Marvel's Stan Lee to Teach a Smithsonian Course on the History of Superheroes
Who better to teach about superheroes than Stan Lee? The legendary comic creator will team up with Michael Uslan, known for producing several Batman films, to teach an online course from the Smithsonian Institute about the history of superheroes and their impact on American culture.
The course, called Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture, is estimated to be a 1-2 time commitment on a weekly basis and will be taught using the online learning platform EdX. It will begin on May 5 and last five weeks, over the course of which Lee and Uslan will explore many fascinating questions about the place of superheroes in the public consciousness, including:
"Why did superheroes first arise in 1938 and experience what we refer to as their 'Golden Age' during World War II?
How have comic books, published weekly since the mid-1930's, mirrored a changing American society, reflecting our mores, slang, fads, biases and prejudices?
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?"
And just in case this news wasn't exciting enough, students who complete the course will receive original artwork with Lee and Uslan's signatures. Online enrollment is open and available here.
Lee is the former president of Marvel Comics, as well as the co-creator of beloved superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, and many more. Uslan has produced all the modern Batman films to date, including Tim Burton's films, the Dark Knight trilogy, and the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He was also the first person to teach an accredited course on comic book folklore at a university.
"It's a great honor being invited to share my views on the evolution of superheroes and the genre's overall impact across all generations of people," Lee said in a statement. "Throughout my career, characters have evolved so much – from drawings on a page to other-worldly special effects only animation could produce, to live-action and so much more. I can't wait to dive into these discussions thanks to Smithsonian and EdX."
And, just for fun, here are all (or most, at least) of Stan Lee's cameos in Marvel movies: