D.C.D., University of Baltimore
M.F.A., Hollins University
M.A., Georgetown University
B.A., University of Maryland, College Park
Booting up Rise of the Dragon for the first time, my parents and I huddled around our tiny new computer and spent hours just trying to get out of the first screen: a static, comic book-style image of an apartment room where our avatar “Blade Hunter” was preparing himself for his task of saving the world from horrible death by mutation. Most of all, I remember the death scenes—comic sequences where we took a drink from the water fountain and ended up mutated and dead or shot in an alley or otherwise eliminated, over and over again. Now I log on to World of Warcraft—still cartoon graphics, but now 3-D, beautifully realized, huge worlds where my avatar is no longer alone, and thanks to the Web, we have whole communities of elves and trolls and gnomes running around killing each other.
My research is dedicated to gaining an understanding of these ideas at play in virtual spaces today. I study how storytelling has changed, from the oral tradition to writing to mass media to video games and fanfiction. While not exactly the works of Shakespeare, these media are the tools of interchange relevant to how our society is evolving today—for the rising generation has far more exposure to Grand Theft Auto than to Hamlet. Our culture is where high art and “low” art meet and mingle in a sometimes seamy interchange of ideas where comic books can address the agonies of the Holocaust, and the works of William Blake can be reborn on the Internet. I currently write about digital culture in a weekly online column, "Future Fragments," at CC2K. I also contribute regularly to ProfHacker , the Chronicle of Higher Education's blog on technology and pedagogy.
The courses I’ve taught for the University of Baltimore include Comics as Literature, Cyberpunk, Design of Multiplayer Games and Applied Simulation.