Champions of the Oppressed: Superhero Comics, Popular Culture, and Propaganda in America During Worl
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Title: Champions of the Oppressed
Sub-title: Superhero Comics, Popular Culture, and Propaganda in America During World War II
Author(s): Christopher Murray
Publish Date: February 2011
|This book explores the relationship between American superhero comics and propaganda during World War II. It contends that superhero comics were an important means by which the war was represented to the American people and argues that the ideological links between superhero comics and propaganda resides in the imagery and rhetoric they both employed in order to fashion, maintain and reshape conceptions of identity, power, and morality for political purposes.|
Throughout superhero comics are compared with examples of wartime propaganda, and various forms of contemporaneous popular culture (films, animated cartoons, caricature, and advertising) in order to reveal similar or contrasting discursive strategies, and to locate these comics in relation to the wider context of the propaganda campaign in American popular culture.
This interaction between popular culture and propaganda had serious repercussions for the way in which the war, and myths of All-American patriotic values, were represented to the public, and for the ways they continue to be represented. Throughout the course of the book the mythic power of the superhero is explored, demonstrating that the superhero was (and remains) a powerful, yet mobile, myth, reflecting many of the dominant concerns of American society, politics and culture and presenting these political ideals as entertainment, the most pernicious form of propaganda.
Contents: Preface, Roger Sabin. INTRODUCTION. Superheroes and the American Dream. The Superhero as Political Metaphor. Forging an Industry. The Rise of the Superheroes. THE ARSENAL OF DEMOCRACY—PROPAGANDA, POPULAR CULTURE, AND SUPERHERO COMICS. Selling the War: “The World’s Greatest Adventure in Advertising”. The Politics of Persuasion: Toward a Democratic Propaganda? Censoring the War. “It’s a Refreshing War!” CHAMPIONS OF THE OPPRESSED—SUPERHEROES AND THE MYTHOLOGY OF THE ALL-AMERICAN HERO. Defining Myth. Myths of the All-American Hero. The Mediated War. “Get Hot, Keep Moving”: The Male Body at War. The Everyman Hero. The Supereveryman. Produce for Victory: The Production Soldier. I Want YOU for the Everyman Army. OTHER AMERICAS—COMICS AND COUNTERMYTHS. Wonder Women at War. Sex War. Into a World Torn by the Hatreds and Wars of Men—Wonder Woman. The Far From Monstrous Regiment of Superheroines. The Children’s Crusade. Remember Dorie Miller. Lost Legacies: The Other Americas. SMASH THE AXIS! THE ENEMY AND STRATEGIES OF OTHERNESS. Othering the Enemy. The Nasty, Nasty Nazi. The Return of the Yellow Peril. “De-Othering” the Red Menace: G.I. Joe Meets Uncle Joe. Evaluating the Strategy of Otherness. POSTWAR PROPAGANDA IN COMICS. Superheroes Post-9/11. Conclusion. Bibliography. Author Index. Subject Index