up close of a comic reading a comic


SDSU offers courses specifically on comics and courses that include comics in the broader curriculum. Over the next two years (2022-2024), at least TEN new comics studies classes will be developed! [email protected] is also developing a Comics Studies Certificate Program. For more information about our comics curriculum, contact Dr. Elizabeth Pollard at [email protected].

Courses that include sections on comics

AFRAS 120: Composition

Offered occasionally by Dolores Fisher will include a small section on comics and African American pop culture graphic representation.

AFRAS 466: Afrofuturism

Offered occasionally. Course created by Ajani Brown.

Coming Soon

Tentative/Under Development (2022): AFRAS xxx will explore the politics of representation in comics. The course is in the early stages of development by professor Ajani Brown.

Coming Soon

Tentative/Under Development (2022): AMIND 235: Indians in Comic Books and Graphic Arts. A course on Indigenous representation in comics may be offered as soon as Fall 2022! Keep an eye on the schedule of classes. Created by professor Desmond Hassing.

ART 296: Comics and Sequential Media (may be replaced by ART 215 in Fall 2022)

Historical and theoretical overview of visual storytelling through a cross-section of works in animated films, comics, live-action, and photography. Created by professor Neil Kendricks.

ART 343/443/543: Illustration

Visual notation, sketching, representational drawing, and visual translation related to art and design. Instructor: Neil Shigley

Coming soon

Tentative/Under Development (2022): ART 215: The Visual Odyssey in Sequential Media. Historical and theoretical overview of visual storytelling through a cross-section of works in animated films, comics, live-action, and photography. Created by professor Neil Kendricks.

Courses in English and Comparative Literature frequently include graphic narrative, especially in courses offered by instructors Bill Nericcio, Yetta Howard and Joseph Thomas. View a complete list of Bill Nericcio's past classes.

collage of images eyegasmENGL 157: Comics and History

Satisfies the C1 category for GE. Same as HIST 157. 

Offered in Fall 2022: T/TH 11:00 am - 12:15 pm GMCS 333.  Taught by Bill Nericcio.

Our class will both study and (even possibly) reinforce our shared 21st century electro-existential experiences—where the mesh of our minds with computer screens, smartphones, and television screens comes to saturate our consciousness. The books and movies and pictures and videos we will experience this term will open our eyes to brave new worlds.  But these works are not without their tricks, not without their surprises, and the fractured souls they flaunt before our eyes will test our intellect, imagination, and, most deeply, our emotions--they may even tattoo our psyche! Works to include artist/authors like Art Spiegelman, Gilbert Hernandez, Emil Ferris, Robert Crumb, Chelsea Cain, Marjane Satrapi and more. Open to all majors and minors with no prior expertise with comics or literature anticipated or expected.

Coming Soon

Tentative/Under Development (2022): ENGL 568: Chicanx Comics and Graphic Literature. The course is in the early stages of development by Professor Bill Nericcio. 

Many courses in History include graphic narrative. Interested? Check with the following instructors: Elizabeth Pollard, Van Tarpley, Mary Stout, Greg Daddis, Raechel Dumas, David Cline, John Putman.

Maus comic

HIST 157: Comics and History

Satisfies the C1 category for GE. Same as ENGL 157.

Offered in Fall 2022:  Online. Taught by Professor Mary Ellen Stout.

HIST 157 provides the basics of comics. This includes the vocabulary, elements, and history of comics through the different ages. We then shift our focus to looking at comics through the lens of social justice. This course allows students to look at certain historical social justice topics through the lens of comics. They explore topics in U.S. History such as Gender Activism, War and Propaganda, African Americans and Civil Rights, and Racial Prejudice and Representation.  Students learn to analyze comics through a social justice lens and make a historical argument about the change over time that they observe. They are using comics as a primary source, supplemented with scholarly secondary research, to make an argument about comic’s place in Social Justice themes in U.S. History. Students choose a social justice theme and time period to research. They learn to annotate comic panels, make an argument about specific comics, and then make a larger argument about their social justice theme in comics and its change over time. 

Bitter Root comic

HIST 457: Graphic Histories

Created by Professor Van Tarpley.

Satisfies an upper-division GE (HUM) requirement. Taught by Professor Van Tarpley.

This class will explore selected historical problems, eras, and events through the lens of graphic histories and novels.  Historians and biographers use the comics medium to help readers experience high levels of immersion, empathy, and complexity as they confront the past.  Creators also contribute counterhistories and “histories of the future” that shed light on our common human story.  Our study will roam from Marguerite Abouet’s 1970s West Africa to Tillie Walden’s far-future decrepit space habitats, from Moore and Lloyd’s V outwitting the despots of an imagined dystopian London to John Lewis standing against all-too-real segregation in Selma, Alabama.   

Captain America comic

HIST 580: Comics and the Cold War

Created by Professor Greg Daddis.

Offered for the first time in Fall 2022: T/TH, 12:30 - 1:45 pm. Taught by Professor Greg Daddis.

This course examines the Cold War as a political, ideological, cultural, and military contest through the medium of the “comic” as it evolved throughout the post-World War II era. Students will analyze and evaluate how these visual cultural products depicted such themes as the global communist threat, the perils of atomic war, and the moral implications of the Cold War competition, and how these visual arts depicted race, identity, gender, and social justice over time. Though it gives special attention to the American role and experience, both at home and abroad, the course also investigates how other nations influenced Americans’ understanding of the Cold War and how comics served as a cultural force in representing the United States in what many believed was an existential battle between good and evil. 

Coming Soon

Tentative/Under Development (2022): LGBT xxx. A course on queer comics is in the early stages of development by Professor Jess Whatcott. 

Professor Suzanne Bordelon often includes an assignment and section on comics in her gender and rhetoric courses.

Coming Soon

Tentative/Under Development (2022): RWS xxx: The Visual Rhetoric of Comics. The course is in the early stages of development by Instructor Ben Jenkins. 

WMNST 355: Feminist Approaches to Popular Culture

Taught by Professor Amira Jarmakani.

WMNST 360: Women's Sexuality and the Body

Includes Marjane Satrapi's Embroideries. Taught by Professor Amira Jarmakani.

WMNST 604: Seminar: Gender, Culture, and Representation

Taught by Professor Amira Jarmakani.