Grad student and comic book extraordinaire
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 01:09
Graduate students are incredible people. A single chat with one can change your perspective on just about anything. Take Jenny Walters, one conversation with her and you’ll never look at comic books the same again.
Walters is as an English Literature grad student and plans to graduate this fall. “I have to pass the class and I have to defend my thesis at the end of October. Once I get through those two things, then I can graduate,” Walters said.
Her thesis focuses on the sexualization of children’s literature into comic books, and she’s been working on it for just over a year. “I knew I was going to do something on comic books, and I was looking at the sexualization of women in comic books,” Walters said. “But usually its just looking at superheroes and how scantily clad they are, so I didn’t want to do something like that, so I started looking at fairytales and how fairytales are sexualized in comic books.”
Walters’ fascination with comic books started when she was staying with a friend over Christmas break one year, and all he had to read was Sandman by Neil Gaiman.
“I started reading it, and I hated the first book. Then I devoured the second through 10th books. I really got into that as a method of story telling,” Walters said.
Research for the topic proved to be an interesting process. But Walters’ interest in fairytales led her to Alan Moore’s book, Lost Girls.
“It’s a pornographic book,” Walters said. “So I think it’s eye-opening, but also the really interesting thing I read was figuring out the language to use within this type of analysis, and also the things that were talked about in the book were really surprising and funny.”
The wealth of information in this book proved to be invaluable to Walters, and changed the way she would approach her thesis. “I was going to do a fairytale book and Moore’s book, and then figured out I could just do Moore’s book really easily,” Walters said. “My thesis is over 100 pages and I feel like I haven’t even touched the book.”
It’s an intellectual analysis on sexuality and comic books, and Walters has pulled it all together like only an English major could.
“I don’t want people to remember me because I’m writing my thesis on porn,” Walters said. “Because that is what everyone remembers when I explain to them what my thesis is on. They are like, ‘oh that sounds really interesting; I want to read it.’”
Walters post graduation plans are simple. “I want to read a book that hasn’t been picked by someone else,” Walters said, “And get my parents to take me to Benihana.”