The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture

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9/10 stars
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The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture

Course Details

Cost

FREE,
Add a Verified Certificate for $50

Upcoming Schedule

  • In Session

Course Provider

edX online courses
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be tau...
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be taught by David J. Malan, a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard University for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. But there's not just one professor - you have access to the entire teaching staff, allowing you to receive feedback on assignments straight from the experts. Pursue a Verified Certificate to document your achievements and use your coursework for job and school applications, promotions, and more. EdX also works with top universities to conduct research, allowing them to learn more about learning. Using their findings, edX is able to provide students with the best and most effective courses, constantly enhancing the student experience.

Provider Subject Specialization
Sciences & Technology
Business & Management
22646 reviews

Course Description

Join the Smithsonian, and comic book industry legend 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:

  • 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 i...

Join the Smithsonian, and comic book industry legend 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:

  • 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.

Reviews 9/10 stars
12 Reviews for The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture

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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.

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Bin Jeremiah Barba profile image
Bin Jeremiah Barba profile image

Bin Jeremiah Barba

6/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 4 months ago
It's a really interesting course. But upon looking at the course description, there's a distinct lack of representation of female superheroes which I think is both an important part of the comics verse and its relevance in pop culture.
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Ken Wagner profile image
Ken Wagner profile image

Ken Wagner

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 1 month ago
In school, I loved mythology and found history tolerable. This course took the boring subject of history (for me) and combined it with what I loved back then as well as one of the things that I love now as an adult (the superhero world of comics). I never knew half the facts (& history) about comics & about our culture as well as how they relate to one another - as I do now. I am so glad to have taken this course and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in comic books, in the superhero movie world or even those that do cosplay - to get that deeper understanding of what we read, what we watch and what we do.
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Lorena Duenas profile image
Lorena Duenas profile image

Lorena Duenas

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 9 months ago
I took this course last year and has been my favorite so far, i really enjoyed it. Hopefully you could open a "The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture 2.0" It will be awesome
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Emma Jezek profile image
Emma Jezek profile image

Emma Jezek

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 9 months ago
Excellent course! Taken it twice, and the experience was different both times. It's helped me develop characters for my own comic book series; the feedback I received from peers during the course was amazing and everyone was so great to work with. If you're looking for a course that will help you with character design/development or you're just looking to follow the history of comics and their characters, I definitely recommend this course.
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Erika K profile image
Erika K profile image

Erika K

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 1 month ago
The content is excellent and both Prof. Uslan and Stan Lee were extremely inspiring. These are not the actual instructors though and only appear in video form. (Which is pretty much what I expected.)The course has some kind of laymen volunteer mediators but would benefit from a real instructor. Do take the course and watch the content but don't work too hard on the homework! I had submitted my final project 10 minutes before the deadline and no one even looked at it since it was buried on page 21. To make matters worse, they archived the whole course and kicked us all out of the Facebook page to make room for new student only 24 hours after the submission deadline. This leaves no opportunity to receive feedback from others. The so called "top 40" projects that were voted in are mainly the first ones that were submitted. How disappointing.
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Aaron D’Errico. profile image
Aaron D’Errico. profile image

Aaron D’Errico.

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 4 months ago
Thank you, SmithsonianX staff. Yesterday I received my verified certificate. It means a lot. Passing the course is a personal milestone and a new positive motivation in my life-long goal to make uplifting comics of my superheroes, despite a series of physical and cognitive hurdles. If I’d have known as a kid I’d go from C and D grades because of a learning disability, to one day passing a course by Professor Michael Uslan with Stan Lee, -who told me that he expects “Great things” from me- I’d have been over the moon! The questions and guidelines of the course helped me further define and distill the multi story arc for my character, Ammon Walker, down to its essence in a few paragraphs. That had been a longtime challenge. Completing the course showed me I can express the concept of Ammon clearly and concisely. It also prepared me for an interview about origin stories on NPR Seattle, talking about Ammon, as well as other ... Thank you, SmithsonianX staff. Yesterday I received my verified certificate. It means a lot. Passing the course is a personal milestone and a new positive motivation in my life-long goal to make uplifting comics of my superheroes, despite a series of physical and cognitive hurdles. If I’d have known as a kid I’d go from C and D grades because of a learning disability, to one day passing a course by Professor Michael Uslan with Stan Lee, -who told me that he expects “Great things” from me- I’d have been over the moon! The questions and guidelines of the course helped me further define and distill the multi story arc for my character, Ammon Walker, down to its essence in a few paragraphs. That had been a longtime challenge. Completing the course showed me I can express the concept of Ammon clearly and concisely. It also prepared me for an interview about origin stories on NPR Seattle, talking about Ammon, as well as other superheroes and their beloved creators. Because it was such a positive experience, I’ve recommended the course to others as well. With gratitude, Aaron D’Errico
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Abraham Martinez profile image
Abraham Martinez profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 3 months ago
Awesome course. This is a must do, if your into to any kind of art or CGI. It worth it to know the history of comic genre and art in relations to our history, religion, social issues, etc.. It worth it!!
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Julio Cezar Pagani profile image
Julio Cezar Pagani profile image

Julio Cezar Pagani

10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 3 months ago
Amazing course proposal !!! This is an incredible proposal !!! And I can learn from renowned teachers worldwide. Still receive a degree from as renowned institute like this . Thank you for the opportunity.
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Brian Gallagher profile image
Brian Gallagher profile image

Brian Gallagher

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 3 months ago
Excellent course with great insights to the materials protectively stored in the depths of the Smithsonian. Fantastic energy from the particants in the course through in the Facebook forum, which continues to this day. Global contributors allowed the spirit of superheros to showcase the differences and similarities between people from all over the world. Thoroughly recommend to anyone to try this course and to enjoy the huge collection of comic stories covering social and political issues around the globe as well as for information and inspiration.
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Kevin Morice profile image
Kevin Morice profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 30 reviews
  • 22 completed
4 years, 3 months ago
Great course material. Learning a lot about the history of comic books and their effect on US culture. The video lecturers are very interesting and the interviews with several people inside the industry are fascinating. I was not keen on the assessment methods in the first release as they are testing artistic ability not the knowledge of the subject but I understand this has been revised for the second release of the course to give a knowledge-based track alternative.
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Kevin Morice profile image
Kevin Morice profile image

Kevin Morice

8/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 5 months ago
Great course material. Learning a lot about the history of comic books and their effect on US culture. The video lecturers are very interesting. Not as keen on the assessment methods as they are testing artistic ability not the knowledge of the subject.
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Barry Magrill profile image
Barry Magrill profile image

Barry Magrill

10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 8 months ago
Excellcior!!!
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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.