Getting serious about comedy

Anyone who uses comic texts in teaching will eventually encounter a naysayer–a colleague, a student, an administrator, or even a parent–who will stand stiffly, assume a sour expression, and ask something like, “Why can’t you teach something more serious?”

But anyone who uses comic texts in teaching knows the value of taking comedy seriously: mining comic texts for what they tell us about cultures and values, or using comic texts to make difficult concepts accessible to students or give students exercise in critical thinking.

This is a space for anyone who wants to take comic texts seriously. I’m seeking essay proposals for an MLA Options for Teaching volume on Teaching Comic Texts, so if you’re interested, please view the Call for Proposals. If you have questions or comments on the project, reply to this post publicly or send me an e-mail message ( If you’d like to submit lesson plans, course materials, or specific assignments, send them to me as an e-mail attachment and I’ll post them to the Resources page. As proposals come in, I’ll be posting them on another page and inviting comment.

Comedy does not arise in a vacuum, and neither does good teaching. Working together, we can create a community of scholars interested in expanding and improving the use of comic texts in teaching. Welcome to the community! Now let’s get serious about comedy.