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When Art Spiegelman's Maus-a two-part graphic novel about the Holocaust-won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992, comics scholarship grew increasingly popular and notable. The rise of "serious" comics has generated growing levels of interest as scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals continue to explore the history, aesthetics, and semiotics of the comics medium.
Yet those who write about the comics often assume analysis of the medium didn't begin until the cultural studies movement was underway. Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium brings together nearly two dozen essays by major writers and intellectuals who analyzed, embraced, and even attacked comic strips and comic books in the period between the turn of the century and the 1960s. From e. e. cummings, who championed George Herriman's Krazy Kat, to Irving Howe, who fretted about Harold Gray's Little Orphan Annie, this volume shows that comics have provided a key battleground in the culture wars for over a century.
With substantive essays by Umberto Eco, Marshall McLuhan, Leslie Fiedler, Gilbert Seldes, Dorothy Parker, Irving Howe, Delmore Schwartz, and others, this anthology shows how all of these writers took up comics-related topics as a point of entry into wider debates over modern art, cultural standards, daily life, and mass communication.
Arguing Comics shows how prominent writers from the Jazz Age and the Depression era to the heyday of the New York Intellectuals in the 1950s thought about comics and, by extension, popular culture as a whole.
|From "The tyranny of the pictorial"||4|
|From "The reign of the spectacular"||7|
|From "The humor of the colored supplement"||9|
|Introduction to Frans Masereel, Passionate journey : a novel told in 165 woodcuts||13|
|"The krazy kat that walks by himself"||22|
|"A foreword to krazy"||30|
|"A mash note to Crockett Johnson"||35|
|"Steig's cartoons : review of all embarrassed by William Steig"||40|
|"Limits of common sense : review of Years of wrath : a cartoon history, 1931-1945 by David Low"||41|
|"Notes on mass culture"||43|
|"Masterpieces as cartoons"||52|
|"Woofed with dreams"||63|
|"Paul, the horror comics, and Dr. Wertham"||67|
|"The labyrinth of Saul Steinberg"||81|
|"Mickey Mouse and Americanism"||94|
|"Bogey sticks for pogo men"||99|
|From The mechanical bride : folklore of industrial man||102|
|"Comics : Mad vestibule to TV"||107|
|From Love and death : a study in censorship||112|
|"The middle against both ends"||122|
|"Over the cliff"||134|
|"Reprise : 'Love and dealth' "||138|
|"C. L. R. James on comic strips"||142|
|"Letter to Daniel Bell"||144|
|"The myth of superman"||146|