As American as jazz or rock and roll, comic books have been central in the nation's popular culture since Superman's debut in Action Comics #1. Selling in. Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America by Bradford W. Wright (March 22, ) on *FREE* shipping on qualifying. Includes bibliographical references and index. Superheroes for the common man : the birth of the comic book industry, -- Race.

Comic Book Nation The Transformation Of Youth Culture In America

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Download Citation on ResearchGate | On Jan 1, , Josh Ozersky and others published Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America. Comic books, Bradford W. Wright argues, have been an important part of youth culture, especially boy culture, since the late s. Until the. As American as jazz or rock and roll, comic books have been central in the nation's popular culture since Superman's debut in Action Comics #1.

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Comic Book Nation

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Advanced embedding details, examples, and help! Publication date Publisher Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Collection inlibrary ; printdisabled ; internetarchivebooks ; china.

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Language English. Includes bibliographical references and index Superheroes for the common man: As American as jazz or rock and roll, comic books have been central in the nation's popular culture since Superman's debut in Action Comics 1. The author offers a history of the comic book industry within the context of twentieth-century American society.

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Johns Hopkins UP, At the peak of their popularity, between and , just before the usual defenders of public morality would condemn them as a seditious influence upon innocent children, comic books were read by more than ninety percent of American youth under eighteen.

And although comic books would never again attain such halcyon heights of popularity, gradually retreating from the shelves of most retailers into specialty stores frequented by a small and rapidly aging base of hard-core fans, their influence on American culture nevertheless remains strong, as anyone who has ever lined up for one of Hollywood's multi-million dollar special effects extravaganzas could attest.

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A study of the comic book's place in American culture is, then, long overdue, and Bradford W. Wright's Comic Book Nation is an ambitious, lucid, and exhaustively researched effort to fill that void.

Spanning their birth in the s through their glory days as the preferred reading of American G. By setting the development of the comic book industry against the backdrop of political and social change in American life, Wright examines how comic books reflected, and at times even influenced, those changes.

He demonstrates, for instance, how Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Superman, the archetype of all the other costumed heroes who would dominate the comic book medium and form its only truly indigenous genre, was, in his original characterization as a "champion of the oppressed," 11 the first of many "super-New Dealers" 24 who exposed corporate greed and fought for the cause of social reform.

But this is only the first of many interactions between comics and culture. Even before the United States' entrance into World War II, superheroes like Captain America had declared war on the Nazis, and in their insistence "that the enemy was absolutely evil and deserving of no mercy," Wright suggests, "comic books tacitly invited support for Allied policies like the demand for unconditional surrender, the strategic bombing of civilian populations, and the use of the atom bomb" Comic Book Nation is at its best, though, as it explores the controversy over comic book violence and juvenile delinquency that roiled the placid surface of American life in the s.

Wright, who seems to have read everything that was written on comic books during this period, meticulously chronicles the debates that played out in magazines and newspapers—and ultimately in courts and legislatures too—as concerned adults grappled with a youth culture that they did not understand, in a controversy that presaged our contemporary debates on such topics as violence in the media and gangster rap.

Among his more surprising findings is Wright's identification of Dr. Frederic Wertham, the most famous of the anti-comic book crusaders and the author of the notorious indictment of comics Seduction of the Innocent, as a closet liberal whose concerns were actually "rooted in a general, almost Marxist, critique of American commercial culture" But if Wright's narrative is a well-crafted account of the comic book industry's various triumphs and trials as it struggles for cultural legitimacy and a sustainable market share of America's entertainment spending, his analyses of comic book narratives are sometimes frustrating.

More often than not, what we find in Comic Book Nation are summaries of comic book stories with only the most basic commentary. When, for instance, Wright wants to show the post-war liberal outlook of Fawcett Comics, publishers of Captain Marvel, the only s era super hero who outsold Superman, we are treated to a typical summary of the story "Captain Marvel: Citizen of the Universe," whose plot line involving the misleading appearances of two sets of aliens—one ugly and one handsome—"illustrates the consequences of intolerance" Access options available:.The Great Depression created a distance between the American dream and reality.

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Such is Wright's tale in Comic Book Nation , told at rather greater length and without much analytic insight or narrative art. Finally, his research only makes it to the early 's and the resurgence of the vigilante type super hero. The complexities of the culture had exceeded the complexities of the comic books.

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