“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.