When Mark Waid asks for help via Social Media, you kind of have to rally to one of the greatest comic book writers’ side, especially when he’s asking for comic book readers to support and participate in a very cool project. When he gets so much support that it crashes his blog site you have to wonder what all the hoopla is about! Well its about this : Gender Through Comics: A Super MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) coming Spring 2013 that examines how comic books can be used to explore questions of gender identity, stereotypes, and roles. This highly engaging learning experience is designed for college-age and lifelong learners.
Below is Waid’s tweet talking about the support which this project has and needs from all members of the comic book community, creators, readers, educators, and students alike. Please help to share and spread the word, and of course sign up for what is sure to be a highly enlightening online course.
Via TWITTER @MarkWaid : “I need your help,” a.k.a. The Post That Crashed My Site: So I’m putting out an urgent public call to readers and fans, especially those who support the new and the innovative. I’m getting behind something I believe in, and I’m asking you to join me–and Brian K. Vaughan and Scott Snyder and Matt Fraction and Brian Bendis and Gail Simone and many, many other comics creators, all of whom have volunteered to talk to you about what we do and how we do it. We’re making ourselves available to you in a new way, and here’s how:
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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