Sunday, December 16, 2007

What do Cincinnati Schools, Mainstream Press & Cartooning Have in Common?

There's an AP article about an art class at the University of Cincinnati making the rounds in newspapers & TV outlets. I always find it interesting to read how various outlets of the mainstream press present their reports on various aspects of the comics/cartooning community. They tend to believe their readers/viewers do not accept the art form a "legitimate" one.

For instance, up in Toledo (at the local CBS affiliate, WTOL), they present the report in this way: "CINCINNATI (AP) - For a long time, comic books and comic strips weren't considered college material. But now, things are changing. " And it goes on from there. Whereas in Friday's USA Today and Sunday's Canton (Ohio) Rep, Associate Press writer Lisa Cornwell gives that same conceit a more personal, softer approach, "As a fine arts graduate student in the early 1980s, Carol Tyler felt she had to hide her interest in cartoon drawing from teachers. An art form associated with comic books and comic strips wasn't considered college material."

Ms. Cornwell continues with a broader scope of comics in the classroom:

Now a professional cartoonist and graphic novelist, Tyler began teaching the University of Cincinnati's first comics art class last year.

Other colleges also have started such classes as critical and academic respect for comics has grown. Courses that began in 2005 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks are starting to draw professional artists and public schoolteachers. Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y., will start its first course this spring.

Applications have increased by at least 50% at The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vt., which was founded two years ago and won state approval this year for a master in fine arts degree.
It's nice that the article quickly details all the various opportunities students now have to learn the specifics of this wonderful art form.

The "Once upon a time, comics were only for outcasts... but now, things are different" shtick used to irritate me but I've grown so accustomed to most mainstream reporters hiding behind that conceit, it's kind of blended into the background. I imagine (or, at least hope) that the media will let go of that security blanket in a decade or so.

Anyway, it's nice that I'm provided with another opportunity to give the thumbs up to Carol Tyler. In doing a little background web surfing search for this post, I found that she's the faculty advisor to an interesting student organization down there at UC.

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