Professors hope to make comic books more relevant on campus

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Swapping out traditional textbooks in the classroom and bringing in comic books is getting some students enthusiastic about learning.

Wesley Cray, an assistant professor of philosophy, began using comic books in his classroom due to his teaching style, which focuses on philosophical questions pertaining to various forms of art.

“Comics, it turns out, is among my favorite art forms, so it was only a matter of time before they showed up in my classroom,” Cray said.

Not only are students as enthusiastic about this form of literature — they can get a different type of literacy through this interplay of text and images that they wouldn’t through standard written books, said Cray.

Junior Ali Scholtz uses comic books in her Entrepreneurial Opportunity Recognition class. She said that comic book reading was new for her. After some adjusting, she became much more interested than she would have with a traditional textbook.

“It wasn’t something I found myself dreading to read before every class,” Scholtz said. “Instead, I enjoyed seeing what was going to come next.”

Comic book, “Mission In A Bottle”, was assigned to student Ali Scholtz by her professor.

Cray, alongside an informal group of professors, created the TCU Comics Initiative, a group consisting of TCU faculty who share research and teaching interests involving comics.

“One of our goals is to help promote comics scholarship and comics-related activities on campus,” Cray said. “There are a growing number of comics-related courses on campus, so our hope is to use the Comics Initiative to help raise awareness about these courses and get students interested.”

The TCU Comics Initiative had their first group activity by bringing 2009 alumni Molly Mahan back to campus to talk about how her liberal arts education at TCU helped her with her career as an editor with DC Comics.

Cray said in the future, the TCU Comics Initiative hopes to be formally recognized by the university and potentially develop a Center for Comics Studies in the future.