Episode 33: How Gordon Became Commissioner and Something about Bats

My reading lists are some of the more interesting texts I can come across. Last week I decided to put my money where my cyber mouth is and I got most of the books that I didn’t already own or could easily. A lot of the books I got on loan from my major Professor during my MA and now I got my own to quote way too much. One of the books that is both awesome and amazing as a serial is Batman:Year One by Frank Miller. Originally published as issues #404-407 of the Batman continuity, it shows what happened from January to December once Bruce Wayne returned to Gotham after years abroad and his journey to become The Goddamn Batman. An important text for both eventual comps and a chapter I have to write about parenting in Batman for a book on Super Heroes and identity. Here are my notes for these aspects. In case you haven’t read it, they did an animated dvd version (very true to the original) which you can find segmented here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1DtlR2TjhA

The first thing you notice is that Bruce Wayne’s story is told parallel to that of James Gordon, at this moment a lieutenant that has just been reassigned to the Gotham City PD. Gordon’s struggles are more relatable and quickly take center stage over the conflicts of young man who actually can be a superhero but is trying to figure out how. The mustache alone makes him more cool than the almost bland looking Bruce Wayne. Gotham itself looks dark and dirty at just about everything that isn’t the Wayne Manor. The fight scenes are well made and both heroes are just amazing ass kickers to anyone who gets in their way. Selena even makes the shift from prostitute to Catwoman , thus showing a lot of backstory. no super villains show up, except for a hint about The Joker poisoning the water supply in the last page. The main conflict comes from gangsters and the very corrupt police force of the city.

Continuity wise, Year One is very interesting when compared to other DC and comic book heroes. Everyone had a reboot that basically stated that nothing that happened before mattered or even exists now within that world, making it a blank slate upon which this new story can be told. A few titles had already done this but everyone had to thanks to the events of Infinite Crisis, wherein all DC continuities had hit the reset button and now there is new stories for everyone. Batman’s story was pretty epic and accepted since the start so nothing drastic changed like making him part alien or something crazy like that. The one clear difference is that this isn’t campy gadget crazy Adam West from the early days, this is the dark “I hate everyone” Frank Miller Batman that focuses on scaring the crap out of villains before beating them to an inch of their lives. Just about everything except for Catwoman originally being a lady of the night, especially Holly, who becomes Catwoman later on, is a 13-year-old prostitute in these installments, is considered canon. The animated version is almost word for word, save for a few internal monologues, to the comic and is pretty cool so check the above link and go through all the parts.

So why is Year One important for issues of paternity? Well one of the big subplots is Gordon coming to grips with being a father. As he enters the city he wishes that “Barbara’s tests are negative” because this city isn’t right for a family. For me it was a weird moment of reading since Barbara is the name of Gordon’s daughter, who will become the first Batgirl and later Oracle, and I thought that it was her college admittance tests or something. I then realized that Barbara is actually his wife and the tests are of the pregnancy variety. Gordon then hopes that he will have a son, young James, who is born by the last issue. Again, strange because he has a daughter, now I am actually wondering what ever happened to the mother and child later on in the comic. Gordon is actually a good dad, you see him help out during one of many 2am feedings only to be called into duty. As a husband and human, well he has some issues but it is the fact that he has responsibilities as a father that the affair he has with Detective Sarah Essen that the relationship does not go too far. Bruce Wayne has his moments as well since he refers specifically to his dad and only his father when he laments that he is not strong enough. You never see him talk to his mom, and Alfred gets very few lines so you don’t see him as the paternal/maternal figure that helps Bruce survive and endure.

Speaking of orphans, get ready because my notes on Oliver Twist is around the corner. Shame he didn’t become an embodiment of vengeance, though a very raspy voice with a British accent saying “I’m Batman” would just be weird.

Episode 32: This Week Was Way Too Long

Time for another bio post of the days that have made this week intense. On Tuesday I had a meeting with 2/3 professors so of course that meant that there was something of an all nighter to get my paperwork ready and such. Anybody that knows my family dynamics has seen that when you have one thing on the schedule then you might as well do incredibly exhausting things in the one mile radius around your main activity. After little sleep, I decided to go out and work out before lunch. I went to the indoor pool on campus and did five laps, followed by five laps of jogging around the track to super work on cardio, also to make sure my trunks are dried out. Then I go and give blood, because my blood gives people super powers for like a minute (accelerated regenaration being the most useful). That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The free pizza after donating is only like 50% motivation for doing this. Once there, the lady nurse notices my super veiny arms and pushes for me to donate red blood cells via a special chair. The process involves taking blood out, putting it in a centerfuge, getting red blood cells out (you know the thing that makes blood, well blood), and putting that liquid with saline back into you. So with less blood and a stomach full of pizza, I go over to my professors and meet with them (one of which may actually be reading this blog so I’m trying to be more professional than usual). Meetings went well enough but the semi constant vertigo I usually get (which I’m kind of going through right now) was way worse and I just sat down at the gaming club on campus until things got better. Also, playing Tetris Attack under these circumstances is only a good idea if you are ridiculously good at it.

So that was Tuesday. Wednesday consisted of trying to write the actual Mega Man paper I would be presentingThe blood loss was apparently a larger hindrance than I anticipated since it took me forever to get it done and it was more mostly done than anything else at 1:30am before I called it quits. To make it more interesting, at this time I noticed that my hotel plans had gone down the tubes. Several frantic emails later, I went to sleep for what would definitely be an intense day.

Thursday started at the ungodly hour of 5am. I’m normally not a morning person but the sleep was good enough. A quick shower, suit up, and sandwich left me ready for the 6am bus on campus that would take me close enough to nother train station so I can take cheap commuter rail into Boston. By the way, here is my recipe for win on any situation: wake up before dawn, listen to “The Protomen’s Light Up the Night”, walk outside and witness how the darkness makes way for a hopeful dwan and the beginning to an awesome day. Upon arriving to Boston I asked what was the last possible train available back into my town, even if it was on expensive Amtrak. They told me 9:35pm, my presentation was at 8:15pm and it was just me and someone else. I could pull it off, run from Q&A at end of panel to train station a block or two away from conference hotel. Buddy of mine could pick me up from train station and hotel weirdness could be avoided entirely. The conference itself was pretty good. I saw some old friend from my MA studies and we were able to see each other once again after we all went to our respective PhD programs across the states. Only went to a few panels but all seemed interesting. George Takei was the keynote and his talk was ore an interview/biography that was really touching. At the line to get Takei’s signature in my Master’s thesis (I have officially dubbed it my book of academic autographs) I met this cute girl who is actually doing her MA in something like performing arts. It was pretty confusing (I blame the blood loss and lack of sleep) but apparently she instead of a thesis she is writing a play involving steampunk, which is her area of expertise. When we got to Takei, she got a hug and he said that (and I quote) “was certainly looking good”. Look, I rarely if ever get any compliments on my looks that aren’t condescending, based on pity, or whatever, so I’ll take it and smile (insert George Takei’s trademark “oh my” to indicate potential double entendre).

My own presentation went ok enough and I made it to the train. High school girls next to me ended up asking me basic English stuff, like what was a hyperbole and other poetic licenses. I think we spent like five minutes trying to remember a relatively difficult word her teacher always used but she didn’t really understand. The mystery word was “unattainable”. I got back well and slept 12 hours. Friday was mostly for recuperating. Will try and get back to semi daily posts about serials again soon. Let’s see people.

Episode 31: Mega Man Paper

My presentation for Boston pop Culture Conference. Too tired for details, will explain stuff later.

Once Upon a Time, in the Year 200X:

Exploring Fan Recreations of the Megaman Mythos in Music and Other Media

Twenty five years ago the Nintendo Entertainment System found itself with a new platformer whose frustrating level of difficulty was only surpassed by its fun gameplay and innovative player choices. Capcom unveiled one of its most iconic characters with the release of Mega Man in the US or Rock Man as it is known in the original Japanese. With ten installments of the original series and several titles ranging across multiple continuities and consoles, the Mega Man franchise has the record for most games out there. *Ludologically speaking, the games have a very consistent formula that gamers will immediately recognize. Choose the order in which you fight the evil Robot Masters and traverse their perilous stages. These worlds are themed appropriately for their end boss and contain a variety of enemies alongside perilous jumps overlooking instakill spikes and bottomless pits. Your main weapon is the reliable arm cannon or mega buster but the crux of the game involved acquiring the weapons of end bosses that leads to rock paper scissor style guesswork on behalf of the players to determine effectiveness for different situations.

*The classic series only added a few variations to the gameplay but the formula stayed mostly the same. The other consistent element of the games is the minimal storyline and the amazing music, both of which let fans fill in the gaps and rock out in their own way. This paper explores how these two aspects are reappropiated by fans in different media to reinterpret and add to the canon and mythos of the Mega Man series.

Let’s start with the overall basics of the story that have been set up by the games. In the not so distant future of the year 200X, Dr. Light created a series of robots with specific purposes to help mankind. *His greedy and ill intentioned assistant, Dr. Willy reprogrammed all but Rock to satisfy his nefarious deeds of apparent world domination. Rock would be then modified for battle and set out to stop Willy. After saving the world, Dr. Willy escapes prison builds eight more robot masters and the story is mostly the same from then out in each game. *The third game added three distinct characters to the fold. Roll, a sister to Megaman built at the same time and him, Rush the utility dog, and the actual first robot made by Light and Willy, Blues, aka Protoman.  * Serving as rival, brother, and enemy to Mega Man, Proto Man is mysterious and with no clear motivation or master. Straigh up playthroughs of the game do not reveal much else about any of the characters or the overall plot beyond what was previously mentioned. Going through the old instruction manuals that came with the game added some extra intricacies but these are mostly fluff details and the manuals are a rarity today. The games in Japan included a manga that explained the events leading up to the beginning of the first games but official translations in English are only now being released.

*A lot of the character interpretations are taken for the animated television show, known mostly as the Ruby-Spears cartoon. Interesting additions like having Dr. Willy be German while Cut man and Guts Man being the in universe Abbot and Costello are accepted by fandom but not taken as strictly canon. Perhaps the most important element to consider is that the title hero is more than just programmed to follow orders. Dr. Light designed Mega Man with the ability to choose on his own the best course of action. This leads to him being able to lie and to volunteer himself for modifications to become the super fighting robot we all know and love.

There are two forms of music reappropiation that fans have applied to Mega Man in a direct and indirect fashion. The direct manner takes the actual music from the game and remixing it. *The most literal of these examples can be found with New York’s maestro of video game music “brentalfloss” of YouTube fame and his “what if this song had lyrics?” series. The title sequences of the send and third games are some of his most popular work and there is even a joke version for the fourth game of him just saying “Mega Man” over the music. Stand out lyrics include “Where’s that guy I know with balls like a rhino.” and *“I am also known as the blue bomber, I am voting for Ba-Rockman Obama.” His rendition of the first level of Wily’s castle from MM2 includes an interesting compliment to the villain as he stops his message of vengeance to admit “although I like your mustache.”

*Videogame rappers Duane and Brando decided to put a medley of the entire soundtrack to MM2 with more gangsta interpretations of the characters. Of note is the very misogynistic tone that the Mega Man takes on Roll as he tells her to “get back into the kitchen” after delivering a pimp slap. *The rock band known as The Megas took the same concept and took it a step further by doing a full album of each of the songs done by their respective robot masters. These normally one dimensional villains are given complex back stories and personalities, including Freudian excuses for their evil nature, like Airman, and a possible homoerotic fascination that Flash Man exhibits for the hero. *The group also teamed up with a similar band called Entertainment System to do the songs for the first game with the glaring exclusions of fan favorites Guts Man and Cut Man. An album with the third game’s songs is in development and they have performed some of their songs in their live shows.

*The best example of indirect musical recreation is with The Protomen, a band that has made rock opera based on the world of Mega Man where a tyrannical Wily rules over a dystopian future. Very dark in them and tone, the hero is deconstructed, the creator is made to grieve, and the people are left to die and suffer, over a reverberating chorus that states “we are the dead.” Tragic characters and the search for something beyond our original intended or even manufactured intention are but some of the serious themes that can be found throughout their first album and *the second one depicting how Dr. Light was ruined and Wily came to power. The opera style is even more apparent once you realize that key parts of the story are told not through the lyrics but through stage directions that are available only in the CDs lyric booklet.

Out of all these reinterpretations, there are some common elements that are found in each of these artists. Here are some of the most interesting examples.

*1. Bubble Man gets no respect: Be it through having his power come through flatulence after eating Mexican food in brentalfloss’s rendition or having all of one line before dyeing in the Duane and Brando version, Bubbleman is the butt of many a joke. The Megas have him being self loathing, depressed, and attempting to reach some kind of redemption.

*2. Dr. Light is good natured but ultimately powerless: As creator and father to Mega Man and many of the other robots, the religious imagery is clear. The sense of ownership is placed into conflict with wanting his cyber progeny to be free and choose for themselves. The Megas, describe it perfectly with the chorus to “The Message from Dr. Light” that says “I made you in my image, I built your heart, I gave you eyes, I gave you power, a sense of justice beyond any compare, I gave you hands, a child’s face, I gave you hair, but the burning in your heart I did not put that.” The Protomen take it a step further by having the life of Thomas Light be akin to a Greek tragedy. The death of his father at a young age cemented the truth that no child should have to bury a parent before he is old enough to hold a shovel motivated to try and achieve control of his surroundings through robotics. He would feel even more responsible for the death of his beloved Emily Stanton and later on for Joe, the young man who would be considered the last hero among men, ad both would be merely pawns for Albert Wily to have even more power. His desire to liberate humanity from the dystopia he had a hand in making led to the creation of Proto Man as war machine first and son second. After being destroyed in the first battle, Light chose to give up on humanity and make a new son, only to see him take arms for a people that don’t deserve salvation.

*3. Acknowledging the original games: Brief references can be found in many songs that only diehard gamers recognize. Brentalfloss for example states that “when it comes to robot help, dogs are much preferred cause I can’t do shit with a robot bird” to show how much more awesome and useful Rush is when compared to the bird you get in the fourth game. The Megas have Metal Man saying “take the first shot Mega Man, let’s put it to the test” as an homage to a glitch in the game that makes this particular boss not attack you until you fire. The last song of the Act 1 of The Protomen title “Epilogue: Bue Vendetta” has them just saying the names of characters, something which makes no sense until you realize that it is an homage to the ending of the games where each of the characters would be highlighted during the credits.

 4. Mega Man has identity issues: Much like Pinocchio, Astro Boy, and other child like automatons. Mega Man is in conflict between his programming and a desire to find his own path. The Dr. Light of The Megas has him be encouraging towards this sense of freedom, while The Protomen have outright orders not to go and save the world and/or achieve vengeance. Having him voluntarily want to go and fight raises the question as to whether violence is inherent in all of Light’s robots and something that can be easily brought out. The youthful rebellion and acceptance of the world as is best represented by the chorus to “The Will of One”: “Do not say, this is how it has to be. You do no better than the fools of this burning city”. The next song “Vengeance” has Mega Man go crazy with bloodlust as he destroys wave after wave of machines until he finds his reconstructed brother now serving as Wily’s general. The emotional and physical distress from the battle ends with the latter’s death but Mega Man leaving behind the crowd/chorus of people to be slaughtered by the second wave of murderous machines now led by Wily. The Megas have a similar emotional confusion with the song “Lamentations of a War Machine” that has the Mega Man questioning the long line of battles by asking “tell me Dr. Light, why did I fight?”

Episode 30: A Serial per Medium

Over a month with this blog and I have reached thirty posts. I lke to think this shows some sort of discipline or better writing but I figure I should wait until reaching 100 posts before I can start singing some praises for myself. As part of convincing  my professorial committee that my research makes sense, I need to give them my reading lists with how they connect to my overall theme and why each item is worth looking at. Yesterday’s post basically did that with my list of critical theories. Today, it’s tme to do that with my primary list of literary expertise, contemporary serials accross each medium.

Webcomics: My specialty and what makes me awesome amongst the aspiring academic community for doing research in something people never thought possible or practical. Obviously going to talk way too much about Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew. With 858 comics online (as of today and more being updated) divided over 4 books, two print only prequels, another book of extras, and a bunch of extras coming my way thanks to the kickstarter over almost a decade it’s just plain awesome. Out of the 30 or so books, OOTS covers almost a quarter of my official entries and trust me it’s worth talking about. I dedicated pretty much a whole chapter to it in my MA thesis and there is still a lot to discuss, or so I keeo trying to convince my academic superiors.

Movies: There are a lot of movies out there that have sequels prequels and rehashings that can ork themselves into my work. but if I want to stay true to my nerd cred then there is only one series of movies that deserves my particular form of serial analysis. And that has to be Star Wars and all six movies. Fun fact, it wasn’t until a few years after the first Star Wars movie came out in theaters that it was officially dubbed to be Episode 4 (oh how I love retcons). The plans of a third trilogy depicting the lives of Admiral Solo, Jedi Master Skywalker, the Solo children in their teens, the new Jedi Academy, and the evil Yuzghan Vong are still a pipe dream for many fans like myself, even as Lucas has said that it will never happen. Still both trilogies  show some very interesting aspects of how serials work, espcially since the movies draw a lot from old comics like Flash Gordon. Really want to avoid the Expanded Universe just for sheer length of material.

Comic Books: Unless it’s specifically stated as a one shot: every comic in existence can qualify. Trying to do only a few of these to avoid suspicion. Since I’m writing on it for another project, I figure I’ll go with the classic and talk about Batman. There are way too many installments in some pretty different alternate realities and reimaginings. Best bet is to go with something fairly well developed that does some craziness with continuities. Batman Year One rebbots the story, provides a flashback and redefines characters in ways that stay iconic from there on out. The movies and tv show are to be avoided for obvious reasons, must resist urge to make fun of shark repellant. Cartoon show and videogame are still fair game due to overall awesomeness. In addition, I’m including Watchmen by Alan Moore, which was a 12 series comic originally and now sold as compendum/graphic novel.

Graphic Novels: No they are not the same thing as comics, maybe I’ll explain it later. I need to include Maus because it won a Pulitzer and those made graphic novels serious and accepted amongst “serious” readers. Maus has a sequel but it often gets bundled up as The Complete Maus which puts some interesting aspects as to how serials should be made/published. Also adding in some of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, which is huge so I need to be selective.

Web stuff: Did you know that Steven king wrote a novel little by little online about ten years ago. Suppossedly it’s not technically finished yet. Still trying to figure a final official tally on these. There are also a lot of small shows online, like Felicia Day’s The Guild. Still trying to sneak in Joss Whedon’sDr. Horrible’s Sing-along-Blogbecause it was in three parts and the sequel is soon to come out, we all hope.

TV: If I wanted to go for longevity then i had to go with one of those weird daytime soap peras that have been on for decades. Wresting would also be interesting to look at. One show I love but probably won’t make the final cut is How I Met Your Mother, continuity through flashbacks, flashforwards, and overall narration issues makes it a cool show on just another legendary level. The one which I am definitely pushing for is 24 because the real time aspect makes it so that pacing and content have a level of immediacy and verisimilitude. That and I think the second half of the show wasn’t even written while the first episodes started airing. All eight seasons would be interesting to explore but maybe the first one is the only one worth studying completely.

Books: Need to hit the traditional medium in the most fantastic way possible. The best book serial that has basically defined a generation of readers is definitely the Harry Potter series. People came together and discussed the books like crazy, waiting for the new ones to come out with fervor and patience. Now I’m sad to admit that I’ve only seen the first four movies and haven’t read the books so this will be a treat. Probably sneaking examples of Terry Pratchett in there as well because anything DiscWorld is worth gushing over in academic formats.

Episode 29: Theoretical Analysis, in Theory

At about the time during college when you pass the basics and start studying the super specifics, you realize that it’s not just ehat you study but how you analyze. There are a myriad of critical theories and about a dozen super critics and philosophers for each one. Just about every field and area has their own  particular forsm of analysis and English likes to take from just about everything. From the end of your BA through the entirety of your PhD, if you go that far, you will end up taking several classes that provide a sample of just about every critical theory around with the purpose of familiarizing and getting you interested into further research. Much like my tactics at an all you can eat buffet, I try to get a bite our of everything available and end up overstuffed after getting more than those around me. If you have had the opportunity to see me engorge myself or try and explain my research interests, you have witnessed my attempts at making a smorgasboard be logical and digestable. I’m the first to admit that sanity is a bit of a hindrance to understanding the method to my madness, especially in writing. A third of my reading lists consist of critical theories and whatnot. Let me see if I can explain it here in a way that at least tries to make sense.

Because I’m the comics person, the first theory worth talking about and the one I most often have to defend is Comics Studies. FYI, yes, that’s the proper term. Now comic books as we know them started in the early 20th Century. Comics have been taking a lot of slack accross the years as to whether or not they are considered “art” and if they are worthy of academic study.Two guys, who both started as cartoonists, are the ones that spearheaded the movement to make comics more than just superheroes and joke books. Will Eisner, who created The Spirit (they made a movie a few years ago, avoid it) wrote Sequential Art, which took a real serious look as to how drawing style and writing can make for a completely reading experience than anything else, in a good way. Scott McCloud, creator ofZot! (actually pretty good but not nearly as famous as the thing I’m studying) wroteUnderstanding Comics which really breaks down every aspect possible of comics and just makes you feel really smart about the whole thing. Definitely a must read for pretty much everyone, and if you ever even think about writing about comics, prepare to quote both of these guys like crazy.

Other theories I use:

Narratology: Started by Tzvetan Todorov, part of Structuralism. I use Todorov and Gerald Prince, heavy hitters in the field to basically explain the importance of maintaining narrative continuity. My love of tvtropes.org gets placed here and I call it “postcontemporary narratology”. Haven’t been called out on it yet but man is that site awesome.

Textual Criticism: Mostly gets used to explain distinctions between the editions of a particular text. Textual purity vs authorial intent is a big deal here. I adapt both camps into serial fiction through some pretty crazy combos. Basically, while in serial format, it’s the intended text when finally compiled and in print then it’s authoritative, both end up with different but equally important reading experiences but only one of them has a time lmit to really get. George Thomas Tanselle, Peter Sillingsburg, and John Bryant definitely some of my favorite authors in the area.

Media Specific Analysis: AKA Media Studies, often gets subdivided into each own medium, like film studies, tv studies, etc. The contrast between digital and analog/traditional print and what one can do over another is a big deal. N. Katherine Hayles definitely one of the big names that everyone quotes and for good reason. Another good read is Hamlet in the Holodeck by I forget whom but man that one really pushes the envelope on interative texts. If I want to study serial fiction in all forms then media specific analysis has to be applied for just about everything.

Reader Reception Theory: Honestly need to find some more specific people on this one. Stanley Fish talks about reading communiteis that help construct the meaning of a text. Since serials have that moment in between installments, reader reception can actually affect narrative production, or even if new installments will be made/published. This field is still pretty new but definitely worth adding to my crazy alchemical concoction.

Episode 28:The Sidekick Revolving Door

Pretty tired for some reason and need to wake up early so only a short post today. Kind of like that previous post about the Death of Superman, this video shows the life and times of all the Robins that have worked with/been adopted by Batman. Quality isn’t that good and script is just weird but still pretty good if you want to know more about the story without reading 20 years of comics.

Episode 27: Dissertate This and Potential Job Prospects

One week from today i am meeting with my major professor and providing all the ancillary information that corresponds to my reading lists. A lot of it involves putting in writing things I’ve mentioned in meetins and discussed with a handful of people. While it may seem that this process is an exercise in making the obvious official, I’m still a bit worried. Professors know that I know webcomics more than anybody in a local academic setting, but that doesn’t equal automatic passing of comprehensive exams and much less of a dissertation. Of the informaton I need to provide is what potential dissertation topics can come from my reading lists and what kind of job can I get/ could apply once graduating with these academic specialties. Time to place a draft of said potentials here in this draft so consider yourselves lucky for the sneak peek.

Disseration wise, I’ve been saying for a while that I want to make a grand arching history of serial fiction with an emphasis on how the method/medium of publication affects narrative production and reader reception. That is pretty much the sound byte of my academic career at this moment. When I imagine writing this I assume it would way over 200 pages, which I’m pretty sure is more than the minimum required for a dissertation. The crazy complicated nature of it is right up my alley but I’m pretty sure my professors might be worried by this forecast of just how weird it can be. Dividing chapters by medium or group of years seems like the most logical form to write it up but apprehensive if professors want me to have a specific focus or paradigm like Marxist or Imperialist. I do a lot of crazy combinations already, adding more critical theories than what I have will just make turn to a completely different direction and I honestly don’t think it will make a dissertation better or clearer.

The other big conundrum is what kind of job can I get with a dissertation that will probably include a big focus on webcomics alongside more classical forms of serial fiction. The old answer of “English Professor” will probably evoke a chuckle or a dismissive grunt from anyone who knows how the job market in academia is like. No university that I know is looking for a “webcomics guy” and if they were I’m pretty sure that mutual begging would be taking place. There actually are a handful of places that give degrees, even a few PhDs, in Comics Studies though said programs are designed to be practical. Hopefull they need somebody to teach literary criticism or something and I can help. My borderline combination of literature and tech makes me a decent prospect for any position dealing with digital humanities. Media Studies is also a logical choice and they are growing in various universities, though really hope I don’t become The film professor. I’ll have enough research and writing to teach Victorian Lit if need be but I’d be anything but classical. No matter what, I’m pretty sure I’ll end up being kooky pop culture professor no matter where I end up, and probably teach a Spanish class on the side. Unless I end up back home teaching in Puerto Rico, no need to tell people on the Island to use a fake Sean Conery accent to better pronounce Spanish.