I first want to thank Dr. Matthew Sewell, my advisor and mentor. Your ability to inspire great ideas, offer practical advice, and keep me on track when I wavered is what made this project possible. Thanks to Dr. Kirsti Cole for taking on the duties of second reader and helping to develop the theory that made its way into this project. Thanks to Dr. Donna Casella for pushing me to do the vital research on comics scholarship—even though it almost killed me. Thanks to my friend, Anna Brovold, for commiserating over cold drinks. A huge thank you to my fiancée, Rojina. Your love, advice, and acceptance of my weirdest qualities are the things that kept me sane throughout this process. And, finally, thanks to my parents for reading to me every night and helping me break down the barriers that life put in my way.