After completing the process of my long a grueling senior paper and finishing my degree, I will finally have some time to get back to previous blogs and reviews. In the mean time I will be putting up segments of my paper each week while I work on writing/finishing other stuff. Since most of you will probably never read all 93 pages which will be published in some political science journal no-one has ever heard of, I've compressed it to pieces.
Here is an abstract, summary of contents and the intro. Next week I'll start putting the sections up. Enjoy!!
HrdwrkngXsodlier examines American comics and the relationship they share with the political history and progression of the United States. HXS defines comics and identifies it as no longer being an “alternative” media form. The article invokes the educational and historical significance the correlation between the two has for the classroom and into the future.
I. Introduction :
1. Comics are discounted by most scholars.
2. Comics have grown with society.
3. Not a “cartoon.”
4. Importance to culture
5. Close ties between politics in comics and with the industry.
6. Thesis Statement.
II. What is a comic/graphic novel? :
1. Define Comic
2. Evolution of the comic to graphic novel.
3. Target audience.
5. Popularity of this “alternative media.”
III. Politics of “Who writes comics?” :
1. Founders of the industry.
2. Ties to the Jewish exodus to the US.
3. Politics of immigration.
4. Prohibition and Comics.
5. Comics as learning aids.
IV. Politics of WWII and comics :
1. Birth of the Superhero.
2. Patriotism and Propaganda.
3. Rally the Troops.
4. Women in Battle.
5. Japanese Front.
V. Post WWII politics and comics :
1. Conservative movement in comics.
3. Dr. Frank Wertham “comic’s enemy.”
4. The Comics Code and Censorship.
5. Comics Casualties of the era.
VI. Comics and the Civil Rights Era :
1. Rebirth of the Superhero.
2. Cold War Comics
3. The X-men.
4. Black Panther, first black superhero.
VII. Politics, comics and Disco :
1. Feminism and the Funny Books.
2. Vietnam and Comics
3. All new X-men, success in equal rights.
4. Mixed relationships in comics.
5. Stretching the Comics Code.
VIII. 80’s: Reagan, War on Drugs, Bull Market, idealism, and comics :
1. New conservatism in comics.
2. Sexual Revolution in comics.
3. War and Drugs and comics.
4. Emergence of the Graphic Novel.
5. American Idealism and comics.
IX. 90’s Comics and Political Trends :
1. Flood of market with Economic Growth.
2. New Kids on the Block.
3. Death of the Comics Code.
4. Post Cold War Comics.
5. Equality and Comics.
X. New Millennium Politics and Comics :
1. 9/11 and Comics.
2. Patriot act and Comics.
3. Conspiracy Theories and Comics.
4. Comics are Relevant.
5. Gay Rights Movement and Comics.
XI. Current Events and Comics :
1. Rethinking heroes and politics.
2. Comics take on modern politics.
3. The President and Comics.
4. Globalization and comics.
XII. Conclusion :
1. Closing Statements.
2. Comics in the Classroom.
3. The future of comics and politics.
CRACK! Lightning shoots across the screen, the villain has just been utterly destroyed and defeated. This defeat was inevitable to most. A movie about a guy flying around with the mystical hammer, Mjllorin, and the powers of Thor, Norse god of thunder, is something many didn’t envision during the birth of the American comic superhero 75 years ago. Even then most stories were written for adults, but discounted as “kids’ stuff.”
The emergence of the American comic book was a development of an entirely new form of literature. Though, during the beginnings of the now multi-billion dollar industry people had no idea the significance in culture this new medium would be. Intertwining stories and images was a novelty, usually reserved for children’s books. Even today the significance of events and impact the American comic book has regarding American culture and politics is often ignored. While comics and graphic novels have seen a renaissance in the new millennium with countless film adaptations, they are still overlooked by a majority of scholars and lumped into a sub category of culture “alternative media.”
When bringing up politics and comics, the first thing one may think of is a favorite political cartoon by Ed Subitzky or a historical reference of a statement illustrated in classic engravings by early 18 Century cartoonist, William Charles. These cartoons may be inspirational, they may be satirical; but they are not comics. The comic book medium has much more to offer in its pages of story, and can go even further in depth than one picture with a snarky blurb.
Like all forms of media, American culture and the changing of the times can be illustrated in comics. There are even some revolutionary ideas inside the “funny books” sitting on the magazine rack. One can track economic, political, and social trends through the pages of comics. Reading a copy of Art Spiegelman’s Maus; and you will find a well written graphic novel can capture just as much truth or history as a film, sitcom, documentary, or magazine feature.
Creators have a chance to get messages to a mass audience, young and old. The broad base audience is why comics were the first media to be actively censored and screened in the United States; a blow to the First Amendment of the Constitution many do not know about or remember. Political climate of the US has affected comics, just as much as comics have affected politics. The Civil Rights Movement may have had a good deal of underground comics distributed through “head shops” across America; but it also was brought to the forefront by creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The evident relationship American comics share with cultural, political, and social change over 100 years of modern US history will continue through the new millennium; and the popularity of the medium will eventually cause the “alternative” tag to be dropped as comics and graphic novels have established themselves to be a relevant form of literature.