DC Comics and it's influence on society today


The praetor of prattle
Apr 25, 2005
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Here is what I posted on the Community forum:

"Hey y'all,
I have a speech outline due on monday. The topic is "Comics and their impact on Society today."

I need at least 4 sources (published, not just websites)

Here is my theory,
In the last 7 decades since the introduction of the super-hero comic, the medium has advanced and influenced Americans and the world as a whole in ways that the majority of people do not even realize.

I read somewhere that the number two most recognizable person on the planet is Jesus Christ, the number one? Superman

I figured on throwing stuff out there that people may not realize comes from comics, Like 300. Almost every college student I know has seen that movie, yet 95% of them have no idea it came from a comic book.

I guess what I'm asking for here is a little help from all of y'all at the Hype.

What else should I talk about?
How have comics impacted or influenced society?
Changed Pop-culture?
Any comic form really, it isn't limited to just super hero comics, they just seem the most prevalent."

Now here is my question, is there anything in particular that for y'all here in the DC comics boards really stands out as impactful on society? Anything that has arisen from the DC books that has influenced the media or changed cultural perceptions or the culture itself?
Any ideas would help, I'm in a class full of people who hate comics and think they are silly and meaningless, I'd really like to show prove them wrong.
The Dark Knight Returns is probably responsible for making comic books every bit the cultural mythology of today that they were for the Golden and Silver Ages. The Bronze Age was a time when, although DC's books were probably at their best, comics' influence seemed to wane, even amid comic-based and comic-inspired movie franchises. Dark Knight Returns opened the Modern Age, and there's a very good reason that the Golden, Silver, and Modern Ages are remembered so much more vividly and distinctly than the Bronze. The Golden, Silver, and Modern Ages are ages of comicdom when comics were our pantheon, our mythology, our Mother Goose. Comics both reflect and shape moral systems. Is it any wonder that 20 years after Alan Moore reshaped the comic-book moral system, transforming a largely black-and-white worldview into a shaded-gray one, our entire culture seems to have done the same?

As for influential comics/creators that you can research (and there is published literature out there):
R. Crumb
Will Eisner (specifically, The Spirit, and his Contract With God books)
Art Speigelman (specifically, Maus and The Shadow of No Towers)
Tom Tomorrow (and his magnum opus, the daily political strip "This Modern World")
Alan Moore (Watchmen, The Killing Joke, V For Vendetta, LXG)
Comics are also repsponcible for the movies that are responsible for the posters *****ey frat guys put up in dorm rooms.

Hey guys, thanks for the input. Here is my final Speech outline. I give the speech on Wednesday. I tried to include what y'all said, but I found myself dumbing stuff down and editing out all the interesting bits so that the crowd would understand and I could fit in at the 7.30 minute mark. Also, I have no idea when Aztec number one was actually printed, I just made up a month. I guess I should go look that up. Anyone know where I could do that?

I. Introduction

A. Attention Getter: These are some Comic Books, 350 of them actually. On average, this is 25 pages of multi-colored, gloss coated, pure escapism.

B. Relate to the Audience: I personally read comics as a form of relaxation. We’ve already heard from people who bowl, act, and sing to relax. Heck, most of y’all even watch some T.V. Personally, I love sitting down and reading the latest adventures of my favorite heroes. I also find comic books inspiring, as Grant Morrison said in issue number one of Aztec, published in May of 1996, Superheroes are “decent men and women who believe in something. They are inspirational figures who show us what we could aspire to. Not what depths we can reach." (Morrison, 1996). Really, when it comes down to it, I think that’s why comic books are just fantastic. Everyone loves a hero. Perhaps that is why comics and their characters have permeated literally EVERY form of media in existence today, and have provided a source of inspiration for dozens of America’s most popular films and songs. I can almost guarantee that in the last year you’ve either seen a movie, or listened to a song inspired by superheroes and their comic book origins.

C. Credibility Statement: I have been reading comic books since I was 6 years old. At this point I own around 2000 issues. My grandmother bought me my first comic book at the grocery store, it was an issue of Superman. Lex Luthor tried to kill Lois Lane and all of Superman’s other friends. Superman didn’t agree with Lex’s plan. I read the whole thing by myself, sitting on the bed in my grandparent’s guest bedroom. From that point on, I was hooked. Every Christmas I begged my parents for toys, the Spider-man pajamas, the cartoons and every comic they would buy me. When I got to my senior year of high-school, I discovered comic book stores. 5 years later and more dollars then I’d like to count, I consider myself a bona-fide expert on the subject. In addition to all this, I’ve watched the shows and seen the movies, just like almost every other American today.

D. Thesis Statement: Comic books have influenced almost every aspect of American Culture today, despite their relatively short history.

E. Preview Main Ideas: Today I’d like to talk to you about the History of the modern comic book and their influence on society of American today.

Transition into first main idea: Everyone knows about comics, you all know at least one guy who reads them. Most people don’t know the history behind them, or just how intertwined with 20th century America they were.

II. Body
A. Main Idea: The history of the modern comic book really begins with the first appearance of Superman, in Action Comics #1, June 1938. This served as the introduction of a brand new medium, the action Comic Book. The Comic Book, as it came to be called quickly changed the face of America.

i. Supporting Material: With the introduction of Superman, Comic books changed the way children read. As M. Inge shares in his book, “Comics as Culture” published in 1990, “In the year 1941, 90% of American children regularly read at least 10 comics per a month.

ii. Supporting Material: In response to rising American concerns, the publishers began to show the gearing up for war in the books as well. As famous comic book author Joe Casey said in the book “Inside the world of Comics”, published in 2007, “In World War II you had superheroes acting against international menaces for Truth, Justice and the American Way.”

iii. Supporting Material: The comics were placed in soldiers ration packs, to keep them entertained, and give them a reminder of America and her ideals. Not only that, but Captain America, Superman, and all the others were used as propaganda, encouraging citizens to save energy, avoid waste, work hard, and do their part as U.S. citizens.

iv. Supporting Material: The comics were special, they were unique. They provided a narrative that could respond to the culture they influenced. Unlike novels or films, the comic was released every 30 days. As author Daniel Fingeroth says in his 2005 book , “Superman on the Couch”, “the superhero serves to represent the values of the society that produced him.”

v. Supporting Material: As Douglas Wolk says in his book “Reading Comics” (2007) The medium of comics was “dealt a mortal blow in 1954, with a public outcry about how comics caused juvenile delinquency.” The controversial book, “Seduction of the Innocent” was published this year. The debate spawned by this book caused massive drops in comic readership. A code, called the Comics Code, was implemented to censor the stories and books published.

vi. Supporting Material: Comics began a massive increase in readership in the mid 1960’s thanks to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby over at MARVEL comics. Lee and Kirby introduced characters with diverse emotional depth and who proved easily relatable, such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and The Incredible Hulk.

Internal Summary/Internally Preview Transition: While we’ve seen the impact comics had on the America of the past, kids don’t read comics like they used to. The soldiers are not issued comics alongside their MRE’s anymore. America doesn’t hold the same values it used to. So how do comics influence America today?

B. Main Idea: In reaction to the plunge in 1954, comic book companies were forced to diversify into other media, further spreading their influence into the society of America today.

i. Supporting Material: The new found popularity of comics started a trend of movies based on their Superheroes. As was the case the first time around, Superman once more started the trend, with the release of his movie in 1978. For the 30 years since then, comic book movies have proved to be a massive moneymaker for movie studios. Last year alone, Spider-Man 3, Stardust, 30 Days of Night, 300, and many other comic book films were released. Spider-Man and 300 also happened to be 2 of the top 10 highest grossing films of 2007, according to the American Film Institute accessed on February 27th, 2007. (www.AFI.com )

ii. Supporting Material: Not only movies were influenced by comics, songs such as “Crank Dat Superman” by Soulja Boy saturate the airwaves. Almost every rap song released today has some reference to comics. Lil’ Wayne, Ludacriss, even P Diddy have all used multiple comic references in their songs.

iii. Lastly, Comics permeate our language. The very use of the adjective “Super” is directly linked to Superman. Super genius, super cool, even Super Bad, they are all tied back to Superman.

Transition into conclusion: That is nowhere near the total influence comics have had on our world today, but it’s the best we can do with the time we have.

III. Conclusion
A. Recap Main Ideas: You all have learned a very basic history of Comic Books in America, and I’ve tried to show you a small glimpse of the massive impact they’ve had on our culture.

B. Relate back to the Introduction / Thesis / Importance: Even though they have only been around for a short while, comic books have had a massive, if overlooked, impact on the American Society as we know it today influencing almost every form of media in existence.

C. Impact Statement for Strong Closing:

Works Cited

Casey, Joe. Inside the World of Comic Books. Black Rose Books, 2007.

Fingeroth, Danny. Disguised as Clark Kent. New York and London: Continuum, 2007.

Fingeroth, Danny. Superman on the Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us about Ourselves and Our Society. New York and London: Continuum, 2005.

Inge, M. Thomas. Comics as Culture. Jackson and London, 1990.

Morrison, Grant. Aztec, DC comics. June, 1996.

“Top grossing films of 2007”, www.AFI.com, accessed on February 27, 2007.

Wolk, Douglas. Reading Comics. Da Capo Press, 2007.
Wow, that's really in-depth for an outline. You might try committing more to memory, so you don't have to glance at your card as often, and have what you want to say more in mind.
Superhero comics are an idealistic strange thing.

Many of us readers would love to be a superhero but i guess none of us realise that in order to be one, there must be a supervillain around and who would honestly want to live in a world with that much threat around us.

look at marvel's new york who has a residence of over 30/40 permanent superheroes. How much of a ****ed up world does a place have to be to need 30/40 superpowered beings to defend it at any given time.

I wouldn't want to live there...
Wow, that's really in-depth for an outline. You might try committing more to memory, so you don't have to glance at your card as often, and have what you want to say more in mind.

I wish I could get away with less man. My actual note cards will just have the quotes, maybe one or two words extra.

The Professor REQUIRES this kind of an outline, so she can see exactly what we are going to say and then grade us if diverge from it.

I agree with you though, I'll be committing most of it to memory.

What do you guys think though? A decent entry level overview of the history of comics and their impact on society?

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