Robot 6

That’s Professor Bendis to you, pal

Brian Michael Bendis

Brian Michael Bendis

Charles Xavier now has some competition in the “famous bald educators from Marvel Comics” department. As previously mentioned on on his Twitter feed, Brian Michael Bendis will be teaching a class at Portland State University, and now he’s revealed the details.

On his message board, the Siege writer describes the course, “WR 399: The Graphic Novel,” as “a class that I wish I had when I was in college.” What looks like the official course-catalog description reads as follows:

The graphic novel features the unique marriage of words and pictures that has seeped into every facet of popular culture. This course will focus on all the storytelling elements that create the written word of this unique visual medium. Students will study the form and its influences, discover and create original works for both print and digital platforms, and be put through a classroom version of the editorial process. Throughout the term, there will also be a smattering of comic book professional guest lecturers.

The syllabus includes Robert McKee’s Story, Stephen King’s On Writing, Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, and Will Eisner’s Comics & Sequential Art and Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative.

Bendis says he was inspired to take on the teaching gig by Dark Horse editor Diana Schutz, who featured him as a guest lecturer in her own PSU classes, as well as by the countless other comics professionals who’ve had parallel careers as educators. And to answer two questions Bendis’s many fans are no doubt asking: No, he won’t be posting his lectures online, and no, he’s not quitting any comics projects to make room for his two two-hour class sessions per week. (“I’ll be doing this instead of reading Empire magazine and playing Rock Band iphone app when I should be working,” he explains.)

Click the link for more details and background on the class.



The Ugly American

November 9, 2009 at 2:09 pm

More like Professor X.


Oh, great. Now he’s going to teach a whole roomful of people how to write a simple story in 23 issues.

The fact that he’s using McKee’s story says SO MUCH about how he writes.

For those who don’t know, Story is basically a textbook on movie screenplay theory. McKee popularized the “three-act” structure that almost every major release utilizes today. It’s also been criticized for oversimplifying dramatic situations and turning everything into a formula.

On the other hand, I’m not the most popular comic book writer in the industry, so what do I know?

*Sorry, that should be “McKee’s Story.”

I see, from a Google search, that “WR 399″ is used by PSU, Oregon State, and other colleges/universities to denote special classes, special topics, independent study, etc. — in other words, classes taught by people not on the college faculty.


Leave a Comment


Browse the Robot 6 Archives