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Recap on CoinEx & Avalanche AMA Aug 5, 2020

Recap on CoinEx & Avalanche AMA Aug 5, 2020
Written by SatoshisAngels
Published by
On August 5th 2020, Satoshi’s Angels hosted an AMA for CoinEx on “How BCH and Avalanche Are Bringing Financial Freedom to 6 Billion People” on a Chinese platform Bihu. During the 100-minute event, Haipo Yang of ViaBTC and CoinEx, and Emin Gun Sirer of AVA Labs shared their in-depth views on such topics as different consensus mechanisms, community governance, IPFS, Defi. And Haipo explained why he wants to fork BCH. This is the full text.
You can check out the full AMA here (mostly in Chinese with some English translation).
Cindy Wang (Satoshi’s Angels): There are news saying that you are to fork BCH. Is it a marketing makeover? Are you serious about it?
Haipo Yang: It’s definitely not a marketing makeover. But the details are not decided yet.
Over the past three years, the BCH community has gone through multiple discussions from reducing block time, changing mining algorithms, adding smart contracts, etc. But none of these disputes have been well settled.
BCH is a big failure in terms of governance. A lack of good governance has made it fall in disorder. It is too decentralized to make progress.
You may know that the first BCH block was mined by ViaBTC. And we gave a lot of support to it indeed. But we didn’t dominate the fork. The Chinese community in particular thought I had a lot of influence, but it was not true.
I think the whole community is very dissatisfied with Bitcoin ABC, but it is difficult to replace them or change the status quo. So I am thinking of creating a new branch of BCH. The idea is still in early stage. I welcome anyone interested to participate and discuss it with me.
Wang: Professor Emin, what’s your attitude to fork? Do you think it’s a good timing to fork BCH?
Emin Gun Sirer: I am a big fan of BCH. It adheres to the original vision of Satoshi Nakamoto. I like the technical roadmap of BCH. But just like what Haipo mentioned, BCH lacks a good governance mechanism. There are always something that can cause BCH community to divide itself.
But I think it’s not enough to just have a good governance mechanism. There are many good proposals in the community but failed to be adopted in the end. I think BCH needs social leadership to encourage discussion when there are new proposals.
Wang: We are all curious to know How Avalanche got its name?
I know that Avalanche doesn’t mean well in Chinese. But in English, it’s a very powerful word. Avalanche represents a series of algorithms piling together like a mountain. When decisions slowly form, the ball (nodes in the network) on top of the mountain starts going down the hill on one side, and it gets bigger and bigger, and like an avalanche and it becomes unstoppable, making the transaction final.
Wang: Prof. Emin, I know that you are a big blocker. Have you ever considered implementing Avalanche based on BCH? Why create another chain?
Sirer: Of course I considered that. Satoshi Nakamoto consensus is wonderful, but the proof-of-work mechanism and Nakamoto consensus base protocols have some shortcomings, such as network latency, and it is hard to scale. Avalanche, instead, is totally different, and is the new biggest breakthrough in the past 45 years. It is flexible, fast, and scalable. I’d love to implement BCH on top of avalanche in the future, to make BCH even better by making 0-conf transactions much more secure.
Wang: As an old miner, why did CoinEx Chain choose to “abandon” POW, and turn to POS mechanism?
Haipo: Both POW and POS consensus algorithms have their own advantages. POW is not just a consensus algorithm, but also a more transparent and open distribution method of digital currency. Anyone can participate in it through mining.
POW is fairer. For a POS-based network, participants must have coins. For example, you need to invest ICO projects to obtain coins. But developers can get a lot of coins almost for free. In addition, POW is more open. Anyone can participate without holding tokens. For example, as long as you have a computer and mining rigs, you can participate in mining. Openness and fairness are two great features of POW. POS is more advanced, safe and efficient.
POS is jointly maintained by the token holders, and there is no problem of 51% attacks. Those who hold tokens are more inclined to protect the network than to destroy the network for their own interests. To disrupt the network, you need to buy at least two-thirds of the token, which is very difficult to achieve. And when you actually hold so many coins, it’s barely possible for you to destroy the network.
POW has the problem of 51% attack. For example, ETC just suffered the 51% attack on August 3. And the cost to do that is very low. It can be reorganized with only tens of thousands of dollars. This is also a defect of POW.
In addition, in terms of TPS and block speed, POS can achieve second-level speed and higher TPS. Therefore, CoinEx Chain chose POS because it can bring a faster transaction experience. This is very important for decentralized exchanges. Both POW and POS have their own advantages. It’s a matter of personal choice. When choosing a consensus mechanism, the choice must be made according to the characteristics of the specific project.
Wang: Ethereum is switching to ETH 2.0. If they succeed, do you think it will lead the next bull market?
Sirer: If Ethereum 2.0 can be realized, it must be a huge success.
But I doubt it can be launched anytime soon considering that it has been constantly delayed. And even if it comes out, I am not so sure if it will address the core scaling problem. And the main technology in Ethereum 2.0 is sharding. Sharding technology divides the Ethereum networks into small parallel groups, but I think what will happen is everyone wants to be in the same “shard” so the sharding advantages might not be realizable in Ethereum 2.0.
Avalanche supports Ethereum’s virtual machine, and Avalanche can realize 1 second level confirmation, while with sharding finalizing confirmation takes 5–6 seconds at best. Avalanche approach to make Ethereum scale is superior to Ethereum 2.0. There are many big players behind Ethereum 2.0, and I wish them success. But I believe that Avalanche will be the fastest and best Smart Contract platform in the crypto space, and it is compatible with Ethereum.
Wang: Why is Avalanche a real breakthrough?
Sirer: Avalanche is fundamentally different from previous consensus mechanisms. It’s very fast with TPS surpasses 6500, which is three times that of VISA. Six confirmations can be achieved in one second. Compared with the POW mechanism of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, Avalanche’s participation threshold is very low. It allows multiple virtual machines to be built on the Avalanche protocol.
Avalanche is not created to compete with Bitcoin or fiat currencies such as the US dollar and RMB. It’s not made to compete with Ethereum, which is defined as the “world’s computer”. Avalanche is positioned to be an asset issuance platform to tokenize assets in the real world.
Wang: How do you rank the importance of community, development, governance, and technology to a public chain?
Sirer: These four are like the legs of a table. Every foot is very important. The table cannot stand without strong support.
A good community needs to be open to welcome developers and people. Good governance is especially important, to figure out what users need and respect their voices. Development needs to be decentralized. Avalanche has developers all over the world. And it has big companies building on top of Avalanche.
Yang: From a long-term perspective, I think governance is the most important thing, which is the same as running a company.
In the long run, technology is not important. Blockchain technology is developed based on an open source softwares that are free to the community. Community is also not the most important factor.
I think the most important thing is governance. Decentralization is more about technical. For example, Bitcoin, through a decentralized network method, ensures the openness and transparency of data assets, and the data on the chain cannot be tampered with, ensuring that the total amount of coins has a fixed upper limit.
But at the governance level, all coins are centralized at some degree. For example, BCH developers can decide to modify the protocol. In a sense, it is the same as managing a company.
Historically, the reasons for the success and failure of companies all stem from bad governance. For example, Apple succeeded based on Steve Jobs’s charisma, leadership and the pursuit of user experience. When Jobs was kicked out, Apple suffered great losses. After Jobs returned, he made Apple great again.
Issues behind Bitmain is also about governance. Simply put, governance requires leaders who have a longer-term vision and are more capable of coordinating and balancing the resources and interests of all parties to lead the community.
In the blockchain world, many people focus on technology. In fact, technology is not enough to make great products. User experience is most important. Users don’t care about the blockchain technology itself, but more concerned about whether it is easy to use and whether it can solve my problem.
We need to figure out how to deliver a product like Apple. The pursuit of user experience is also governance in nature. And governance itself lies in the soul of key leaders in the community.
Realize tokenization of assets in.
Wang: Speaking of asset tokenization, I would like to ask Haipo, do you think the market for assets on the chain is big?
Yang: It must be very big. We need to see which assets can be tokenized.
Assets that can be tokenized are standardized assets, sush as currencies and securities.
  1. In terms of currency, Tether has issued over 10 billion U.S. dollars. Many people think that’s too much. But I think this market is underestimated. The market for stablecoins in the future must be hundreds of billions or even trillions, especially after the release of Facebook’s Libra. Even US dollar might be issued based on the blockchain in the future.
At present, the settlement of USD currency is through the SWIFT system. But the SWIFT system itself is only a clearing network, a messaging system, not a settlement network. It takes a long time for clearing and settlement, and it is not reliable. But both USDT and USDC can quickly realize cross-border transfers in seconds and realize asset delivery. Even sovereign currencies are likely to be issued on the blockchain. I believe RMB also has such a plan.
  1. Equity and securities markets are the largest market. But they have strict requirements for market access.
Whether a stock is listed on A-shares or in the American markets, it’s hard to obtain them. I believe that the blockchain can completely release the demand through decentralization. It can allow any tiny company or even a project to issue, circulate and finance a token.
There may be only tens of thousands of stocks currently traded globally. There are also tens of thousands of tokens in the crypto space. I believe that millions or more of assets will be traded and circulated in the future. This can only be realized through decentralized technology and organization.
The market for assets tokenization will be huge. And at present, the entire blockchain technology is still very primitive. Bitcoin and Ethereum only have a few or a dozen TPS, which is far from meeting market demand. This is why CoinEx is committed to building a decentralized Dex public chain.
Wang: Avalanche’s paper was first published on IPFS. What do you think of IPFS?
Sirer: I personally like IPFS very much. It is a decentralized storage solution.
Yang: There is no doubt that IPFS solves the problem of decentralized storage, and can be robust in the blockchain world, and can replace HPPT services. But there are still three problems:
  1. IPFS is not for ordinary users. Everybody needs BCH and BTC, but only developers need IPFS, which is a relatively niche market;
  2. IPFS is more expensive than traditional storage solutions, which further reduces its practicality. In order to achieve decentralization, more copies must be stored, and more hardware devices must be consumed. In the end, these costs will be on to users.
  3. There may be compliance issues. If you use IPFS to store sensitive information, such as info from WikiLeaks, it may end up threatening national security. I doubt that decentralized storage and decentralized public chains can survive under the joint pressure of global governments.
The IPFS project solves certain problems. But from the perspective of application prospects, I am pessimistic.
Wang: What do you think of Defi?
Yang: I want to talk about the concept first.
Broadly speaking, the entire blockchain industry is DeFi in nature. Blockchain is to realize the circulation of currency, equity, and asset value through decentralization.
So in a broad sense, blockchain itself is DeFi. In a narrow sense, DeFi is a financial agreement based on smart contracts. DeFi, through smart contracts, can build applications more flexibly. For example, before we could only use Bitcoin to transfer and pay. Now with smart contracts, flexible functions such as lending, exchange, mortgage , etc. are available. The entire blockchain industry is gradually evolving under the conditions of DeFi. DeFi will definitely get greater development in the future.
Sirer: I think Defi will definitely have a huge impact. DeFi is not only an innovation in the cryptocurrency field, but also an innovation in the financial field. Wall Street companies have stagnated for years with no innovation. Avalanche fits different DeFi needs, including performance and compliance. In the future, not only will Wall Street simply adopt DeFi, but DeFi will grow into a huge market that will eventually replace the traditional financial system.
Questions from the community:
1. How does Avalanche integrate with DeFi?
Sirer: At present, all DeFi applications on Avalanche have surpassed Ethereum. What can be achieved on Ethereum can be achieved on Avalanche with better user experience. We are currently connecting with popular DeFi projects such as Compound and MakerDao to add part of or all of their functions.
At present, Avalanche is working on decentralized exchange (DEX). The current DEXs are limited by speed and performance but when they are built on top of Avalanche it will be real-time and very fast.
2. How many developers does BCH have?
Yang: I think it does not matter how many developers there are. What matters is what should be developed. I watched Jobs’ video the other day, and it inspired me a lot. We are not piecing together technology to see what technology can do. It’s we figure out what we want first and then we use the technology we need.
The entire blockchain community worship developers. Such as they call Vitalik “V God”. It’s not necessary to treat developers as wizards. Developers are programmers, and I myself is also a programmer.
ViaBTC has a development team of over 100 people, including core members from Copernicus (a dev team formerly belonged to Bitmain). Technically we are very confident to build faster, stabler, and better user experience products.
submitted by CoinExcom to btc [link] [comments]

How Governments will Destroy Cryptocurrencies [Theory]

I have a few theories how the Governments around the world will eventually crackdown on cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin. It will either be a coordinated effort amongst G20 or just independently creating more and more regulations until crypto will die off. I may be wrong, there is a chance that we can win, but it's still good to consider the follow scenarios so that people can prepare themselves against them.

1) Mass Quantum Hack [Unlikely]

Allegedly govts may have at disposal secret quantum computers. There is already commercially available QC, but it's less powerful, and we can, from observation suspect that military technology is about 30 years ahead of commercially available ones, so there is a likelyhood of this. Quantum technology is not "magic", it doesn't solve issues instantaneously like it's portrayed in the media, but to our misfortune it can specifically crack wide open SHA256, RIPEMD-128 and AES256 cyphers which Bitcoin and other cryptos use.
Now the likelyhood of this is small, not because they can't do it, but because even if they can, if they would do this, the cat would be out of the box and then other governments would start hacking banks, which also using these algorithms, so it could collapse the entire global economy creating global hyperinflation and mass chaos.
So they would by all means avoid this, no matter how annoying Bitcoin will become for them they would not use this option, unless Bitcoin would really take over the planet, but they probably have other measures against that. And they probably have agreements with other governments too, to avoid this option, not even North Korea would do this in my opinion because the Chinese would put pressure on them.

2) Demonize and ridicule Bitcoin users in the Media [Likely, Inefficient]

This is likely and they are already doing this, but it's not effective. People don't care about chit-chat, they care about results. So if a starving African family can feed their kids from the remittances that their family members sent them back with Bitcoin, they would totally dismiss whatever the media would tell them.
Bitcoin has practical results, it doesn't need propaganda to spread, and propaganda against it is ineffective, because the results speak for themselves.
So while they might scare a few mainstream sheeps, it won't work forever and eventually the media would either have to get behind Bitcoin or become obsolete.

3) Criminalize Bitcoin and prosecute everyone [Unlikely]

They could have easily done this back in 2009-2010, and for some reason they didn't. They could have just easily labeled any Bitcoin user a hacker and cybercriminal when there were only a few thousand of them and jail them like with any other cybercrime. But they have missed this opportunity for some reason, either they thought Bitcoin would not be as big as it is now, or they had other plans for it. Some theories say that governments created Bitcoin, we don't know.
The point is that the genie is out of the bottle, now it's not going back. There are tens of millions of crypto users worldwide and as time goes on it would be harder and harder to ban Bitcoin completely. In fact now many politicians and elites are getting behind it so the political capital this would require would be near absolute totalitarianism, at which point we'd have bigger problems.
They could still crack down on many aspects of it, and criminalize certain bitcoin transactions, but it would then be as inefficient as the war on drugs and such.

4) Hijack developers to sabotage Bitcoin [Likely]

They could hijack or bribe some of the developers in order to destroy Bitcoin from within. First they would place their minions inside the community and make them celebrities, then they would be given positions of authority. And then use them to slow down Bitcoin and create as much chaos within as possible. For example like not increasing the block size so that average fees become close to 100$. Now African families can't feed their kids anymore and the entire 2nd and 3rd world would be cut off, so only a few rich first worlder would be able to use it, at which point it would be no different than a stock in a stock market, it would lose it's global revolutionary aspect. They could also use their minion developers to introduce intentional bugs and patches that would give them more control. Creating centralized payment processors, and removing people's abilities to store their own coins without a custodian. Then they would have control over everone's money and could forfeit it at will.
So a combination of slowing down Bitcoin's growth, like with massive censorship and character assasinating dissenters, while also introducing evil software patches to give them control over it. At this point the developers would be worshipped and would have a cult of personality with many useful idiot fanboys supporting them, not realizing that they are getting screwed.
After they have the influence over the community they could use this to justify any further crazy upgrades: like implementing "tax patch" where every transaction would automatically be taxed at 50% and sent to a govt controlled address.

5) Regulate developers, exchanges and miners [Likely, Inefficient]

They could just regulate and implement laws to coerce all developers and miner to implement policies the governments want. Given that all developers are public they are easy to reach and most miners are either LLC's or Corporations, they are directly controllable. They will comply.
The issue is that this is not very covert and people would start speaking up against this. Of course they would immediately implement KYC/AML policies for all transactions, and it would be pretty hard to argue against that as they would just use arguments like "for the children" , "evil drug users" and so forth, which have became curse phrases lately.
It is likely that they would be done as the banking system is fully regulated and you don't control your money and can be forfeited, they could just make people have to use a "Bitcoin Bank", maybe even legalize Banks to open BTC accounts, so most people would just go back into the government controlled world.
However the decentralization momentum lives on, so there will be solutions to decentralize everything. If they regulate exchanges, people would just move to decentralized ones. If they regulate miners, then people would invent more stealthy mining algorithms, and so forth.
The enforcement of these draconian laws would be very hard, even harder than the war on drugs, so they could try but they would fail.

6) Tax and Regulate Cryptocurrency use out of Existence to save Humanity [THIS]

If the government would really want to destroy crypto, they would definitely choose this path as it's the most easily enforceable and they have the most propaganda justification for this.
The way this would work is the following:
“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support …the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half…”
-- 1970 Life Magazine
"If the climate change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic."
-- 1975 Newsweek
"By 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots…(By 1996) The Platte River of Nebraska would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers…The Mexican police will round up illegal American migrants surging into Mexico seeking work as field hands.”
-- Michael Oppenheimer, 1990, The Environmental Defense Fund
So the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX is really extremely catastrophic therefore you must ban Bitcoin immediately to save human civilization. Mark my words, they will definitely choose this option.
submitted by alexander7k to Anarcho_Capitalism [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA: I Am Professor William Kuskin teaching an open class titled "Comic Books and Graphic Novels" for 28,000+ students starting Monday. Let's talk comic books and the possible collapse of higher education. AMA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-09-20
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
Hi Prof. Kuskin. I'm enrolled in the course and I'm really looking forward for it to begin. Question: will you put some material in advance (some coursera courses do) so that we can take advantage of the weekend? Hi, rdentato! Thanks for writing. I've been looking forward to this course for a while. That's a good idea. We're going to do a bit more proofing today. If it looks sharp, I'll open it up and let people look around!
Please please do... several course put materials in advance or one or two weeks and this makes a big difference. For example, I travel a lot and my work schedule is irregular, so having the chance of having the lecture before helps me when I have a busy week! I see this is getting a lot of points. Will definitely get with my tech staff to open the course ASAP. When we do, I will send out an email.
Why do you think comic books and graphic novels are such a successful storytelling medium? Great question, tyesterday. You know, my own feeling is that comics are like medieval manuscripts from the fifteenth century. They are best, best, best artform for the book. They are something to have and collect and sort of worship.
As the internet has made books only one medium of many for communication, the comic book has seized the format and exploded.
That said, a lot of the energy has to do with community. People need a community of the imagination. Comics provide the platform for that community.
I love this Medieval aspect and ties to the one-page assignment you have stated. Like the old monks illustrating the letters of their manuscripts with story-driven art-work!!! Yes!
Professor, in your study of comic book history, do you think that comics in general have been ahead of the curve when it comes to social, race, and gender issues? Or have they mostly lagged behind the times? Has comics really been a force for good or just entertainment for the masses? Excellent, Jlgill. Complex question. I think, like all art, comics tend to throw a lot out there, so it's hard to generalize. Certainly race and gender have lagged, and continue to lag. There is a lot of racism and sexism in comics, no doubt.
But, one of the first comics, the first of the species, is William Hogarth's Four Stages of Cruelty (ca. 1750 or so, so pretty early in the scheme of things), and he's drawing and writing about animal rights, and gender abuse. So there it is—can't generalize.
What Comic Book/Graphic Novel would you recommend to someone who's looking to start reading them? Two writing assignments, two multiple choice tests (easy), and making your own comic book!
How big will the comic book have to be? I have some ideas of varying lengths, but would need to work out some details ahead of time. So, four pages + cover is the basic assignment. More pages will be rewarded with extra credit.
Hey Prof. Kuskin! My brother and I are both taking your course and we're really looking forward to it. 28,000+ people is an incredible number. How do you feel about having an audience that large? Do you anticipate that students will suffer to some degree from the lack of intimacy you might expect from a classroom or lecture hall? Hi, Joompah. Thanks for writing in. Yes, I agree, it's got to suffer that, a loss of intimacy. I signed on to this for two reasons: first, I think comics are anti-authoritarian and MOOCs are anti-authoritarian. It's a match I like, and I am so proud and humbled that the University of Colorado Boulder got behind this project.
Second, I really believe in the Humanities. I feel that even with the loss of intimacy, if some people can be exposed to thinking about BIG IDEAS AND BIG QUESTIONS through comics, they will have a better life. I believe that.
So, the cost is the intimacy. I like to learn all my studnets' names, and sweat their writing out with them. Obviously, I can't quite do that here.
Hear, Hear! to getting the word out to the masses. I am a 50 yr old optometrist and do not have time to return to college. Ive taken an astronomy course from Duke, a micro-economics course from U of Illinois and now will start a Humanities course from U of Boulder. Go Go MOOCs!!! Bravo!
, there will be quite a few people whose names you'll learn, Professor. The active ones on the forums, the ones that will submit good comics of their own. Intimacy doesn't always require diminutive scale.
Hi Prof. Kuskin, what is your favorite comic book series of all time? Dark Knight Returns.
It's maybe not the best comic book, and I disagree with almost everything Frank Miller has said of late, but boy, what a comic! I remember my first time reading it. It blew me away, and still does. (that said, I do have an enormous batman tattoo, so maybe I'm biased.)
Have you ever thought about monetizing this course? Would the bitcoin revolution be a solution to this problem? You know, though I like the idea of virtual currency funding my comics library as much as the next nerdy guy, I think it's just fantastic that the course is free. It's renewed me in some ways, and I hope to share that energy.
So let,s talk. How will the writing assignment look like? Hey, Posnikr! The writing assignments are very focused. They concentrate on one page from a comic, which you will be supplied with. The whole assignment is to focus in on that page and read it like a brilliant visual-textual poem.
To be honest with you (and whoever else is out there!), I developed the assignment--stole part of it--from my Chaucer mentor. It's my first attempt at making it work in a massive format.
We shall see!
Would the page in question be from a work that we would, at that point, have been expected to have read, or will it be taken out of the context of the comic itself? I think both assignments would be interesting, but am curious about what you have in mind. Hey, Kanta7.
So, I assign two essays in the course. The first one pulls some pages from comics I have discussed in my lectures. The second one, later in the semester, adds a few we don't discuss.
The point of the assignment is entirely to focus on the page. Each page is a little beautiful poem for you to tease apart. (I learned this from my doctoral director on Chaucer, back in the 1890s). So, really you don't need any more than a page.
It's hard to focus. I'll teach to you to focus.
So You can not give wilder approach to the topic just the materials which will be provided ? Hi, posnikr. See above. It is a very narrow focus. But I promise, it will teach you to read depth in every page.
I really want you to stick to the materials. My goal is to teach depth, focus, and clarity in structure.
What got you into comics? Hey, easterislandstatue (great username, by the way): my mom read them to me in Central Park in NYC as a kid. Then I would go home and cut them into little playsets at home... thousands of silver age playsets.
I stopped reading when I was in grad school. Became a bit of snob.
Then, about ten years ago, I went through a rough patch, and wandered into a comic shop in New Orleans. Couldn't believe how it all developed.
From there, I was hooked again.
And you?
Hello Prof. Kuskin. Do you often read comics? Which comics recently published you would recommend for somebody? I do read comics a lot.
I am really grooving on the work of Matt Kindt, Paul Pope, and Jeff Lemire. I stayed up and read all of Lemire's Sweet Tooth in trade paperback in one night recently.
I would recommend his Underwater Welder.
But you can't go wrong with Paul Pope's One Trick Rip Off. Really can't.
What program/tool will we use to make our own comic? Will we need special software or computer platform? No, you will not. You'll need to figure out how to scan your documents and upload them. That's it. In fact, there is nothing better than a comic made with pencil, ink, and paper, and then scanned in.
Hello, Professor Kuskin! I'm very excited for this course. Two questions: 1) How exactly did you come to decide on what materials to use for the class? 2) What comic books/graphic novels didn't make the cut for the course that you would suggest people read? Whew! There are a lot of questions here, and I read yours and meant to answer it earlier because it is a very good one.
So, here is what I think, and I have to say this with some humility because the comics world is a huge one with a great knowledge base.
I believe there has emerged over the past ten years a clear literary history and canon of American comics. I think my syllabus reflects this canon, and I think it is fair to say that it would be a shame for a student of comics not to know the comics I list off.
That said, nobody--NOBODY--is going to be happy with my selections because comics are very emotional and because, well, any list is going to be partial.
I am sad that I've left out Persepolis--it didn't make my final cut--I am sad too that Grant Morrison's work is not really going to be represented. I would have liked to spend even more time on the underground scene, and on alternative comics, particularly Los Bros Hernandez (wikipedia them if you are not familiar). You will see that that lecture is a long one.
Ultimately, I think you can see from all the enthusiasm on this reddit that there is much passionate in comics.
No one will be particularly happy with my list, but I hope everybody is generally happy that the course is being taught!
Sort of a rewording of hegglehog's question about the Hawkeye Initiative. Do you see a future in comics/graphic novels, especially the superhero genre, where women are portrayed more realistically (i.e., less as idealized sexual objects, and more as normal people)? So, The Hawkeye initiative is interesting. Ultimately, superhero comics are going to have a lot of trouble getting over physical stereotypes. That's the genre. Crime, sci-fi, and even fantasy are moving ahead in this direction.
Hi Prof!! In Spain, education needs comics, superheros and all you could imagine :D Any idea???. Hi, Okenda. Thanks so much for writing in. So, Sandman gets some attention, and I go with Watchmen over From Hell, though, I really do think From Hell is a masterpiece. Watchmen fits with the structure of the course a bit better, though From Hell may be the more significant comic.
Are we going to have a deep talk about Neil Gaiman master piece, The Sandman books, and Moore's From Hell??. Do you know any Spanish comic artist like Paco Roca?. So many comics, so few days in the course...
Thaaank you very much for this course!!!. Wm.
Since you are located in Boulder, Colorado how have the floods effected you? I know CU was closed for a while. Well, Boulder did take a hit. The surrounding towns as well--Lyons, Longmont, Estes Park, Nederland, and so forth. Very, very sad.
The university reacted tremendously. We were closed for two days, but got back going quickly, and are running like a top now. It was a very impressive reaction.
I was fine. A bit wet, but fine. Thank you for asking.
Professor, I enjoyed and was very much in agreement with your assessment of sequential arts and its place in literature/culture. Would you suggest your course to any prospective graphic novel creators? Yes, actually. My course is chiefly analytic and historical, but my main contention is that no one writes (or draws) alone—that is, no one can drop into a living artform without recognizing the history of that artform, it's experience through time.
So, I can only hope that my lectures expand that history a little bit. I know that I have learned a lot putting them together.
Do you think text — dialogues, captions etc. — are mandatory for comics to qualify as comics? People have argued that storyboards or wordless novels, picture books, or even, back in time, scrolls, are all forms of comics. Would you agree to that, will your course propose a definition for comics; or do you think that definitions are beside the point? Thank you. So, there are many wordless books that qualify as comics and are wonderful stories. You know, HoaSi, I really do think definitions are besides the point. Arguing about definitions is a lot of fun, but ultimately it slows down the imaginative investigation. Comics are part of a larger combination of literature and artwork, of storytelling through books--and I mean books here really broadly, for an ipad is a book—that has been going on for thousands of years.
Where is the medium going? what is your prediction for the next big thing in comics? Very good question, Bambi_stars. What does Adama say in Battlestar Glactica? "I don't do hypotheticals?" It's a wise statement.
I've been mulling over where I think the energy is, though, and I think that there is a lot of energy in creators, like Pope, Lemire, and Kindt, who are moving in and out of the superhero and "alternative comics" genre. What I mean to say is that I think so-called mainstream superhero comics have tremendous force and importance to the comics community, but it's not necessarily where the best or most adventurous work is being done. So I look to people who did not start that way bringing a new perspective in.
How will this class prepare students for their future careers and lives? This is a brilliant, question, Salacious!
I have a lot to say on this topic. And first, I'll say this: a few of my students have gone on to try to make comics their careers, so that's a direct application. But! I really want to say this: the study of art--and I mean comics as art--is critical, and I mean critical to a good life. Comics are great this way, because they are an easily accessible art form. Why? Because art gives us life to study. Each comic book page is a problem set, and writing about the page is way of analyzing a problem set.
Why are american comics serialized such that what you buy at the store is just a single series? why are american comics not sold in anthologies, as japanese comics are? were american comics once sold in anthologies, and if so, what happened to them? Hi, Choubugioxkel. This is a fascinating question, that I think comes down to the way comics have always been distributed. American comics began as a throw-away literature reprinting newspaper "funnies" and so they have always been seen as ephemeral.
My sense is that the so-called Graphic Novel revolution has made a lot of change here, and that a lot of readers now wait for the anthologies. I know I do.
How on earth will you be able to respond to 28,000 students. Do you have powers you've not yet revealed? Galactus is my TA.
Why do comics gravitate towards "capes?" What, you don't wear one when you're relaxing...
Hi, Prof. Kuskin. I'm a huge graphic novel fan (especially Alan Moore's work). I already have a good background in graphic novels and I'm very excited about your course. I just wish to know the level of detail we will adopt to read texts like Maus and Watchmen - will it be a basic analysis or in-depth, taking into account historical events (Maus) or other pop-culture and historical references (as in Watchmen)? Hey, Oneiros. (gulp).
Okay, in this course, I try to split the difference. Set up the text with one large scale question, and then really focus on as tightly as I can on a single page.
I ask the same of you in the papers (which I describe in one of the threads below).
I much favor in-depth close reading of the page. That's my into each comic.
Hey Doc. Brave of you. Retired teacher here. Looking for the fun. I am beyond erudite and sophmoric. Glad to be part of this. Dislike testing. Too close to testosteroning. So no Perespolis on this list but Building Stories is ! Curious. Muiti cultural choices ? American Born Chinese ! Looking forward to Monday. Hey how about Crumb's Genesis ? Thimble Theater ? Excellent list of texts, jmusich. So, I too dislike testing, and I don't know how the "assessements" will go. For me, it is part of the experience in this new frontier.
I actually finished recording the Crumb lectures last week. I focus on ZAP and BIG ASS, but one of the things that this course has already taught me is that his shadow is long.
Yes, you are free to disagree, but I find Building Stories very important.
Hi, how deep are we going to study the semiotic level in comic. i mean, the simbolism under the narrative, the semantics of their meanings, the formal structures of signs and it´s agents? THX! Okay, this is an interesting question. In my view--and here it comes--much comics criticism, indeed, much humanities criticism has a very semiotic turn to it, and is very, very concerned with a technical language for representation. Now, it is my view, that over the past thirty years this has alienated much of the audience for the Humanities, narrowing the academy so that it is talking to itself. (Boy this is from a guy who started out by reading Louis Althusser).
One major goal for this course is to show that the supposedly simplistic comic book can hit at major intellectual questions. Now, to get at those questions, you certainly have to close read those books carefully, but you don't have to bury them in a difficult language.
Comics are for everyone. Literature is for everyone. Art is for everyone. We need a semiotic language that recognizes this truth.
Hope that makes a little bit of sense.
How does the industry feel about the current trend in Hollywood movies based on comics? Hey, dontjudgemefood. I think the industry--the mainstream industry--owned as they are by movie companies, and plenty happy. Mainstream comics are always tilting to bankruptcy. Ouch.
Prof Kuskin, I already enrolled. What do you think about the so-called GNs but actually TPBs that collected ongoing issues? Also, since the course starts in 3 days, shouldn't the course forums be opened so people who enrolled can discuss there? Hi, Multjiang. After I wrap up this reddit, I have a few images to map and a little proofreading, and then we will go live, a bit early, so people can jump in.
In one of the first videos I discuss the difference between GNs and TPBs. To me, they are all comics. I don't think we should get too hung up on these definitions.
Have you thought of mentioning independent lengthy comics in the course such as Jeff Smith's Bone and Dave Sim's Cerebus? Just mentioned Cerebus in recording my lectures last sunday. It's a brief mention, but the independent comics movement is powerful.
Hi Professor, how do you feel about Comic Books and Graphic Novels as an introduction to reading? I'm asking this because my gateway to reading narratives was Calvin and Hobbes, but only now I'm getting into comics with Allan Moore. I said in one of the earlier posts that I started reading comics with my mom during dog walks in Central Park in NYC. It was during those walks, back in the late 60s that I learned to read. I guess Stan Lee was my first author, and in that he taught me to read. So, I think comics are great to learn to read, although maybe Alan Moore would be a tough start...
Though even as I type that, I realize that one of my firmest beliefs about reading is that it should be self-motivating. It is a challenge for each parent to decide what is appropriate--on the one hand, some images in comics do seem inappropriate but on the other hand, I am not to judge what fires off a child's imagination and gets them reading.
I digress.
Yes! A great introduction to reading!
Will you be touching on any non-capes-&-cowls graphic novels, such as Essex County by Jeff Lemire? Boy, Dollinha, I haven't read "Essex County." I just read my way through Sweet Tooth, and you can bet that I'll be buying this soon!
Thanks for the tip. (and there, just for the record, I sure haven't read everything).
But, looking over the reading list, superheroes only get part time in this course. There is so much out there that doesn't involve them...
This is my first approach to comic books and graphic novels. I am very excited to start but also I feel a little intimidated. Do you have any advice for your "non-background" students? Please do not feel intimidated. First, comics are for everybody. They are not about rites of passage or about warehouses of knowledge. They are about the imagination.
Second, the MOOC should be challenging and engaging, but it is also for everyone. It is not about being the brightest or about being perfect in any way. (Lord knows, you will discover that I am imperfect!).
In a nutshell, this course is about thinking about some great stories and taking some personal risks.
I am total newbie when it comes to comics. I haven't read many but I do want to start reading them and learn to appreciate them. Is this a good course to achieve that? Yes, niting!
This is course for you. I've taught it many times, and my students always feel that it renews them. Welcome aboard!
Hello Professer Kuskin, I was wondering what you think of the current fiasco that is DC comics? Hey, emmawestlund! I think you nailed it. It's a fiasco! I'm going to talk about this when I get to Planetary, which is a total indulgence on my part. Warren Elllis has a great phrase, "Decoherence," and I think it applies well to "The New 52."
But... art is generative, so there is always hope. Let's keep hoping!
Greetings from Greece! Would you say that this course would set a good basis to a person who likes to draw and wants to get involved in illustration but has absolutely no clue how? Hi! Glad you've signed up. Yes! This course will not teach you to draw, but it will discuss and make you think about layout. Layout is key.
The comic book is a collaborative medium by convention and due to time consumption. Very few do fill all of the positions all by themselves. What is your view regarding collaboration between students? When we make our own comic, for example, will we be able to work in groups? I suppose what I'm asking is — does the course allow for that and to what extent? In my bricks and mortar version, I allow for collaboration. In this version, I don't emphasize it--there is no way for me to track the student submissions accurately. I would say here, and I will say if it comes up in the discussion forums, that people can work together, but that each person needs to pull his or her weight.
Hi Prof. Kuskin! What sorts of insight do you hope this course will give people in the comics industry? Well, I would hope for three things: 1. I hope this brings a lot of people into reading comics on a regular basis, so in this way, I really hope that this course is good for comics, and good for the comics industry in general. 2. I hope the industry notes that people are really interested in big questions and smart comics. Sure, it's great to see beautifully drawn heroes slugging it out against nefarious evil-doers, but I hope to see more and more thoughtful and aware comics. 3. With that, wouldn't it be beyond great if someone from this course decided to make a go at comics and, actually, could pay their rent on it?
Since this is so multinational, could we do another AMA where people list a favorite comic or graphic novel from their country? The course is focusing on US work but I'd love to use this opportunity to learn about work beyond the US. Might be a fun end of course question. Nice idea. If this does not naturally come up in the discussion forums over the next seven weeks, let's make a promise, Zorgly, to force the issue.
How do you feel about Greg Land and his success in the industry? Hey, Grimrecycler.
This is a tougher question to answer than it appears, so thanks for asking it. On the one hand, let's be fair: there are no rules to comics except what will float in the market. That's an important rule, is it not? I mean, if we're going to start hedging comics, we will quickly be in the business of hedging art--back to 1954.
On the other hand, I'm not really a fan. He's made a fine career on some stereotypical artwork that some find offensive. I put him, sadly, in the same boat that Mark Millar seems to be currently rowing (from the writing side of things).
There. I said it.
What comics do you currently buy monthly?...and do you still make weekly trips to the store to pick up new comics? Hey, M0ntana! Thanks for this question. What do I buy monthly? Batman (which I've not been happy with, but can't give up), Kick-Ass (which I'm not happy with, and am about to give up), Lazarus (which I like), Massive (so-so), Scarlet, Fatale, Trilluim--probably some others, but that is what springs to mind (and my mind and fingers are getting a little tired).
Hello professor. Will there be any live lessons during this course? If so, on what medium would that be? Wow. I hadn't even thought about live lessons. I will jump into the discussion forums pretty regularly. I'll talk to my tech person.
Valiant re-boots, The Last Unicorn, what happened to Warlock? What did happen to Warlock? It's a good question!
Is there a reading list for the class? I do a podcast called Alt3red Egos and I read a ton of comics, but I need to "schedule" my reading time. If I had a list of books that would help with the class, I could do that. Welcome! So, the basic reading is on the Coursera "profile" which is at Link to When the course opens, you'll be able to download the syllabus, which presents the whole course.
Hey, Prof. Enrollee here! How many classmates do I have? Yes, about 28k, but who knows how many will make it to the end?
Hi proof! I've been a non structure storyboarder for some years. I wonder if we...if we will get some (structure) and, specially, if we will also work on the course. By 'work' I mean all kind of means (keyboards electroshocks included) that push us to draw, design storyboards along the classes. Will we? Yes you will!
Hello Professor - greetings from New Jersey. I got into comics as a way to teach my dyslexic 3rd grade son how to read. He is now a honor roll 7th grader! Hoping to gain further understanding and insight into the medium as I am still much the novice. Thank you for the opportunity. Great. Bravo on the Honor Roll! You should be proud.
I think you'll see many ways of working on focus in this course.
Go NJ!
This is a brilliant, question, Salacious! I have a lot to say on this topic. And first, I'll say this: a few of my students have gone on to try to make comics their careers, so that's a direct application.
I'm enrolled in the class. At the time I enrolled, comics were just an interest of mine. Within the past couple months, I've actually been hired as an editor for comics. Looking at comics through an academic lens will only better my understanding of them, which will help me as an editor! Bravo!
I believe all the lectures will be on coursera as long as the class is. not sure if that answers your question. Well answered, almightypoodle! Yes, I believe that is true. You can enter into the course late, drop out for a bit, and come back and learn at your own pace.
I am an academic librarian looking forward to this class - a departure from my usual routine...borrowed most of the books from my daughter and ready to go! Excellent! I hope that you get a kick from the course and that it filters into your librarian ship.
I am a bit worried about the 'make your own comic book' bit. Not much creativity or art skills here. Week three gets a little heavy, sexually. I certainly wouldn't have been embarrassed when I was 15, but I would have been a bit embarrassed if I was watching with my Mom!
Just stopping by to say hello. I can't wait for class to start! :) Hello, studentloansadness!
Bought the first novels already! So excited! Wonderful!
Hello, Pr Kuskin, Please don't be afraid, totoro46!
I' m enrolled - a little afraid as a beginner, so many people knowing so many things. I live in Spain. As an ignorant, I have no question until now ! Waiting for monday ;) I wrote on this earlier, but comics are for everyone! It's not about winning or losing, it's about liberating the imagination.
Evenin' from the UK. FYI Its nearly 8pm here, not 7pm as stated in the Email ;) Sorry! Lord knows, it's hard enough for me to make it to work on time! Glad you made it.
Last updated: 2013-09-24 20:31 UTC
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