Feb. 20, 2019
Whenever someone mentions comic books to me, I can practically feel the summer heat and smell the faint scent of campfire, Earth and tent canvas. When I was a kid, no camping vacation up north was complete without a bike trip to the local store to load up on comic books just in case we were hit with a rainy day.
My cousin and I would crawl into a tent (sometimes even when the sun was out) and while away the afternoon swapping books and catching up on the latest adventures of Archie and his gang. We also read a fair amount of Richie Rich and the occasional superhero story, but our hearts really belonged to Archie.
When I got older, the movie industry took notice of the stories in comics and soon those superheroes and characters from the pages were gracing the silver screen and televisions. I remember the first time I saw “Superman.” I went in thinking I wouldn’t really enjoy it — and then I was hooked on all sorts of superhero stories, including binging on the television series, “Smallville,” with my daughter one summer. That same daughter got to be an extra a couple of years ago when MSU’s Broad Museum was used to shoot a scene for “Batman Vs. Superman.”
Today, comics, graphic novels and movie adaptations are a huge business, and MSU is preparing students to be industry superheroes. Students can now minor in comic art and graphic novels through the College of Arts and Letters.
The university also has a lot of other connections to the comic business. Check out the really cool MSUTODAY FEATURE: The serious art of comics, to learn all the ways MSU is a superhero of comic art. It's even more special because it was drawn in comic book style by Lora Root, a student in the program.
I think it’s great that students can follow their dreams in just about any field here at MSU. In the College of Arts and Letters alone, there is an incredibly diverse range of majors and minors.
While Lora is expanding her comic skills, students like Chayse Hurley are exploring beliefs and questions as philosophy majors. Watch the short video in the STUDENT VIEW: Why Philosophy? to hear why she feels philosophy can positively impact communities. With plans to attend law school and her experience working with a non-profit, I have no doubt she’ll be a true Spartan superhero in her career.
Dawn Opel, also from the College of Arts and Letters, is an assistant professor of digital media and user experience. Her goal is to be a superhero for patients by finding new ways to coordinate better care for those who are ailing. Watch the short video piece in the FACULTY VOICE: Enhancing patient care, to learn more about her work.
While comic books and movies depict superheroes in pretty dramatic ways with special suits and otherworldly powers, sometimes the most important heroes are kind, smart, unassuming people who inspire others with their actions.
That’s exactly how I felt listening to Satish Udpa, MSU’s new acting president, when he spoke directly to survivors at last week’s Board of Trustees meeting. I know he would never consider himself a hero, but to me, he is. Listening to him, I heard leadership, compassion, humility and hope. I felt as if he was publicly speaking for all of us Spartans, saying things we all needed to say and hear. If you missed it, take a moment to read his words.
Most of us probably don’t think we have superpowers, but the reality is that everyone can be a hero to someone. The world is filled with people who need kindness, help, compassion, healing, education, hope, joy and more. No matter your field, there is always a way to turn your skills into a superpower to help someone else. Get out there, Spartans, and use your power for good. #SpartansWill
Photo by Derrick L. Turner