Call me Professor Bob

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Jose Villarrubia and me at a working lunch.

I’ve casually known creator Jose Villarrubia for decades, and back in March, I saw on Instagram that he lived in Baltimore, a fact that I had missed. When I said something about being in the same area, a series of dominoes began tumbling, resulting in a brand-new opportunity.

The following day he reached out to see if I might be interested in joining him at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). There was a new class being designed, and he thought I’d be the perfect adjunct teacher for it.

I’d flirted with branching out into higher ed, nearly teaching a composition course at Anne Arundel Community College, before the class I was assigned was needed to fill out a full-time faculty members’ schedule, and I never heard from them again.

This, though, seemed tailor-made. See for yourself. The following is what was shared with students back in the spring:

Making Graphic Novels

New adjunct faculty member Robert Greenberger will teach the class.

Robert Greenberger has been a writer and editor since 1980, having worked at Starlog Press, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Gist Communications, Famous Monsters of Filmland, and ComicMix. He has written numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, from media tie-ins to originals. He has a BA from SUNY-Binghamton, an MS from the University of Bridgeport, and a MA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is a member of SFWA and the IAMTW and cofounder of Crazy 8 Press. For more, see www.bobgreenberger.com.

Course Description: This course is designed for students who are interested in creating their own graphic novels. Throughout the semester, students will work on a semester-long project written and illustrated by them. The comic story they create should be at least 30 finished pages and can be done in any genre, for any audience, and in any style.

The faculty member teaching the course will act as an editor, supervising the production of the comics and giving students feedback on every aspect of their production, from story to layouts, style, dialog, and lettering. The class will meet in person weekly for peer critiques and one-on-one critiques with the instructor.

Students will have the opportunity to create their artwork by hand, digitally, or using a combination of both. The course will cover topics such as character design, page composition, pacing, storytelling, and lettering.

This is where I will be spending my Wednesday nights.

The course is offered in both the fall and spring semesters, and students will have the chance to take it twice to continue their stories. By the end of the course, students will have gained an understanding of the graphic novel medium and will have created their own complete graphic novel.

Ideal, right?

Last week, after spending hours filling out online forms to verify I am not a criminal and am truly qualified, I had lunch with Jose to discuss the class. This week I signed the contract, began familiarizing myself with Canvas, the management tool the school uses, and prepped the syllabus.

We’ll see how this goes since it makes for one very late night for me, and then I have to still be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for two more teaching days. But I am very excited to see what it’s like.

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