Saturday, March 25, 2006

History of superheroes

I already posted a request for book names at Comics Journal Message Board, but I figured I'd post it here too since this has worked well for me in the past.

I'm looking specifically for any books that discuss how specific social conflicts of particular eras influenced the superhero comics of their day, and how those stories spoke back to the conflicts. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I'm hoping to write a paper on the subject for my English Honors seminar. In the past, I've had good luck managing to sneak my comic book obsession into my academics, though this semester the chances of doing this are slim. I've got one chance, and I'll be damned if I'm going to write my final Honors paper on Rudyard Kipling if I can do it about my beloved sadomasochistic harbringers of justice.


Ragnell said...

I haven't read it, but I hear The Complete History of Wonder Woman has a pretty good background of her social worth.

Wish I could be more help. I usually just rely on my own inferences and specific issue instances for this sort of insight. It'sd not hard to find a feminist movement parallel in 1964's Green Lantern #30 (Volume 5 of the archives) for example, or any of the 1970s Green Lantern stories.

Anonymous said...

Men Of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones is very good for that.

Mick Martin said...

Anonymous and ragnell, thanks for the recommendations.

Ragnell, yeah, I usually am able to rely on my own insight, unfortunately for this assignment I'm going to need a bit more. Basically, the only way the professor is going to allow me to write this paper is if it has some concrete connections to what we've been doing in the class. We just finished writing papers about Rudyard Kipling's Kim (a novel about a young Irish boy in India who is eventually raised to become a spy for the English against the Russians, who at the time were trying to push into Afghanistan) looking at it in the context of what was going on in debates about England's colonial rule over India.

So, in order to make this paper work I need to get enough of a concrete historical background to be able to tell the professor "See! See! I did what I was supposed to!"