• How Maus Changed the Place of Comics in Culture

    Two new books trace the path of Art Spiegelman's masterpiece from an underground serialized story to an educational text, a process which has unfortunately tended to shape the work to the needs of a society that is obliged to teach about the Holocaust but uncomfortable learning about it. 

  • What You Need to Know About Captain America's Secret Identity

    by Roy Schwartz

    "You know the story: a young, undersized, aspiring artist from New York’s Lower East Side who loves his country and hates bullies uses a superhero persona to take on the Nazis and becomes a war hero. It’s the origin of Captain America. It’s also the origin of Jack Kirby, his co-creator."

  • How Superman Became a Christ-Figure

    by Roy Schwartz

    How did the comic book creation of two American Jews, whose origin story incorporates Moses, come to be understood as a stand-in for Jesus? Mostly through the movies. 

  • The Vigilante World of Comic Books

    A major theme of Jeremy Dauber's new history of comics is the tension between democratic values and the desire to eradicate evil through overwhelming force. 

  • For Research, Portland State Prof Read 60 Years of Marvel Comics

    Douglas Wolk argues in "All the Marvels" that the more than 27,000 comics he read are the "longest, continuous, self-contained work of fiction ever created," but doesn't necessarily advise any comics fans to try to repeat his research process. 

  • Lucky Luke, the Comic Book Cowboy, Discovers Race, Belatedly

    While Emmanuel Macron decries American obsessions with race and prejudice, right-wing French comics readers have reacted with anger to an effort to update the longstanding cowboy-themed comic franchise with heroic Black characters. 

  • The Hate-Mongers: Characterizing Racism in Comics

    by Patrick L. Hamilton and Allan W. Austin

    The Hate-Monger, a supervillain introduced by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963, called attention to the destructive power of bigotry, but today readers should resist the idea that defeating any one person, no matter who or how powerful they might be, can eliminate racism. 

  • DC Comics and the American Dilemma of Race

    by Patrick L. Hamilton and Allan W. Austin

    Superhero popular culture has always been embedded within American racial attitudes, reflecting and even contributing to them in ways that reveal goodwill is not sufficient, in and of itself, to fix our problems.

  • America’s postwar fling with romance comics

    by Michael C. Weisenburg

    Grounded in artistic and narrative realism, romance comics were remarkably different from their superhero and sci-fi peers. While the post-war popularity of romance comics only lasted a few years, these love stories ended up actually having a strong influence on other genres.

  • When Anarchy Ruled the Funny Pages

    A new, large-format book captures the dawn of comics, when the medium had no rules and its messages were surprisingly irreverent.

  • '50s anti-comic crusade fudged his data

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Behavioral problems among teenagers and preteens can be blamed on the violence, sex and gore portrayed in the media marketed to them – that was the topic of televised public hearings held by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954 to address the scourge of comic books. The hearings, which resulted in the decimation of what was an enormous comic book industry, had been inspired in large part by the book “Seduction of the Innocent,” by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, based on his own case studies.