The Meaning of Superhero Comic Books by Terrence R. Wandtke

By Terrence R. Wandtke

For many years, students were making the relationship among the layout of the superhero tale and the mythology of the traditional folktale. relocating past basic comparisons and customary causes, this quantity information how the workings of the superhero comics and the conventions of the medium have constructed a tradition like that of conventional epic storytelling. It chronicles the continuation of the oral/traditional tradition of the early twentieth century superhero within the never-ending diversifications on Superman and indicates how Frederic Wertham's anti-comic campaign within the mid-1950s helped make comics the main countercultural new medium of the 20 th century. through revealing how modern superhero comics, like Geoff Johns' eco-friendly Lantern and Warren Ellis's The Authority, attach conventional aesthetics and postmodern theories, this paintings explains why the superhero comedian publication thrives within the "new traditional" form of our acutely self-conscious electronic age.

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Extra resources for The Meaning of Superhero Comic Books

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In many ways, this overview of superhero comic book history given up to this point is meant to acknowledge what seem to be inherent difficulties with regarding comic books as a manifestation of oral culture. In addition to being an product of print technology and containing printed information, comic books are the end result of printing innovations such as Alois Senefelder’s lithography and the four color printing process (famously associated with comic books in the form of benday dots); this would seem to develop a visual sensibility that has the potential to further the literate mind’s desensitization to the aural.

In addition, with aural sensitivity no longer a necessity in the acquisition of knowledge, literate culture develops a greater sensitivity and general preference for the visual (and the development of visual culture marks a decisive move away from orality) (115–121). However, in regard to these two states of mind, the oral world can be described as free of an awareness shaped by characteristics of literacy, but the literate world will always be haunted by an 32 The Meaning of Superhero Comic Books awareness shaped by characteristics of orality: “In all the wonderful worlds that writing opens, the spoken word still resides and lives ...

According to Ong, critics had been describing the phenomenon of oral culture via ideas unique to the literate culture that, in historical reckoning, followed but did not supersede oral culture: “We tend ... to think of early oral cultures before the invention of script as simply illiterate or pre-literate, that is, as cultures without writing or before writing. ” (Ong, The Presence 19). In order to more fully establish this point, Ong used a metaphor with oral culture as a horse that has been identified by people within the era of the automobile as “a four-legged automobile without wheels” (21).

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