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Social Movements as Presented Throughout Comic Book History; Focusing Primarily on DC's "The Green Lantern"

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Too often are American superhero comics dismissed as childish or simplistic. However, American superhero comics have evolved alongside American society throughout history, and have, in many cases, made a conscious effort to represent progressive movements that have arisen within various

Too often are American superhero comics dismissed as childish or simplistic. However, American superhero comics have evolved alongside American society throughout history, and have, in many cases, made a conscious effort to represent progressive movements that have arisen within various respective decades. This thesis will analyze the progression of American superhero comics as they have evolved throughout the decades, this essay will focus primarily on the comic book storylines of DC's, The Green Lantern, throughout the Golden, Silver, Bronze and Modern Ages of comic book history. The Golden Age was defined by war efforts and support for World War II. The Silver Age was under heavy regulation by the Comic Code Authority and had to water down content from serious topics. Despite this regulation, Silver Age comics were able to symbolize and support or oppose social movements during their respective decade. However, the Bronze Age acted as a turning point for comic book plotlines and characterization. After the Bronze Age, censorship of comic book content was nonexistent and more complex plotlines were developed. From then on the Modern Age of comics would continue to openly explore societal movements and serve as a social commentary. To explore this change, the contents of this essay will usher a discourse on how the American superhero was used to first express American propaganda, and how, throughout the twentieth century and even to this day, the superhero was transformed into a medium that examines social phenomena such as political causes and discrimination. To further analyze and compare social movements to American comics, this will focus primarily on DC's The Green Lantern comic books and how the superhero changed throughout comic book history.

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2017-05

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Graphic Empathy: Graphic Novels in the Secondary History Classroom

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Over the last twenty years, comic books and graphic novels have slowly found their way into the field of education. Scholars have used this time to study the opportunities afforded by these “Graphic Novel Classrooms” and have found a plethora

Over the last twenty years, comic books and graphic novels have slowly found their way into the field of education. Scholars have used this time to study the opportunities afforded by these “Graphic Novel Classrooms” and have found a plethora of strategies and theories to support students and teachers alike. However, history and social studies classrooms are largely left out of this discourse. This absence is perplexing, as these classrooms spend an enormous amount of time analyzing texts and images while building essential literacy skills. Through primary and secondary sources, these history classrooms discuss author intent and ruminate on imagery and themes in much the same way as classrooms that assign graphic novels. Despite this, few scholars advocate for the use of graphic novels in the history classroom. By combining modern theories of literacy education, historical education, and developmental psychology, this thesis concludes that the use of graphic novels in secondary history classrooms creates unique and powerful opportunities in education that have gone largely ignored. This relationship is inherently benefitted by theories of historical thinking and historical empathy, both of which work together to teach history as a process of humanistic understanding and discovery rather than a memorization of names and dates. This thesis accomplishes this by analyzing multiple historically-based graphic novels, deconstructing their contents alongside Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. This comparison is used to explore what makes the graphic novel inherently beneficial to the history classroom. Many supposed challenges of the graphic novel in the history classroom, such as inherently subjective representations of history, actually add to the process of historical discovery. Through subjective imagery, students are allowed to think critically and compare accounts to determine the “how” and “why” of these representations. This thesis concludes with a classroom guide, taking the graphic novels discussed throughout and designing lesson outlines to be used in any history classroom. Additionally, this thesis highlights the need for change within historical education. Many historical educators find themselves lacking in time to take on assigned readings, resisting the need for exploration and discovery, or failing to recognize the accessibility of the graphic novel in their classroom.

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2020-05