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Surprises of 2013: SuperMOOC GTCB

The SuperMOOC Gender Through Comic Books taught how gender is in our everyday live, how it even effects storytelling and one's perception of the world.

IsoRod, Published on Dec 28, 2013
Another great surprise this year was Christina Blanch's SuperMOOC Gender Through Comic Books, which was a "free super MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) college class, examining gender roles and identity in comic books. Taught by Christina Blanch of Ball State, Indiana, the free course is open to anyone with Internet access and will feature interviews with prominent comic book professionals," quoted from the Comic Alliance article that can be found here. The course material cover a lot of comics I might of never of read, like Kelly Sue Deconnick's run on Captain Marvel(which is still ongoing), Brian K. Vaughn's Y the Last Man and Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise just to name a few of the comics covered. The last two mentioned are not your typical superhero stories but I have say they are as good as any those comics. Strangers in Paradise was on of the biggest comic surprises for me in the course. A story about two women, their friendship and love for one another is probably something I would never have looked at if not for this course.

Gender is Everywhere

The next amazing thing the course taught was how gender is pervasive in our society and how little people realize it. The fact that gender norms change from generation to generation was something I didn't even realize. In the past pink was consider a color for men and blue the color for woman. Men who cried were consider as strong because the were so secure in themselves that they could show their emotions. Videogames use to be marketed to everyone and girls use to be used in gaming ads. There are societies where there are more than two genders, some with as many as five. There so many more example that the rest the post could be just about them, but it does show gender is something everyone is aware of but very truly few understand its affect or how fluid gender norms are. This was every eye opening.

Story Rewrite

Page 8 of Bluejay in The RUSH. The rework story with the young lady Inez fighting back and no longer a helpless victim.

The course helped grasp the concept of rape culture. Before this course I wasn't truly aware of all factors that went into the concept and how it impacted me. One of the thing that did happen was because of this course was I change a scene in my comic project Bluejay and The RUSH where a female character was about to be sexual assault as a plot device to show my character's heroic nature by stopping the crime. I rewrote the scene into a mugging and had the young lady fights back and the hero only helps even the odds instead of using her as victim (click on the link to see a larger image). The best thing is this works out a lot better than a sexual assault and allow me to develop a new character which I will be using going further in stories to come. So it was a fascinating to learn about the concept, see how it effected my storytelling and got a new character out of it. It's important as storytellers that we don't trivialize serious topics like rape or use it like a simple purse snatching, when it's so much more violent and traumatic. Its something that I planned to keep in mind in the future and glad that I learned it.

The Facebook Page and SuperMOOC2

After the SuperMOOC: Gender Through Comic Books there was a group that was established on Facebook which can be found here. The group is open so anyone can join even if you didn't take the course. It is very active and posted topics have covered comics, art, videogames, gender, race, social and culture issues. There are very thoughtful people with interesting ideas and comments to share on this lively group. Christina is also working on site called SuperMOOC2 that will continue the format that was followed in the course and opening the conversation beyond gender. Can't wait till next year for the that. SuperMOOC Gender Through Comic Books was a great experience and learned a lot of surprising things.

TAGS: Comics , Non Trivial Things (NTT) , Opinions , Repost , Articles , Books , Digital , Education

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