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Title: America dreaming after the bomb : history and fantasy in Marvel Comics, 1961-1976
Author: Nelson, Timothy James.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3441 4234
Awarding Body: University of Hull
Current Institution: University of Hull
Date of Award: 2006
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The purpose of this research is to examine the body of material produced by Marvel Comics between 1961 and 1976, with a view to considering how these comic books relate to broader currents in American cultural history. The investigation sets the company's aesthetic innovations against the conventions of the superhero genre to explore how the material "made itself new, " and to ask what larger factors contributed to such developments. The ability of popular culture to reflect and depict historical change and development is this project's ultimate concern. The main body of the project begins by examining the background to the company's material after 1961, particularly through an examination of the original socalled "golden age" of American comics. The fortunes of the original American superheroesr ose and fell with the tides of the SecondW orld War. This thesis argues that Marvel Comics' reinvention of the genre in the 1960s succeededb y reflecting the existential angst of a new, post-atomic audience. The company's utilisation of ambiguity, irony and satire subverted genre convention to capture that new readership. However, while Marvel Comics sought to steer a middle path between established convention and radical innovation, the subversive nature of its genre experiments and the company's commitment to contemporaneity set it on a collision course with established American values in the wake of the failure in Vietnam. The material is not, therefore, worthy of greater investigation simply because of its reflection of broader historical trends, significant though this is, but because, the company demonstrated how popular culture could go beyond conventional formulas to challenge accepted cultural myths and represent radical change through its fantasy narratives. This project seeks to account for this period by correcting the gaps and inaccuracies of existing research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available