“Around the O” Features Professor Ben Saunders for his Curation of the Marvel Universe

Founder and Director of the innovative UO Comics and Cartoon Studies Program Ben Saunders has been featured on the UO Homepage and Around the O for his curation of three exhibits on the “Marvel Universe of Super Heroes.”

The first exhibit, housed in Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture, was the largest and most comprehensive exhibit of Marvel Comics materials in the world. The second and third exhibits are set to open April 13th and October 19th at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute and Edmonton’s TELLUS World of Science, respectively.

Around the O‘s feature, which includes this 2-minute YouTube presentation, emphasizes how Professor Saunders turned a lifelong passion for comics – materials that scholars had deemed uncritical and unworthy of consideration – into fodder for serious academic inquiry.

“Sometimes people ask, why study comic books? For me,” Saunders replies, “the real question is, why haven’t we been studying comic books for longer? Really, to not study comics is to neglect an extraordinary, powerful, rich, aesthetically compelling aspect of creative culture.”

Curating the exhibits, Saunders adds, represents an opportunity to “convince people that this is art that belongs on the walls of a museum and deserves to be taught in our classrooms.”

To that end, Professor Saunders regularly teaches comics and cartoon studies, including undergraduate classes on the Modern American Superhero (ENG 480) and graduate seminars on “Secret Identity Politics: Transmedia Economies and Postmodern Subjectivities” (ENG 607).

Want to learn more about the craft and culture of comics and cartoons? Join the Comics and Cartooon Studies Minor, an innovative and interdisciplinary program – the first of its kind in the United Stated – designed to help students think critically about the interaction of visuals, language, and narrative.

For the complete feature, written by Emily Halnon and beautifully photographed by Nicolas Walcott, follow this link to Around the O.

Superheroes Decoded

This weekend (4-30-17), the History Channel will be airing a two-part special on the history of the superhero called Superheroes Decoded featuring a University of Oregon Professor of English–our very own Dr. Ben Saunders, the founder of the Comics and Cartoon Studies program! We have been informed by producers that portions of his interviews will appear in both parts of the documentary.

Ramzi Fawaz, who delivered a guest lecture on The Fantastic Four here on campus last spring, will also appear in the series. In addition to academic speakers, Superheroes Decoded will also feature interviews with Stan Lee, George R. R. Martin, Superman director Richard Donner, Iron Man director Jon Favreau, and Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/The Falcon in the Captain America and Avengers films), among many others.

Part One airs on Sunday April 30th, at 9pm EST; Part Two airs the following night, Monday May 1st, at 9pm EST. Both air on the History Channel. Be sure to tune in!

Lecture: Michael Tisserand

“Birth of the Krazy: The Early Days of George Herriman and Krazy Kat








Monday April 17th – 4:00 PM – 123 PAC

Please join us for a fascinating look at the intersections of race, popular culture, and the publishing industry in the first half of the twentieth century.

Comics and Cartoon Studies would like to thank the Oregon Humanities Center and the Departments of Art History, Comparative Literature, and English for their generous co-sponsorship of this event.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please email gilroy@uoregon.edu

Art Ducko Call for Essays

Calling all writers interested in comics and/or cartoons! Art Ducko, the University of Oregon’s comics and cartoons magazine, is currently looking for an article for their next issue, coming out in winter term. The theme is science fiction. It can be any kind of science fiction, such as space travel, futuristic technologies, dystopia or utopia, parallel universes, apocalyptic stories, time travel, alternate history, alien life, and more (if you are unsure about whether or not something counts as sci-fi, feel free to ask!). The essay must be related to either comics or cartoons (or both). It can be focused on one work or many. If you have an essay or article already, or if you are interested in writing one, please email lbryant@uoregon.edu .

Deadline: Monday, January 9, 2017
Length: usually around 2300 words (though length is flexible)