Set Reminder Save for later

The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture

Join the Smithsonian, and comic book industry legend, the late Stan Lee, in this self-paced course to explore the history of the comic book and the rise of superheroes.

The ancient gods of Egyptian, Greek and Roman myths still exist, but today, they have superpowers, human foibles and secret identities. They come from comic books and graphic novels, and have taken over pop culture on the stage, screen, video games, and animation.

From Superman® and Spider-Man®, to The Avengers® and The Hulk® and beyond, who are these heroes? And, how have they evolved from folklore and myth, across all cultures and religions?

Learn from Smithsonian and industry experts including:

  • The late Stan Lee, who was one of the creators of the modern superhero template. His early comics featuring Spider-Man, Iron Man®, The Hulk, Thor®, and The Avengers led Marvel to success. He continues to reinvent himself to create modern global superheroes and appear in cameos in superhero films and TV, such as Avengers: Age of Ultron.
  • Michael Uslan, executive producer of top grossing, award winning movies, including The Dark Knight series, Lego® Movie, the animated Batman films and Batman® VS Superman.

In this self-paced course, we explore the following questions:

  • Why did superheroes first arise in 1938 and experience what we refer to as their “Golden Age” during World War II?
  • Why did the superhero genre ebb and flow in popularity over the decades?
  • How have comic books, published weekly since the mid-1930’s, mirrored a changing American society, reflecting our mores, slang, fads, biases and prejudices?
  • Why was the comic book industry nearly shut down in the McCarthy Era of the 1950’s?
  • How did our superheroes become super-villains in the eyes of the government, clergy, educators, and parents of the mid-20th Century?
  • When and how did comic books become acceptable again, and eventually become valid teaching tools in universities and schools?
  • When and how did comic book artwork become accepted as a true American art form as indigenous to this country as jazz?
  • Finally, when and how did comic books become “cool” and the basis for blockbuster movies, hit TV series, top-selling video games, and acclaimed animation, while also impacting fashion and style- and even the moral and ethical codes of children- around the globe?

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is excited to offer the opportunity to go into the collection and see why superheroes are a dominant cultural force in today’s world.

As you learn about how cultural myths, world events, and personal experiences shaped the first superheroes, you will apply these frameworks to create your own superhero– or you can choose to do a deeper analysis on existing comic book heroes. This original project is required for certification and anything created by you as part of this self-paced course is the intellectual property of you and you alone.

At last, fans, students and seekers of knowledge have the opportunity to enroll in the ultimate comic book course.

Get Details and Enroll Now

OpenCourser is an affiliate partner of edX.

Get a Reminder

Not ready to enroll yet? We'll send you an email reminder for this course

Send to:

edX

&

The Smithsonian Institution

Rating 4.3 based on 13 ratings
Length 6 weeks
Effort 1 - 2 hours per week
Starts May 6 (3 weeks ago)
Cost $50
From The Smithsonian Institution, SmithsonianX via edX
Instructors Stan Lee, Michael Uslan, David Uslan, Dr. Christopher Robichaud, Christopher Robichaud
Download Videos On all desktop and mobile devices
Language English
Subjects Humanities Art & Design
Tags Art & Culture Humanities History

Get a Reminder

Get an email reminder about this course

Send to:

What people are saying

We analyzed reviews for this course to surface learners' thoughts about it

also some older in one review

Covered a lot of things I've read before, and also some older facts which I didnt know or could even find myself.

depth look at in one review

what a fantastic course, a must for anyone who has an interest in comic books, great in- depth look at the history of the comic book, it's evolution, it's great writers and artists, and interviews with the master himself Stan Lee!

didnt know or in one review

material is thorough in one review

Lot of writing, but the coverage of the material is thorough.

older facts which in one review

professor answered all in one review

During the course, the professor answered all our questions in the forums and even Stan Lee gave us his perspective about the subject!

Careers

An overview of related careers and their average salaries in the US. Bars indicate income percentile.

Freelance Comic book writer $26k

Independent Book Reviewer $44k

Author, Comic, Teacher $44k

Book Clerk $45k

Book-seller $46k

Book page $51k

Comic Book Illustrator $52k

Staff Book Designer $54k

Book critic $58k

artist/writer, Garfield comic strip $62k

Property Book $65k

Freelance Comic Book Artist $66k

Write a review

Your opinion matters. Tell us what you think.

edX

&

The Smithsonian Institution

Rating 4.3 based on 13 ratings
Length 6 weeks
Effort 1 - 2 hours per week
Starts May 6 (3 weeks ago)
Cost $50
From The Smithsonian Institution, SmithsonianX via edX
Instructors Stan Lee, Michael Uslan, David Uslan, Dr. Christopher Robichaud, Christopher Robichaud
Download Videos On all desktop and mobile devices
Language English
Subjects Humanities Art & Design
Tags Art & Culture Humanities History

Similar Courses

Sorted by relevance

Like this course?

Here's what to do next:

  • Save this course for later
  • Get more details from the course provider
  • Enroll in this course
Enroll Now