Secret Identity Crisis: Comic Books and the Unmasking of Cold War America

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9780826429988: Secret Identity Crisis: Comic Books and the Unmasking of Cold War America

What Cold War-era superheroes reveal about American society and foreign policy
Physicist Bruce Banner, caught in the nuclear explosion of his experimental gamma bomb, is transformed into the rampaging green monster, the Hulk. High school student Peter Parker, bitten by an irradiated spider, gains its powers and becomes Spiderman. Reed Richards and his friends are caught in a belt of cosmic radiation while orbiting the Earth in a spacecraft and are transformed into the Fantastic Four. While Stan Lee suggests he clung to the hackneyed idea of radioactivity in creating Marvel's stable of superheroes because of his limited imagination, radiation and the bomb are nonetheless the big bang that spawned the Marvel universe.

The Marvel superheroes that came to dominate the comic book industry for most of the last five decades were born under the mushroom cloud of potential nuclear war that was a cornerstone of the four-decade bipolar division of the world between the US and USSR. These stories were consciously set in this world and reflect the changing culture of cold War (and post-cold War) America. Like other forms of popular entertainment, comic books tend to be very receptive to cultural trends, reflect them, comment on them, and sometimes inaugurate them.

Secret Identity Crisis follows the trajectory of the breakdown of the cold War consensus after 1960 through the lens of superhero comic books. Those developed by Marvel, because of their conscious setting in the contemporary world, and because of attempts to maintain a continuous story line across and within books, constitute a system of signs that reflect, comment upon, and interact with the American political economy. This groundbreaking new study focuses on a handful of titles and signs that specifically involve political economic codes, including Captain America, the Invincible Iron Man, Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD, the Incredible Hulk to reveal how the American self was transformed and/or reproduced during the late Cold War and after.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Matthew J. Costello, PhD, is Professor of Political Science at Saint Xavier University, Chicago.

Review:

"Overall, the book makes an interesting case for the course of development in the character histories of [Captain America], Iron Man, and Nick Fury as being inseparable from the cultural climate of the late 20th century... He blends interpretations of larger trends in the character's development with canny close readings of individual issues that highlight his arguments. ...The chapters move smoothly and at a brisk clip, bringing to life the vibrant medium Costello is working with..."
-Popmatters.com
"Costello's impressively dense study makes some interesting points."The Guardian, September 2009

"Overall, the book makes an interesting case for the course of development in the character histories of [Captain America], Iron Man, and Nick Fury as being inseparable from the cultural climate of the late 20th century... He blends interpretations of larger trends in the character’s development with canny close readings of individual issues that highlight his arguments. ...The chapters move smoothly and at a brisk clip, bringing to life the vibrant medium Costello is working with..."
-Popmatters.com
"Costello’s impressively dense study makes some interesting points."The Guardian, September 2009

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Secret Identity Crisis follows the trajectory of the breakdown of the Cold War consensus after 1960 through the lens of superhero comic books. The superhero comic books developed by Marvel, because of their conscious setting in the contemporary world, and because of attempts to maintain a continuous story line across and within books, constitute a system of signs that reflect, comment upon, and at times have interacted with the American political economy.Physicist Bruce Banner, caught in the nuclear explosion of his experimental gamma bomb is transformed into the rampaging green monster, the Hulk. High school student Peter Parker, bitten by an irradiated spider, gains the powers of the spider and becomes Spiderman. Reed Richards and his friends are caught in a belt of cosmic radiation while orbiting the Earth in a spacecraft and are transformed into the Fantastic Four. While Stan Lee suggests he clung to the hackneyed idea of radioactivity in creating Marvel s stable of superheroes because of his limited imagination, radiation and the bomb are nonetheless the big bang that spawned the Marvel universe.The Marvel superhero comic that came to dominate the comic book industry for most of the last five decades was born under the mushroom cloud of potential nuclear war that was a cornerstone of the four-decade bipolar division of the world between the US and USSR. These stories were consciously set in this world and reflect the changing culture of Cold War (and post-Cold War) America. Like other forms of popular entertainment, comic books tend to be very receptive to cultural trends, reflect them, comment on them, and sometimes inaugurate them. This groundbreaking study focuses on a handful of titles and signs that specifically involve political economic codes, to reveal how the American self was transformed and/or reproduced during the late Cold War and after. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780826429988

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Secret Identity Crisis follows the trajectory of the breakdown of the Cold War consensus after 1960 through the lens of superhero comic books. The superhero comic books developed by Marvel, because of their conscious setting in the contemporary world, and because of attempts to maintain a continuous story line across and within books, constitute a system of signs that reflect, comment upon, and at times have interacted with the American political economy.Physicist Bruce Banner, caught in the nuclear explosion of his experimental gamma bomb is transformed into the rampaging green monster, the Hulk. High school student Peter Parker, bitten by an irradiated spider, gains the powers of the spider and becomes Spiderman. Reed Richards and his friends are caught in a belt of cosmic radiation while orbiting the Earth in a spacecraft and are transformed into the Fantastic Four. While Stan Lee suggests he clung to the hackneyed idea of radioactivity in creating Marvel s stable of superheroes because of his limited imagination, radiation and the bomb are nonetheless the big bang that spawned the Marvel universe.The Marvel superhero comic that came to dominate the comic book industry for most of the last five decades was born under the mushroom cloud of potential nuclear war that was a cornerstone of the four-decade bipolar division of the world between the US and USSR.These stories were consciously set in this world and reflect the changing culture of Cold War (and post-Cold War) America. Like other forms of popular entertainment, comic books tend to be very receptive to cultural trends, reflect them, comment on them, and sometimes inaugurate them. This groundbreaking study focuses on a handful of titles and signs that specifically involve political economic codes, to reveal how the American self was transformed and/or reproduced during the late Cold War and after. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780826429988

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Secret Identity Crisis follows the trajectory of the breakdown of the Cold War consensus after 1960 through the lens of superhero comic books. The superhero comic books developed by Marvel, because of their conscious setting in the contemporary world, and because of attempts to maintain a continuous story line across and within books, constitute a system of signs that reflect, comment upon, and at times have interacted with the American political economy.Physicist Bruce Banner, caught in the nuclear explosion of his experimental gamma bomb is transformed into the rampaging green monster, the Hulk. High school student Peter Parker, bitten by an irradiated spider, gains the powers of the spider and becomes Spiderman. Reed Richards and his friends are caught in a belt of cosmic radiation while orbiting the Earth in a spacecraft and are transformed into the Fantastic Four. While Stan Lee suggests he clung to the hackneyed idea of radioactivity in creating Marvel s stable of superheroes because of his limited imagination, radiation and the bomb are nonetheless the big bang that spawned the Marvel universe.The Marvel superhero comic that came to dominate the comic book industry for most of the last five decades was born under the mushroom cloud of potential nuclear war that was a cornerstone of the four-decade bipolar division of the world between the US and USSR. These stories were consciously set in this world and reflect the changing culture of Cold War (and post-Cold War) America. Like other forms of popular entertainment, comic books tend to be very receptive to cultural trends, reflect them, comment on them, and sometimes inaugurate them. This groundbreaking study focuses on a handful of titles and signs that specifically involve political economic codes, to reveal how the American self was transformed and/or reproduced during the late Cold War and after. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780826429988

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