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! Comics@SDSU is also developing a Comics Studies Certificate Program. For more information about our comics curriculum, contact Dr. Elizabeth Pollard at [email protected].

Courses offered (by semester)

AFRAS 475 Super Black: The Politics of Representation in Comics
M 4-6:40pm in SH 320
Ajani Brown
30 seats
*GE Fulfillment - Explorations Humanities

AMIND 235 Indians in Comic Books and Graphic Arts
Desmond Hassing
32 seats

ART 215 Visual Odyssey through Comics and Sequential Media
T/Th 3:30-4:45pm in ARTN 300B
Ethan "Neil" Kendricks
30 seats
*GE Fulfillment - Foundations Arts

ECL 157 Comics and History
T/Th 3:30-4:45pm in SH105
Joseph Thomas
70 seats
*GE Fulfillment - Foundations Arts

ECL 527 Graphic Narrative (The Rapid Rise of the Israeli Graphic Novel)
T/Th 2:00-3:15pm in ARTN 412
Dekel Shay Schory
45 Seats

ECL 568 Chicanx Comix: Community, Storytelling, and Social Justice
T/Th 11-12:15pm in HH150
William Nericcio
30 seats
Stacked with LATAM 580 (3 seats) and MALAS 600A (4 seats)

History 157 Comics and History
MWF 10-10:50am in PSFA350
John Tarpley
70 seats
*GE Fulfillment - Foundations Arts

History 157 Comics and History
T/Th 11-12:15pm in LH 343
Mary Stout
70 seats
*GE Fulfillment - Foundations Arts

RWS 413 The Rhetoric of Comics
M/W 2-3:15pm in SH 124
Ben Jenkins
30 seats
*GE Fulfillment - Explorations Humanities

ART 215 Visual Odyssey through Comics and Sequential Media
Ethan Kendricks

ECL 157 Comics and History
William Nericcio

HIST 157 Comics and History
Mary Stout

HONOR 313 History of Feminism Through Comics
Mary Stout

LGBT 550/MALAS 600A Queering Comics
Jess Whatcott

MALAS 600D Naked Souls: Comics / Animation / Psychoanalysis
William Nericcio

Courses offered (by department)

AFRAS 466: Afrofuturism

 [This course satisfies the ethnic studies (ES) requirement.]

Interdisciplinary study of African and African American contributions to science fiction, comic book art, pop culture, and its origins and influences. Course created by Ajani Brown.

AFRAS 475 - Super Black: The Politics of Representation in Comics

“Super Black" is the exploration of comics focused on the increased prevalence of black comic book characters and their creators.  We will delve into the purposeful and audacious inclusion of these culturally specific story arcs into the sequential arts medium. This is an analytic history of the diverse contributions of Black artists to the medium, covering comic books, superhero comics, graphic novels, and cartoon strips. Created by Professor Ajani Brown.

AMIND 235: Indians in Comic Books and Graphic Arts

Historical, literary, and cultural study of the representation of the Indigenous Peoples of North America in the medium of the American comic books and graphic arts from the 1930s through the present.

ART 215: Comics and Sequential Media

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.

ART 343/443/543: Illustration

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

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.

ENGL 157: Comics and History 

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

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.

ENGL 527 - Genre Studies

Prerequisite(s): Six lower division units in literature and/or creative writing.  Study of a specific literary genre or genres, such as the novel, tragedy, epic, and lyric. (Sometimes taught with a comics and graphic novel focus).

ECL 568 - Chicanx Comix: Community, Storytelling, and Social Justice

When it comes to the history of comics, comic books, editorial cartooning, and animation in the United States in the 20th and 21st century, the chapter dedicated to works by Americans of Mexican descent (Chicanos/as/x) would be enormous. Examining pathbreaking works, “Chicanx Comix” treats advanced undergraduates and/or graduate students to a broad array of styles, genres, media and more. Created by Professor William A. 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, Walter Penrose, and John Putman.

HIST 157: Comics and History

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

For much of our existence, humans have told stories through sequential art. Sequential art and more specifically comics, its modern manifestation, offer visual text that is sometimes accompanied with words, meant to be “read” by the viewer. Through the stories told, sequential art provides insight into realities and imaginings, ideas and emotions, aesthetics and actions of people across time and cultures. This course offers a brief study of sequential art from images in paleolithic cave paintings to medieval manuscripts, followed by in-depth study of the aesthetic, formal, and stylistic features of comics across cultures over the last century. Through engagement with this medium, students will develop an appreciation of, and a language for analyzing comics as an art form, and they will be able to contextualize these texts in terms of how they reflect the aesthetics and realities of a particular moment and in terms of how these reflections change over time.  Created by Professor Elizabeth Pollard.

HIST 457: Graphic Histories

[Satisfies an upper-division GE (HUM explorations) requirement.]

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. Created by Professor Van Tarpley.

HIST 538: Comics and the Cold War

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. Created by Professor Greg Daddis.

LGBT 550 - Queering Comics 

“Queering Comics” is an exploration of LGBTQ+ culture, ideas, aesthetics, relationships, identity, and politics through the prism of sequential art. We will use the medium of comics to explore the politics of representation, assessing both the consequences of the absence of complex queer and trans characters, and conversely the stereotypes that are reproduced when queer and trans people do appear. Created by Professor Jess Whatcott. 

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

RWS 413 - The Rhetoric of Comics

“The Rhetoric of Comics” offers an analytical look at the multimodal characteristics of comics, focusing on how visual rhetoric and sequential narrative are crafted within the genre to persuade and to convey meaning and messages to specific audiences. Students will identify, analyze, and evaluate the various modes of communication that comics creators utilize in telling their stories. Created by Professor 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.