Ben Saunders is an expert two fields: comics and cartoon studies and English Renaissance Literature. He has also published essays on popular music, with a particular interest in music from the 1950s through to the 1980s. At the University of Oregon, he is a professor of English. He founded and currently directs the minor in Comic and Cartoon Studies (the first undergraduate minor of its kind in the country). Ben is in constant demand as a speaker at comics conventions and has lectured nationally and internationally on topics as diverse as the plays of Shakespeare, the history of pornography, and the music of Elvis Presley. He also appears alongside Stan Lee and George R. R. Martin (among others) as an academic expert in the History Channel documentary, Superheroes Decoded.
Areas of Expertise (3)
Media Appearances (5)
Marvel Announces Giant Immersive Exhibit Launching This Spring
“Our show takes us from the origins of the Marvel Universe to the present, providing a chance to see some of the rarest and most precious objects to have survived from the past 80 years of pop culture history,” says curator Ben Saunders. Saunders is a noted comics scholar, author and professor at the University of Oregon, part of the burgeoning academic field of comics studies that is helping to drive greater institutional recognition for the enduring value of comics as art, literature and culture. His co-curators include fellow scholars Matthew Smith and Randy Duncan. MoPOP curators Brooks Peck and Jacob McMurray, as well as renowned comics writers and editors Ann Nocenti and Danny Fingeroth, have also contributed.
Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oregon Art Beat tv
Ben Saunders is an acclaimed professor of English literature at University of Oregon, focusing on Shakespeare. But ten years ago, he began teaching classes in comics studies. The classes were so popular Saunders was able to create the nation’s first minor in Comic & Cartoon Studies...
Wonder Woman in bondage
Nevada Public Radio
The star-spangled Amazon was created in the 40s to fight the Nazis, and if you’ve got something to hide, you don’t want to find yourself wrapped in her Lasso of Truth...
The Real Problem With Superman's New Writer Isn't Bigotry, It's Fascism
The Atlantic print
Ben Saunders, an associate professor of English at the University of Oregon, suggests that Superman's ultimate power is something different altogether. In his book Do The Gods Wear Capes?, Saunders argues that since his first appearance in 1938, Superman has been defined as a "moral agent who acts always out of his commitment to 'the good.'" For Saunders, then, it isn't superstrength or superkissing which makes Superman what he is; it is super-goodness.
Why is Superman still so popular?
"Superman changes with remarkable rapidity and yet manages to paradoxically project an idea of unchanging virtue," said Professor Benjamin Saunders of the University of Oregon, author of an academic study of superheroes called Do The Gods Wear Capes?...