There are a lot of academics entering into work with comic books but the goals associated with this endeavor seem divergent at best, and without a coalesced vision we are doomed to failure.
It has been the failure of the academic and intellectual community in many areas to bridge the gap between the "ivory tower" and the masses. Now I use the term "ivory tower" in a sarcastic fashion.
The anti-intellectual armies of the news media talking heads and the general media centers that pull down the intellectual elite as separatists, of there own society are only armed in part by the actions of the academic community.
It is my fear that the efforts to introduce the academic to the comic community may go down the same road. In trying to bring comic books and graphic novels into the academic world we cannot leave the comic community behind, or the alienation that it will cause will be create the same gap that exists between the general populace of the world and those who work in the realms of the hard and social sciences.
So what is the goal of the academic community that has taken up comic books. Is it to lift a few graphic novels from the larger body of work (almost all written by Alan Moore) and storm the gates of the tower lodge itself in the pantheon, and create an internal paradigm shift that allows for a study of a select number of texts. Or do we throw open the doors and ask the comic community to come in with the larger body of work.
Both goals are acceptable; but all great paradigm shifts, begin with a vision and one that rallies the troops. As argued in the, "The Structure of Scientific Revolution" by Thomas Kuhn paradigm shifts are like changing religions. We must determine what is the direction academics working with comic books studies wish to take.
Is it the paradigm of acceptable literature that we wish to change or is it the paradigm of how academic studies approach the general community.
In this case this vision may be of particular importance, comic books have a unique community and the attempt to seize it's studies for our own without the inclusion of the community may have unintended side effects.
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8 years ago