Traveling to Comic Con as part of a course sounds like a dream come true, but it was reality for students enrolled in the ?Research in Comic Book Culture and Community? course, part of the Communication Arts and Sciences baccalaureate degree program at Penn State Berks. A group of twelve students and two faculty chaperones traveled to New York Comic Con to experience comic book culture and popular arts, and to conduct research from October 9?11, 2015.
According to Dr. Cheryl Nicholas, Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and organizer of the active-learning experience, New York Comic Con is the largest popular culture convention on the East Coast. The four-day event features a variety of exhibitions, performances and fan-based sessions dedicated to the popular arts (comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies and television). At Comic Con, students were exposed to a variety to arts-based communities and events, from comic book artists and writers, to set/media designers, and much more.
Students enrolled the class are currently conducting research on comic book culture and communities. Erik Lewis, a senior majoring in Professional Writing, has had his paper accepted for presentation at the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association's annual convention in Seattle in March 2016. Other students from the class will be submitting their papers for presentation consideration to the Eastern Communication Association Convention in Baltimore in April 2016.
Prior to the Comic Con excursion, Fred Van Lente, New York Times bestselling, award-winning writer of comics like Archer & Armstrong, Action Philosophers!, and Cowboys & Aliens (with Andrew Foley), the basis for the feature film, visited the class. His book, The Comic Book History of Comics, is one of the required texts.
Nicholas was accompanied on the trip by Dr. Michele Ramsey, Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Women's Studies.
These events were funded by the Mrs. Harold McI. Grout and Mrs. C. Glenn Kauffman Endowment for the Arts and the Howard O., Jr., and Jean S. Beaver Endowment for Guest Lecturers at Berks Campus.