Free Course: “Gender Through Comic Books”

Mark Waid would like everyone to check out this free course.

For the last few months, a talented university teacher named Christy Blanch has been putting together a college-level course called “Gender Through Comic Books”–but it’s not limited to college students. It’s the world’s first comics-related Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)–meaning that it will be FREELY AVAILABLE to ANYONE across the world who has web access and who’s interested in comics and in the creative process. There’s no obligation, NO COST, and all you have to do is take thirty seconds to enroll at the following site:

I’m excited about this not only because I’m participating but because it’s a revolutionary way to marry comics and education using technology. Oh, and also because Christy’s giving the MOOC students unique access to interviews with folks like Bendis, Fraction, Jason Aaron, Dan Slott, Jonathan Hickman, and many others. Trust me when I say that it’s worth enrolling just to watch Bendis and Hickman alone struggle with the question, “Who, in your opinion, is the most masculine comic book character?” They’re not being asked the same cookie-cutter questions you’ve heard a hundred times before; they’re talking about how gender roles inform and influence their work, how they approach gender politics, and more–and I’m here to tell you that many of their answers surprised me.

Wait, there’s more. Those who enroll at the above link will also have exclusive access to a series of LIVE WEEKLY INTERVIEWS with some of the smartest, most insightful people in American comics today, including Brian K. Vaughan (Y: THE LAST MAN), Scott Snyder (BATMAN), Gail Simone (BATGIRL, SECRET SIX), Terry Moore (STRANGERS IN PARADISE), and Marvel editors Steve Wacker and Sana Amanat (HAWKEYE, SPIDER-MAN, CAPTAIN MARVEL). Also me. Bonus for those who enroll: you can live-tweet questions to be asked during those interviews. Be heard.

I’ve been going to comics conventions and listening to panel discussions forever–but it’s easy for me to forget that I’m lucky that way. If you’ve never won the San Diego Comicon Ticket lottery, if you like comics but have never been fortunate enough to hear Vaughan or Terry Moore speak to an audience about their body of work, or if you just want to ask Steve Wacker why Spider-Man isn’t still married, this is your chance. Take advantage.

So here’s my pitch to you. Signing up for the course–that’s to your benefit. But as a favor to me, please help me recruit students. I want to see this succeed, and I would appreciate it if you could spread the word. Tweet the link, Facebook it, put it on your Tumblr page, tell your friends, make a sign to post in your local comics shop, however you can sound the call…do whatever you can to help make this BIG. I think this could be a HUGE step forward for the medium, and the more students that enroll, the better the chance that other universities and educators will follow with more of these open online comics courses in the months and years to come. And that’s to EVERYONE’S benefit.

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