Comics and Conflict: Patriotism and Propaganda From WWII through Operation Iraqi Freedom

“Comics and Conflict: Patriotism and Propaganda From WWII through Operation Iraqi Freedom” by Cord A. Scott, 224 pages, Naval Institute Press, $49.95

Review by J.Ford. Huffman

With themes of “realism, politics and aesthetics,” comic books “both mirrored and manufactured popular attitudes to war,” says the scholar and fan.
Comics also “directly reflect their audience’s fantasies, nightmares, and delusions.” For example, writers worry “that children might expect Superman (1938), with his incredible powers, to resolve {World War II} by himself” so they keep him out of the military. Instead Clark Kent shows how civilians “play important parts in the war effort.”
Satire also has a part, and “the concept of patriotic superheroes pursuing political and military goals came to an apex in 1987 with ‘Reagan’s Raiders’.” That cover is one of only eight illustrations, a low number that is kryptonite in a survey of art.

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