that the lack of competition to leave a mark in the field is open to anyone seeking a solid scholarly foundation in something relevant with the times of American culture.
The article also references Douglas Wolk’s Reading Comics: The creator of a comic is its author, and comics produced under the sole or chief creative control of a single person of significant skill are more likely to be compelling and resonant than [mainstream comics].” That is a very profound statement to make. That emphasizes that the most profound things come from the creators themselves and not the businesses and corporations that produce the big titles like Marvel and DC. In fact, emphasizing the fact that creators have value encourages more creators to embark on the journey. If we tell our stories we can bring each other closer. As references in the article, Kelly J. Hall and Betsy Lucal explain in their article “Teaching Sociology”: “Stories and settings parallel life, offering an analytical milieu that, while exaggerated in some ways, shows some of the same phenomena that exists in contemporary culture.”
With that being said, I urge you to create and conquer!