Between American Comics and Hollywood

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During the summer months, Dickinson College’s campus is largely uninhabited, save for a small collection of staff members, faculty, and students. So when folks who saw me at the college then asked me to explain why I chose to spend my vacation from the academic halls and the library—where I exhausted countless hours studying, writing papers, and snacking on Kashi granola bars and Chobani yogurt cups (I admit that I am among the few who survives without caffeine)—back in those spaces, you might imagine, reader, that I felt motivated to offer some spectacular response. To satisfy most inquiries, saying very plainly “I’m doing research on comic books” was an exciting enough phrase.

In the presence of interrogators who possessed stronger senses of doubt, though, I needed to elaborate in order to show them that research on comics is a real thing; “Greg Steirer, a professor in the English department who taught of few of the classes I have taken, is writing a book with Alisa Perren, a professor at University of Texas at Austin, about the relationships between Hollywood studios and American comic book companies,” I would start.…

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