Deconstructing the Comic Book Villain
Instructor: Robyn Manning-Samuels
Mondays, 10:30 - 11:20
In this class we will be taking an in depth look at how American comics define heroism through villainy. In the 1980s the graphic novel format became a popular way to collect comic book story arcs. The new format of longer more cohesive stories created the opportunity for comic book writers to develop more complex villains. The line between moral and immoral characters became increasingly blurred, which made defining “hero” and “villain” more complicated.
We will be looking at six titles that portray the villain from a different perspective. We will take in depth look at how these stories complicate the morality of the issues the writers are dealing with and how the presence of a different perspective portrays the hero in a different light. The texts we will be looking at are: Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, The Killing Joke by Alan Moore, Luthor by Brian Azarello, V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont, and The Death Ray by Daniel Clowes. There will be weekly forum posts about the primary texts and secondary material to provide historical contexts and academic criticisms.