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.
That’s it. That’s my request. And after all that, if you’re still not sold on the class, listen to who Christy corralled to give voice to the promotional video:
I was honored last week to be asked to be a Keynote Speaker at the O’Reilly Tools of Change Publishing Conference in New York (thank you, Kat Meyer, for lining it up!) Here I am, preaching Digital Comics Storytelling (as usual). I’d like to think what I lack in polish, I make up for in enthusiasm. Make a drinking game of trying to guess which way I’m going to weave nervously around on stage from moment to moment, right or left. (I’m sure the cameraman did.)
You know, there’s a big, BIG clue hanging in the air about who’s behind all this villainy…it’s been hanging for months now…and NO ONE has picked up on it. I’m hesitant to say more because it may give the whole thing away, but something Nocturnus did very early on should have raised at least ONE eyebrow. Is this this week we reveal what that clue is?
Actually, no, but keep your other eyebrow ready to cock at @FAILahad.
Anyway, new week’s up here! Thanks to everyone for your kind reception at the New York Comic Con–and, remember, Thrillbent is now your twice-a-week stop! A new Insufferable every Wednesday, a new Pax Arena every Friday (bilingual, in English AND French–your choice!), and even more in the next two weeks! Tell your friends, tell the world, help us get the word out! I appreciate it.
Up and running–please to leave any comments, thoughts or observations below. Pete and Nolan both knocked themselves out this week especially. Me, I’m leaving for the New York Comicon in 15 minutes and will be in Artist’s Alley at booth H-18 — stop by and say hello if you’re there, and be among the first to hear news about the NEW Thrillbent series we’ll be launching next week!
Almost have the Thrillbent site back up as promised. We were hacked HARD, says Lori–tons of images deleted, it’s just a mess, and everyone (including our new hosting service) is doing Herculean work to get it all put back together, but in the meantime, we’re not gonna leave you hanging for your weekly fix: you can right-click download this week’s INSUFFERABLE at either the CBZ or PDF links, your choice! Thanks again for your patience. And feel free to share these links far and wide with all your fellow fans. Upload ’em, torrent ’em, share ’em, have at. Much appreciated.