Pick a Comic Book Class Curriculum

If you were to teach a course on comics, how they function, and how to make them, what collections would you have your students read, and in what order? Try and pick at least six. Here’s my syllabus:

  1. Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

  2. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

  3. DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke

  4. Empowered Deluxe Edition Book Two by Adam Warren

  5. Y: The Last Man Books One through Five by Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra

  6. American Flagg! Definitive Edition by Howard Chaykin

  7. Strangers in Paradise Omnibus by Terry Moore

  8. Jack Kirby’s The Fourth World Omnibus

And what more really is there? (JK there’s a TON of comics I’d love to put on this list but can’t because it would be too long and crowded with comics of a similar genre or style)


Oh! And somewhere in there would be Daredevil: Born Again. Maybe in between 2 and 3?

  1. Understanding Comics by Scott McClous

  2. Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner

  3. Supergods by Grant Morrison

  4. Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work & What They Mean by Douglas

  5. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman

  6. Blankets by Craig Thompson

  7. All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison

  8. The FF by Kirby and Lee

  9. Batman by O’ Neil and Adams

  10. Saga by Vaughan and Staples


Good choices! I wanted badly to put All-Star Superman on there, but I don’t want to assume the students already have a pre-existing knowledge of these characters. All-Star is a little too embedded in the DCU to be able to hand it to a new reader. I also wanted to put Pax Americana on the list, but it’s kind of the same problem there.


I would use

Watchmen: Kick it off with arguably the greatest comic of all time.
The darkness is society and authority

Mister Miracle
A recent hit, but perfect thematic tie to Watchmen.

All-Star Superman
Introducing some lightness but still focused on cost.

Amazing Spider-Man (Silver Age)

Killing Joke
Reintroduction of darkness

Doom Patrol: Morrison
Dense and different

Finale: Sandman
The weird and wild.


@Batwing52, that is true of All-Star, good thing I didn’t include Final Crisis. Can you imagine the blown heads?



So class, how did we do with last night’s reading?


Uh, teacher?


What the heck is a “Darkseid”?



I’d say that required reading needs to include or be a prequest:

Hero of a thousand faces - Joseph Campbell

The Sophocles Edipous trilogy

The three musketeers by Dumas

Man and Superman by GB Shaw.

That gives a base from which to build on.


The first three issues of Superman in Action Comics (to contrast with more complex character development in modern stories).

Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s first Spider-Man story for comparision and the silver age hero design.

Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns

Jack Kirby’s Fourth World

Wolfman & Perez’s the Judas Contract

Mike Grell’s first 6 issues of Jon Sable, Freelance (sorry, but issues 3-6 are the best origin story I have ever read).

John Byrne’s Superman Man of Steel which re-invented Superman and turned him into something more interesting.

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Select From

by John Shelton Lawrence
and Robert Jewett

Superman 1 Siegal Shuster
Batman 1 Finget Kane Robinson

1961 Flash 123 Flash of Two Worlds
Original Flash Jay Garrick, Earth 2 parallel world introduced. Schwartz Fox Infantino.

1961 Amazing Spider Man Stan Lee Steve Ditko


1973 Night of the Stalker from Detective Comics #439,

1984 Swamp Thing Anatomy Lesson Alan Moore


1986 Comic Book Dark Knight Returns Frank Miller

1986 Comic Book Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons…

1993 Death High Cost of Living Trade includes Sound of Her Winds Neil Gaiman

1996 Supergirl 75 to 80 Linda Danvers Supergirl meets Silver Age Kara el Supergirl

2000 Planetary

NEW 52

Aqiaman Volime 1

Shazam Justice League Backup


Wonder Woman Year One

Is this a comics history class or a comics making class?

Both, or one or the other. I’d say I did mine as more of a comics making class, if that helps.

If i am a new reader i read the post crisis stuff to be honset