Comic Studies (CMX)

CMX 200 Comics, Campus, and You (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: GE Area A2.

Introduction to the comics medium as a means for self-reflection and viewing oneself in relation to the university as part of the first-year experience. Understand the comics form by reading and analyzing diverse memoir comics all which will be relevant to students' lives and help facilitate self-reflection. Explore campus sites and visit with university community members to learn about resources and pathways with which to support their successful college careers and beyond. Learn to make comics (as well as zines and other related image-text hybrids) for self-expression and to document campus explorations.

Course Attributes:

  • E: Lifelong Learning Develop

CMX 235 Comics and Culture (Units: 3)

Introduction to the scholarly study of comic books and graphic novels. Emphasis on formal analysis, historical antecedents and developments, cross-cultural comparison, and comparison of comics with other cultural forms. Focus on what it means to make comics as well as analyze them.
(This course is offered as HUM 235 [formerly HUM 325] and CMX 235 [formerly CMX 325]. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

Course Attributes:

  • C2: Humanities

CMX 304 Making Comics (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or permission of the instructor.

Introduction to the hands-on making of comics. Focus on in-class exercises and small projects in making comics alongside analysis of comics. Promotes understanding of how to communicate in comics and discover working methods that best work for them.
(This course is offered as LS 304, CMX 304, and HUM 304. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

CMX 326 Comics in Education (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or permission of the instructor.

Explore the multi-faceted role of comics in education (from literary to literacy and visual literacy) and cultivate ways to confidently incorporate comics into different educational settings. Develop a deep understanding of comics as a distinct medium and be able to analyze how the various multimodal elements on a comics page come together to make meaning. Gain familiarity with the various genres of comics and learn how comics can address state standards. Practice basic comics-making techniques for self-expression and to demonstrate these skills to future students. Create real world comics syllabi, lesson plans, and curriculum to deploy in the classroom.

CMX 504 From Superman to the Supercrip: Comics and Disability (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: CMX 325 or permission of the instructor.

Explore how disability has been historically represented in comics and how that has changed over time. Expand the idea of what comics can be and who they are for to show new possibilities for the future of comics as a whole. Investigate methods for making comics more accessible to such audiences as blind and low vision readers. Instill best accessibility practices in conveying messages through the medium of comics. Study conducted through analysis of representation in comics, readings in disability literature, and creation of comics addressing both representation and accessibility.

CMX 540 Topics in Comics Studies (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: HUM 325 or permission of the instructor.

Deep examination of a particular genre, time period, region, or emphasis within the comics medium. Focus on primary, theoretical, and contextual readings, and will include opportunities to make as well as reflect on comics. Topics to be specified in the Class Schedule. May be repeated when topics vary. [Formerly HUM 540]


  1. Superheroes
  2. Political Cartooning

CMX 541 Manga (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or permission of the instructor.

A deep look at the history of manga, its different genres and their audiences, prominent titles and authors of Japanese comics, and readership. Close analysis of a wide range of manga texts to encourage a well-rounded understanding of the field.
(This course is offered as HUM 541 and CMX 541 [formerly a topic of HUM 540 and CMX 540]. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

CMX 542 San Francisco Underground Comix (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or permission of the instructor.

Examination of the artists and events behind the Underground Comix scene of the late 1960s and 70s in San Francisco. Look at subcultures exploring the unconscious, drugs, and sex of the time that shaped the subject matter. Connect how this alternative offshoot of comics contributed to the development of the graphic novel and the much broader sorts of subject matter comics handle. Confront issues including sexism and misogyny by Underground authors, which in turn prompted the growing role of female creators and the beginnings of queer comics. Engage with the material through creative projects, connecting historical voices with student-made comics.

CMX 543 Queer Comics (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or permission of the instructor.

Explore why the comics medium is well-suited for queer expression and how the medium has been used by queer creators, both historically and currently. Examine formal aspects of the medium and how that form has been applied to content. Introduction to the history of queer comics and queer voices of today. Close reading and analysis of how the language of comics communicates story. Experiment with making comics as a way of deepening understanding of the material and for student expression.

CMX 604 Advanced Comics Making (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: LS 304/CMX 304.

Builds on the making and analytical skills covered in LS 304/CMX 304. Project-based course for developing skills in communicating through comic form, culminating in the production of a significant work ready for publication.
(This course is offered as LS 604, HUM 604, and CMX 604. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

CMX 625 Advanced Readings in Comics (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: Restricted to upper-division or graduate standing; CMX 325; or permission of the instructor.

Advanced study of comics from a theoretical standpoint. A wide range of comics theorists are explored and put in conversation with a diverse set of complex, long-form comics. Discussions that delve deeply and critically into the different comics works. Explorations of comics expressly conducted through visual methods, including comics and other image-text hybrids.
(This course is offered as CMX 625 and HUM 625. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

CMX 650 The Affordances of Creative Nonfiction Comics (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: CMX 304* and CMX 604*.

Intensive study of nonfiction comics exploring the different purposes of and approaches to their creation and applications. Types of nonfiction comics explored include: historical, scientific, educational, biographical, informational, explanatory, instructional, and advocacy. Close analysis of nonfiction comics done in parallel with intensive practice, in which short nonfiction comics are produced. Specific topics include exploring research methods for comics, navigating artist-researcher collaborations, comics compositional theory, and best practices for communicating scientific and educational ideas.

CMX 675 The Lab: Nonfiction Comics in Action (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: CMX 650*.

Production of publication-ready nonfiction comics in conjunction with partners from across campus. Training in all aspects of bringing comics to publication, including setting project aims, research gathering, proposal development, production schedule, and other technical aspects of comics creation. Culminates in publication and distribution of comics created for respective university partners.

CMX 697 Capstone: Solo Directed Creative Nonfiction Comics Project (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: CMX 650* and CMX 675*.

Capstone project showcasing mastery of subject matter and clear narrative. Development of a long-form, nonfiction comic from concept to publication-ready piece.