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The Daily Lineup

(A day to day calendar of key assignments to keep you up to date as the semester progresses.)


It's the first day of class and you tune into your zoom channel to see how our experiment--focused on History, Comics, and the Virus Eye/I--will unfold.

In preparation for the class, I want you to read a couple of comics--especially those of you who never read the beasts! First up? Read Dan DeCarlo's  "It's a Beauty" from Archie Comics' Betty and Veronica, 1970; read Bernie Krigstein's epic "Master Race" from 1955.

Also read this New Yorker  feature on Krigstein as well. When you read the stories the first time, read them fast and superficially. The second time, take more time: study the images, the style, the continuity (or a lack thereof). Also, take notes so that we can have a lively discussion.

Having survived the first day of class on Tuesday, you turn on your work station, laptop, or, not preferable, your smartphone for the 2nd installment of the Virus Eye/I.

Today, before we start, meaning complete your reading by 10:59am today, read the first 97 pages of Oscar Zarate and Richard Appignanesi's FREUD FOR BEGINNERS. Read to this page:

Note the order in which I have positioned the illustrator/author--Zarate first; Appignannesi after. 

Oscar Zarate, a Uruguayan ex-pat who made  career in London, is a wonder of the drawing board; he drew / collaged /  curated all the images you see in this striking summary of Freud's work written by author, Richard Appignanesi. 

As you read for today's Zoom session, look for places where you think there might be a disagreement between Freud and Zarate--where the illustrations are in conflict or in conversation with the writing. All too often we think of illustration as a complement to the writing--but what if it is the other way around with this book?

Overachievers who want to actually read Freud's work can sample this case study of an obsessive compulsive teen girl--her real name is Ida Breuer, but she is famous under the name Dora! This is not required reading, but tasting just a small bit of this 19nth century detective mystery, will give you a better feel for Zarate and Appignanesi's process in creating FREUD FOR BEGINNERS.

It is the second week of class--and what a whirlwind that first one was.  If you missed the lectures last week as you joined the class late, they are streaming for you here, first day, and here, last Thursday.

For today's class, which will take place on ZOOM, in real time (link here) ... Enter the "Chamber of Zoom" having finished reading Appignanesi and Zarate's FREUD FOR BEGINNERS--for class discussion, be prepared to be called on to talk about a direct connection between a specific page in FREUD FOR BEGINNERS and a SPECIFIC PANEL from either the Archie Comics Betty and Veronica  short story by Dan DeCarlo about the dueling bikinis or Krigstein's "Master Race" mini-epic.  Also, come to class with specific questions about the reading. 

What was it like to be Freud's patient back in the day--click on the picture of his 'studio' where he treated his patients (it gets way bigger!).

It's a beautiful morning--hop on your work station of choice (laptop, desktop, smartphone etc) and join me and your TAs and classmates at 11am sharp (or log in after 10:50am for some pre-class, Zoom-based chit chat). But what have you done before you log on the night before?  Read the first 112 pages of John Berger, et al's WAYS OF SEEING.

I can hear it all ready from the cheap seats... "That's too much reading, Professor."

Relax! A couple of the chapters are pure pictures and the pages turn at a fast clip as Berger and his gang of merry men and women, cultural studies warriors all, treat you to a dissection of the history of the development of art as an institution.

As you read, think about the confusing title of this class--the VIRUS EYE, or wait, is it the VIRUS I? How about the Virus ? Use Berger's chapters as a kind of key to figure out the various meanings built into the title of this class. After all, what is WAYS OF SEEING doing on a comics class reading list?

Here's a groovy comic map of WAYS OF SEEING by AustinKleon  (@austinkleon)


No ZOOM class today--take the extra time to finish reading WAYS OF SEEING and to screen the episode, dropped in below, of the series in preparation for our Thursday, September 10 class.

The episode, Ways of Seeing #2, was originally broadcast
on January 15, 1972 on the UK's BBC--that's almost 50 years old, so, of course, to your eyes, Berger's tele-documentary may seem dated--the video quality and editing style anachronistic if not medieval.  But try to get past all that and think about the writing, filming, and editing that went into this singular production. Also, turn on the closed-captioned subtitles as, for the uninitiated, British English can be as puzzling as ancient Greek.

It is Thursday morning at 11am and you scramble out of bed and onto Zoom in heady anticipation of today's discussion on John Berger's WAYS OF SEEING. Our discussion will be kind of schizophrenic in that we will be discussing both the televisual documentary WAYS OF SEEING and the book WAYS OF SEEING.

Also today, at some point, we will have our first in-class writing assignment


Boom!  We are zooming along this semester.  Today we log into our virtual classroom via Zoom and we will have read to page 99 in David Mairowitz's and Robert Crumb's KAFKA (check out the auction price for the original page above here.)

I also want you to do a little bit of reading of Kafka, in translation, so you can juxtapose the work of the brilliant European neurotic with that of his interpreters, David Mairowitz, a gifted critic and writer, and Robert Crumb, a titan of the American underground comic movement of the 1960s. In addition to the Mairowitz / Crumb graphic biography, read this short story, "The Judgment" by Kafka as well as this background piece on the short story from Yale University's Modernism Lab.

Class Zoom Link, 11am

Good Morning inmates of the Virus Eye--you Zoom into class totally freaked out. Why? Because you have just finished reading KAFKA, written by David Mairowitz and illustrated by the enfant terrible of the American underground comic book scene, Robert Crumb.

While last class we concerned ourselves more with Kafka the writer, today we are more focused on Mairowitz and Crumb.  Find out a little bit about Crumb and his work in the interview above, and then read his short story below. In class, we will conclude our ruminations on Kafka but also take up a discussion of why Crumb and Kafka are a match made in Heaven.


A surrealist visionary, Rene Magritte helped redefine the contours of painting in the 20th century. Now as we move from Mairowitz's words and Crumb's images into Magritte's lines and colors we seem to be jumping into an alternative universe--but we are not! All three teach us to look at covers as well as books, frames as well as paintings. 

Here, too, your work with John Berger's WAYS OF SEEING earlier in the semester has prepared you well as you walk into our televisual Zoom virtual classroom having consumed all or at least MOST of Marcel Paquet's book-length study of Magritte's work (read at least to page 67).

Be sure to have 2 or 3 specific paintings (yes you can memorize their titles) that you want to talk about in class.  You may want to "re
ad" the Magritte collection twice: once, forward, to get through the book, but then a second time, backward, carefully 'reading' the pictures using the tools that the class has given you to see deeper into their perplexing bizarre-ness!

Finish reading Paquet's study of Rene Magritte. As you do, keep in mind the thematic focus of our shared project: the Virus Eye/I. How does Magritte's work enhance our understanding of the multiple meanings contained in the title.

Or, to put it another way, can Magritte's life project be thought of as a semiotic virus, as an influenza (or influence) of sorts. And, if it is, what is it sharing -- what part of your vision, imagination, etc does Magritte's infect? Or inflect? Or disturb? Is Magritte's work wholly focused on the eye? Or is it the "I." or both!?

Easier to read; more pictures; more better!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Read Marshall McLuhan's THE MEDIUM IS THE MASSAGE: AN INVENTORY OF EFFECTS.  I would tell you what page to read up to, but this book, an anti-book of sorts, has few page numbers--technically I am asking you to read to page 119 (but consult the image below to see up to what page to read). 

For years, Marshall McLuhan was Director of the University of Toronto's Center for Culture and Technology--in a sense he is the intellectual founding father for contemporary studies in communications, mass media study, and art/literary criticism. As you read, consider the complications that McLuhan introduces for individuals, YOU, tasked with making sense of those bizarre beasts called comics.

Be sure to note a moment or two from the text that you view to be curious, provocative, useful, compelling, or confusing so that we can talk about it in our online zoom-based game of televisual tic-tac-toe.

Read from the beginning of the book to this page:

Thursday, October 1, 2020


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Read to the end of page 62 in Dan Clowes's masterwork GHOST WORLD.

In a sense, we are finally ready to read a graphic novel--our sensitivity to the human subterranean by Freud and Kafka, to the magic duplicity of images by Berger and Company, sensitized to the ciphered and hypnotic mesmerizing (and masked) logic of  media (thanks McLuhan) we are ready now to plunge into the multiple levels of "fun" that is GHOST WORLD.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Finish Clowes's GHOST WORLD.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Thursday, October 29, 2020


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Election Day! No Class! Go Vote!

No Class! Go Vote!

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Tuesday November 24, 2020

Thanksgiving Week--
No Class!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving Week--
No Class!

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Thursday, December 10, 2020