Joseph Witek

Professor of Creative Arts

Joseph (Rusty) Witek is one of the pioneers of the academic study of comics and graphic novels. He is the author of two books and many book chapters, articles and reviews on a wide variety of topics concerning comics and graphic novels. Witek is a member of the editorial boards of most North American and European journals in the field of comics studies, including International Journal of Cartoon Art, Journal of Comics and Graphic Novels and Studies in Comics, and has served as editorial consultant to a number of other academic journals and book publishers. His courses have made Stetson one of the first universities in North America to incorporate the study of the art form of comics and graphic novels into its curriculum. Witek teaches courses on a variety of topics in literature and the humanities, with an emphasis on the theory and practice of verbal and visual storytelling from the time of the ancient Greeks to the present. He currently holds the Kathleen A. Johnson Chair in Humanities.


  • Ph.D., English, Vanderbilt University
  • M.A., English, Vanderbilt University
  • B.A., English, Franklin & Marshall College

Course Topics

  • Comics and Graphic Novels
  • Blues People: African-American Popular Music
  • Theories of Word & Image
  • The Sixties
  • Archetypes in Literature and the Arts
  • Icelandic Sagas

Research Interests

  • Comic books
  • Comic strips
  • Graphic novels


  • "Comics Modes: Caricature and Illustration in the Crumb Family's Dirty Laundry." In Matthew Smith and Randy Duncan, eds. Critical Approaches to Comics: Theories and Methods. Routledge, 2011.
  • "The Arrow and the Grid: Creating the Comics Reader." In Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester, eds. A Comics Studies Reader. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2009.
  • "Seven Ways I Don't Teach Comics." In Stephen E. Tabachnick, ed. Teaching the Graphic Novel. Modern Language Association, 2009.
  • Art Spiegelman: Conversations. (UP Mississippi, 2007).
  • Comic Books as History: The Narrative Art of Jack Jackson, Art Spiegelman, and Harvey Pekar. (UP Mississippi, 1989).

Contact Information