The first comic book superhero premiered in 1938 when Superman appeared on the cover of Action Comics #1. For almost seventy years his adventures and the adventures of other costumed heroes have been continually published. Batman soon joined Superman as a popular costumed crime-fighter, and the early 1960s saw another generation of superheroes created that would be embraced in American culture. Among this new group of heroes were Spider-Man and the X-Men. An exploration of why some of the most popular comic book characters have such resonance will provide insights into American mindsets, ideologies, and philosophies. Furthermore, comic books are uniquely positioned because their characters' adventures have been published on a monthly schedule for decades, so a consideration of the alterations made in the narratives to reflect the changing times will be enlightening. The never-ending narratives of comic book characters provide a unique opportunity to analyze how superheroes have evolved across the decades to remain relevant for new generations of Americans.
Joseph J., Darowski.
Joseph J. Darowski is a doctoral student enrolled in Michigan State University's American Studies program. He plans to complete his PhD in 2011. He received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in English from Brigham Young University. His areas of study include popular culture, Latino/a literature and theory, American literature, and comic books.