Dynamic Duo of Words and Pictures Teams Up to Conquer zcomjcs

By Selah Zichterman in Life

Comics have come a long way—evolving from a simple three-panel strip into a complex graphic novel. Beginning Spring Quarter, Clark is combining Drawing II (Art 104) and Creative Writing (English 121) to form a new class called “The Craft of Comics.”

Clark calls this a Learning Community—two or more classes linked together that students take with the same class members. To be involved in The Craft of Comics, you must take both classes simultaneously, accounting for a lecture and a lab credit.

“Creative writing and art have a crossover in the process of producing comics, which is why it was necessary to blend the classes,” Hottle said.

The class will meet Monday and Wednesday 9 a.m.-12:20 p.m and will be co-taught by art instructor Grant Hottle and English professor Toby Peterson.

Clark’s Cannell Library proposed the original idea of the combined class and has been working with Hottle and Peterson to make comics more accessible for students. In the past year, the library has collected 125 comic books, and according to Library Assistant Jaki King, that number will keep growing.

“Some of the biggest writers and artists live in Portland, which speaks to the potential Clark students could have in exploring this career field,” Hottle said.

Dark Horse Comics, Oni Press, Top Shelf Productions and Sparkplug Books all publish in the Portland area.IMG_0233

Portland State University and the University of Oregon have also adopted degrees in comic studies.

“I am definitely interested in this class,” said Jeremy Cook, president of the Clark Anime Club. “Comics have become a growing culture and now they are much more mainstream and accepting. It is great that Clark is supporting students who want to pursue art as a career.”

The class requires a prerequisite of Art 101 and English 98, but students can request an exemption by emailing Hottle or Peterson. “Toby doesn’t want to teach students how to write, and I do not want to teach students how to draw,” Hottle said. “We want them to use their developed skills of art and writing and integrate it into their comic creations.”

Peterson said that although the “superhero genre” is the most well-known, comics now tell a wider variety of stories and utilize diverse artistic styles.

“Genres are available that have not been seen before. That is why students need to go out and create,” said Andy Johnson, the president of Cosmic Monkey Comics.

In 2014, Cannell library ordered comics of various genres, including memoirs, Manga, LGBTQ, history, photographic and cartoon comics.

King said, “We are trying to make sure that students can have a diverse set of comics to look at. It’s not just the everyday white male superhero.”

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