Some have said that superheroes are for children. Others say that superheroes are entertainment that cannot be taken too seriously. But now, that is changing.
With the huge popularity that the superhero genre has today, many academic institutions are starting to adopt these characters as an object of study in their courses. After all, superhero stories are a mix of art, literature, and science from which more than just entertainment can be obtained.
Since 2015, the Smithsonian Institution has offered an online course on superheroes through EdX, a learning platform founded by MIT and Harvard. The course is titled “The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture” and covers the entire history of the superhero genre from its origins in 1938 to the present day.
Two of its teachers are Stan Lee, the well-known artist of Marvel Comics, and Michael Uslan, producer of the Batman films since 1989. Although Lee died in November 2018, his signature is still on the certificate issued at the end of the course.
Meanwhile, among its available disciplines, the University of Oregon has one called “Comic Studies.” It focuses on the technical aspects of comics, such as the drawings and storytelling. On the other hand, the University of Minnesota has a course on “the physics of superheroes”—that is, the scientific facts that writers used to explain the powers of the characters.
It is true that we could doubt how good these courses are in preparing a student to get a job compared to other careers. But after studying these disciplines, you could call yourself a “superhero scholar,” which sounds pretty awesome.