Professor Spotlight: Professor Jeffrey McClelland


Professor McClelland feat. a goat. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey McClelland.

Jeffrey McClelland is an adjunct professor of English and communication at Moravian College, and an author, editor, letterer, and designer who works in the comicbook industry. He currently teaches the new English course Comics and Graphic Storytelling. Outside of Moravian, McClelland is also a New York Times best-selling comic book author for his work on publications like The Tick, Flutter, Honcho, and Black Terror.

What inspired you to go into your field of study?

This question cuts right to the heart of existence, doesn’t it? Why does anyone do anything? Oh, God –what will I do with the time I have left?! I suppose that my story is the same as many others; I was inspired by some classes I took in college and by the teachers who taught them, so I took more classes, and more classes, and. . .here I am.

What project(s) are you currently working on?

I’m trying to work on how I pitch ideas for books, which is not unlike pitching ideas for courses. I’m putting together another issue of a comic I’m working on, “Planet Comics”.

What do you think is the most recent important development in your field of study?

There are always pedagogical advancements happening in any field, but it’s hard to ignore what we’re learning (in real time) about technology and equity inside the classroom. It’s ripe for study.

What job would you have if you couldn’t be a professor, regardless of salary and job outcome? Why? 

If I couldn’t be a professor? What law did I break that has barred me from this noble profession? This is an important character point to understand my new alternate universe life. I don’t know. A pastry chef?

What do you know now that you wished you knew when you were in college?

Two answers: professional sports scores of the last twenty years, and also that showing up and doing your best will get you further in life than you realize, so you should go for it. “It” can vary per individual.

What is your biggest student pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve is when students have imposter syndrome, which leads to them not asking questions or being engaged because they think, “Everyone knows what they’re doing except for me.” Listen, you guys. You belong. You can do it.

What was the last streaming show that you binge-watched or the last good book that you read? 

Who isn’t watching WandaVision right now? Is there any other honest answer to this questions?! As for books, I’m late to the game and just finished “Dune” by Frank Herbert. I just started “The Wax Pack” by Brad Balukjian.

What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know? 

I was a hand double in a Will Smith movie a few years ago (no, not for Smith).

What animal do you feel you identify with? Why?

Gosh, probably a megalodon, for the obvious reasons.

What published piece of yours (regardless of if you’re the main writer or a contributor) was your favorite to work on? Why?I know you’re asking about academic publications, but every conversation that I’m involved in eventually makes its way back to comics, so it’s got to be one of those, though it’s hard to say which one. Maybe “The Tick”?