Comic Books and the Cold War, 1946-1962: Essays on Graphic Treatment of Communism, the Code and Social Concerns

Comic Books and the Cold War, 1946-1962: Essays on Graphic Treatment of Communism, the Code and Social Concerns

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Overview

Conventional wisdom holds that comic books of the post-World War II era are poorly drawn and poorly written publications, notable only for the furor they raised. Contributors to this thoughtful collection, however, demonstrate that these comics constitute complex cultural documents that create a dialogue between mainstream values and alternative beliefs that question or complicate the grand narratives of the era. Close analysis of individual titles, including EC comics, Superman, romance comics, and other, more obscure works, reveals the ways Cold War culture—from atomic anxieties and the nuclear family to communist hysteria and social inequalities—manifests itself in the comic books of the era. By illuminating the complexities of mid-century graphic novels, this study demonstrates that postwar popular culture was far from monolithic in its representation of American values and beliefs.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786449811
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 02/08/2012
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Chris York has taught English at Pine Technical College in Pine City, Minnesota. He has been an active participant in the Comics and Comic Art Area at the National Popular Culture Association Conference for nearly a decade, and his comics scholarship has appeared in the International Journal of Comic Art. Rafiel York is a teacher in Jackson, Minnesota.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Preface 1

Introduction: Frederic Wertham, Containment, and Comic Books

CHRIS YORK and RAFIEL YORK 5



PART I : CONTAINING COMMUNISM, CONTROLLING THE ATOM

1. Lights, Camera, Action 101: A Brief Lesson on How to See an Atomic Bomb

NATHAN ATKINSON 19

2. Decrypting Espionage Comic Books in 1950s America

PETER LEE 30

3. “He Was a Living Breathing Human Being”: Harvey Kurtzman’s War Comics and the “Yellow Peril” in 1950s Containment Culture

CHRISTOPHER B. FIELD 45

4. “I Can Pass Right Through Solid Matter!”: How the Flash Upheld American Values While Breaking the Speed Limit

FREDERICK A. WRIGHT 55

5. Jack Kirby’s Challengers of the Unknown: Establishing Order in an Age of Anxiety

PHILLIP PAYNE and PAUL J. SPAETH 68

6. Red Menace on the Moon: Containment in Space as Depicted in Comics of the 1950s

JOHN DONOVAN 79



PART II: CONTAINING SEXUALITY IN THE COLD WAR

7. Girls Who Sinned in Secret and Paid in Public: Romance Comics, 1949–1954

JEANNE GARDNER 92

8. Rebellion in Riverdale

RAFIEL YORK 103

9. The Amazon Mystique: Subverting Cold War Domesticity in Wonder Woman Comics, 1948–1965

RUTH MCCLELLAND-NUGENT 115

10. The Girls in White: Nurse Images in Early Cold War Era Romance and War Comics

CHRISTOPHER J. HAYTON and SHEILA HAYTON 129

11. Horror Camp: Homoerotic Subtext in EC Comics

DIANA GREEN 146



PART III: THE PROBLEM OF CONSENSUS

12. “Dedicated to the Youth of America”: Deviant Narration in Crime Does Not Pay

CHRIS YORK 156

13. MAD’s Guest Writers

LAWRENCE RODMAN 169

14. Beyond the Frontier: Turok, Son of Stone and the Native American in Cold War America

CHRIS YORK 179

15. East Europeans in the Cold War Comic This Godless Communism

ALEXANDER MAXWELL 190

16. The Fantastic Four: A Mirror of Cold War America

RAFIEL YORK 204



About the Contributors 217

Index 219

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