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Terry, David Taft. "Imagining a Strange New World: Racial integration and social justice advocacy in marvel comics, 1966–1980." Soul Thieves. The Appropriation and Misrepresentation of African American Popular Culture. Eds. Tamara Lizette Brown and Baruti N. Kopano. Contemporary Black History. New York [etc.]: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 151–99. 
Added by: joachim (5/6/16, 4:48 PM)   
Resource type: Book Chapter
Language: en: English
DOI: 10.1057/9781137071392_9
BibTeX citation key: Terry2014
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Categories: General
Keywords: Ethnicity, Marvel, Superhero, USA
Creators: Brown, Kopano, Terry
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (New York [etc.])
Collection: Soul Thieves. The Appropriation and Misrepresentation of African American Popular Culture
Views: 32/422
“Faster than a speeding bullet! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Even the comic book novice knows that these phrases describe Superman, the first superhero introduced to the world of comic books in 1938—just five years after the nascent industry produced its first book Funnies on Parade. Other luminaries such as Archie and Wonder Woman followed in the next decade and the burgeoning business saw the printing of 125 various titles that sold 25 million copies per month and grossed $30 million annually. During World War II, soldiers escaped the drudgery of battle by reading comics, a “cheap and exchangeable” form of entertainment. The offerings proliferated in the postwar era with a variety of more adult-centered themes including romance, crime dramas, horror thrillers, and science fiction. The superhero category suffered a decline from which it would not recover until it was again the predominant genre in the 1960s. Though romance comics garnered the largest segment of adult readership, the growth of the crime and horror market alarmed the public and ushered in an “anti-comic book crusade.” Self-sanctioning by the industry in 1954 decimated the adult audience and allowed for the trade to refocus on men and some women with superhuman strength and abilities. It is in this era coinciding with the Civil Rights and Black Power movements and the gains won and lost entering into the conservative eighties that David Taft Terry centers “Imagining a Strange New World: Racial Integration and Social Justice Advocacy in Marvel Comics, 1966–1980.” He does a masterful job in demonstrating how Marvel Comics attempted to react to the changing times by introducing black characters in several of its series. Terry chronicles the comic giant in its attempts at integrationist advocacy, reform of the black ghetto, embrace of blaxploitation, and eventual move to deemphasize race and thus de-race superheroes as the industry becomes more specialized. Such themes treated with a dearth of black writers and artists are problematic in that whites typically presented their take on racial issues by embodying characters with a manufactured blackness. At the same time such race-based situations and attitudes were emblematic of the double-consciousness and isolation that African Americans experienced in the real world as civil rights gains opened previously off-limit employment opportunities where many found themselves as the solitary, or one of few, blacks in the workplace attempting to prove their merit and ability against a perceived affirmative action quota.” (Tamara Lizette Brown: Preface, xix)
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