September 24, 2014 / 10:01 PM / 5 years ago

Ka-pow! Marvel Comics heroes get academic treatment at Baltimore college

(Reuters) - The University of Baltimore is making it OK to read Spider-Man and X-Men comic books in class, and even will give you college credit for it.

A customer holds a copy of Astonishing X-Men #51 while standing in line to purchase the comic book at a comic book retail shop in Manhattan, New York June 20, 2012. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

In what is believed to be a first, the school is offering a course next spring on the superhero world of Marvel Comics, a university spokesman said on Wednesday.

“Media Genres: Media Marvels” will examine Marvel Comics along with such Marvel Studios films as “Iron Man,” “Thor,” “The Avengers,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the “Captain America” series.

The course professor, Arnold Blumberg, said the Marvel comics and movies offered not only entertainment but also insights into heroism, the responsibilities of power and the willingness to trade freedom for security.

“Every issue facing our world today is encapsulated in deceptively simple morality tales featuring four-color comic book heroes whose histories stretch back to 1939,” he said in a statement.

The course is not officially associated with Marvel Comics, the blockbuster franchise that is part of Walt Disney Co, the university said.

“As far as I can ascertain, this is the first college course specifically devoting a full semester to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as its central focus,” Blumberg told Reuters.

Blumberg’s course load also includes comic book literature, superhero mythology, and zombies.

The Marvel Comics course is not the only eccentric subject offered at U.S. universities.

Cornell University in New York offers a course on tree climbing, and New York University has one on making maple syrup.

California’s Occidental College offers a class on stupidity. Georgetown University in Washington offers a philosophy course on the “Star Trek” franchise that, among other things, ponders time travel.

Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Mohammad Zargham

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