Articles on Comics

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‘Maus’ and ‘Watchmen’ are two of the most well-known graphic novels. Ken Whytock/flickr

How the graphic novel got its misleading moniker

The graphic novel has become a literary phenomenon, but the name doesn't adequately describe the medium's flexibility, diversity and potential.
The first issue of Black Panther, a Marvel series written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, was released last month. Marvel Comics

Why the stakes are so high for the Black Panther

In the entertainment industry, the success or failure of a minority lead can be a referendum on whether or not to use diverse leads for future projects.
The ubiquitous superhero finally seems to be growing up and moving on. Eneas De Troya

What superheroes looked like in 2015

It was the year of the grown-up superhero. Dark, witty and complex, superheroes on the big and small screen have – mostly – matured past mindless violence.
Superman’s over the hill. 'Superhero' via www.shutterstock.com

The twilight of the superhero?

The flop of the Fantastic Four seems to suggest that viewers are more eager to embrace characters who reflect our inherently flawed humanity.
Cartoons can inspire rage – but they can also tell the stories of the marginalised. A panel from The Arrival by Shaun Tan, Lothian Children’s Books, an imprint of Hachette Australia, 2006.

Seeing the unseen: the stories that comics help us recognise

In the month since the the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, the significance of visual representation has been a topic of much discussion. Political cartoons have the potential to reinforce problematic stereotypes…
The Guardians of the Galaxy – whose protagonists are a morally-gray motley crew – could be seen as a satire of the classic hero tradition. BagoGames/Flickr

Guardians of the Galaxy and the fall of the classic hero

A beautiful assassin. A superstrong thug. A star-lost child of the ‘80s. A sentient tree. A gun-toting raccoon. Meet the morally gray protagonists of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, the film that raked…
Lynda Carter as Diana Prince in the New Original Wonder Woman. Her bullet-deflecting bracelets are made from an impervious metal: feminum. Retrogasm/Flickr

Where have all the wonder women gone?

In the epilogue to Jill Lepore’s new book, The Secret History of Wonder Woman, we learn about Wonder Woman’s importance to the American feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Lepore briefly notes Wonder…
When superheroes die on the page, fans have learned not to mourn their deaths. FRacco/Wikimedia Commons

Wolverine’s dead! (well, for now)

Among comic book fans, there’s the joke that the only characters in superhero comics who stay dead are Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben, Batman’s parents, and Captain America’s sidekick Bucky. For everybody else…
“A few days rest in billets”. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library

Comics tap into the real emotions of the world wars

In its new exhibition, the British Library celebrate the subversive history of the comic. As ever, such a complex heritage can hardly be covered in such a show. But it is a symptom of a more widespread…
Let’s pause to consider the rich mythology of this 75-year-old icon. James

Holy birthday, Batman! Sizing up the Caped Crusader at 75

This year the world’s most popular superhero, Batman, celebrates his 75th birthday. From inauspicious beginnings in a six-page comic to the transmedia anchor of one of the world’s largest media conglomerates…

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