Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History

Abstract

Illustration has been an integral part of human history. Particularly before the advent of media such as photography, film, television, and now the Internet, illustrations in all their variety have been the primary visual way to convey history. The comic book, which emerged in its modern form in the 1930s, was another form of visual entertainment that gave readers, especially children, a form of escape.

As World War II began, however, comic books became an integral part of war propaganda as well providing information and education for both children and adults. This dissertation looks at how specific comic books of the war genre have been used to display patriotism, adventure through war stories, and eventually to tell of the horrors of combat--from World War II through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

This dissertation also examines how war- and patriotically-themed comics evolved from soldier-drawn reflections of society, eventually developing along with the broader comic book medium into a mirror of American society during times of conflict. These comic books generally reflected patriotic fervor, but sometimes they advanced a specific cause. As war comic books evolved along with American society, many

also served as a form of protest against United States foreign and military policy. During the country's most recent wars, however, patriotism has made a comeback, at the same time that the grim realties of combat are depicted more realistically than ever before.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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