Please forgive me, oh University of Chicago students who walked across the podium to receive your diplomas last Saturday, for missing your big day. For as much as I wanted to celebrate your success with you, and as much as I would have live-streamed it all through the UChicago website, I was off.... well... meeting one of my favorite comic book authors. Of all time. (Cue Kanye meme.) And he was speaking in Chicago. For free. So sorry, UChicago grads, I totally ditched you
To be fair, Scott McCloud is equal parts comic book writer and literary theorist. He has my unyielding respect for making the theoretical accessible -- check out Understanding Comics for a deliciously head-spinning summer read-- and he gave me the patience and confidence to wade through a lot more theory.
There are comics and there are comics and there are comics. There are comics that we laugh at in the newspaper, the comics that get made into summer blockbusters, and there are comics that could not be expressed in any other form besides comics. UChicago is prepared for comics in all of its many forms, starting with Professor Hillary Chute, who has (in my opinion) the best research field on the planet and gets to read comics for work. Bestselling graphic novelist Alison Bechdel was here not so long ago to give a master class on comic book arts to students as well as a public lecture, and I had the honor of embarrassing myself to giggles at a wine and cheese reception after her talk. Thanks to the University's new Gray Center for the Arts and Inquiry, Professor Chute and Alison Bechdel will be performing a mashup in the form of a course on comics and autobiography.
(And in case reading comics isn't your idea of a fun class, we also offer classes on baseball and pirates.)
But wait, there's more! Within Hyde Park, students can get their picture fix at 57th Street Books or First Aid Comics And, for the city wanderers, we have Quimby's, which has anything and everything one could possibly want, but should you want more I can vouch for the awesomeness of Chicago Comics and Graham Crackers Comics.
Which is why convocation wasn't looking so hot after all....