Comic book author, graduate student, teacher, and business owner Christina Blanch will be speaking on Monday, November 4, at 7:30 in LB 125 as part of the Department of English’s Marilyn K. Cory Speakers Series. In advance of her talk, she agreed to answer a few questions from English Department faculty member Debbie Mix about comic books, creative writing, and scholarship.
Debbie: How did you get interested in reading and writing about comics? Is it challenging to think and write about something you love from an academic perspective?
Christina: I picked up a copy of Prince Valiant when I was young that my parents had. I thought it was so cool that this was a book for adults that had pictures and words. It just fascinated me. I drifted away from comics in the late teen years but found them again when I had my first child and was teaching him to read. I never really thought about using comics until I was reading a series called Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. I was writing a lecture at the time on culture change, and in the book, all of the males on the planet die suddenly. Talk about culture change! I had always used popular culture in my teaching so using comic books wasn’t a stretch. And it got the students’ attention, which is something that is so important in teaching.
Yes, it is challenging to look at comics, which I do love, from an academic perspective. Sometimes it makes me sad because I realize a book I love really sends a wrong message, but there is always something to learn—good or bad. On the flip side though, analyzing comics really shows how incredibly complex the medium is and usually I end reading the books with a totally new perspective so it’s like reading a completely new book. That is awesome. Continue reading