Marvel at this: UEA launches first-of-its-kind course in Comics Studies  

The University of East Anglia (UEA) is launching the UK’s first Master of Arts course in Comics Studies, allowing students to gain an advanced degree in the history, art, and culture of the art form.

UEA is already synonymous with superheroes after the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts on its Norwich campus was used as the location for the Avenger’s headquarters in the recent Marvel movies and in the Lego Marvel Avengers video game.

From award-winning graphic novels to superhero movies competing for the global box office, comics and comic culture are everywhere today, a development that is sure to continue.

Media and literature university courses often have modules on comics, but this is thought to be the world’s first English-language Master of Arts course in Comics Studies, allowing students to fully immerse themselves in comics and related areas, such as Hollywood cinema and art history.

In fact, students studying in the School of Art, Media and American Studies at UEA already have the choice of comic studies modules that focus on American comics, Japanese manga, and superhero media. These module have proved incredibly popular amongst students, so course leaders are confident this new year-long course will be a hit. 

Course leader Dr Frederik Byrn Køhlert said: “Most people think of comics as the classic superhero magazine, but there is so much more to study in the world of comics. Comics can tell stories ranging from the fantastic to the explicitly realistic, and include genres like autobiography, comics journalism, and reportage, which often engage with fraught personal and geopolitical situations such as gender identity, war, and the refugee crisis.

“Comics also have a long and rich history beginning with 19th century satirical cartoons and newspaper comic strips, and have been at the centre of transmedia franchises since their inception, with the most popular publishers now finding themselves within large corporations such as Disney and Time Warner.”

“Whether students are new to the field or are developing existing interests, this degree will serve to deepen and broaden their understanding of comics and culture. Students will acquire an extensive knowledge of comics history, aesthetics, culture, and industry, preparing them for employment in a rapidly growing cultural sector.”

Those running the course expect students to go into careers in the various industries associated with the comics world, including publishing, editing, marketing, and event organization, using skills and knowledge taught on the course.

Those interested in applying for this course need a degree in the humanities or social sciences. For more information about the course content and application process, visit: www.uea.ac.uk/ama/comics.

Blog: Comics and race relations