Abstract – Analyzing Comic Books for Political Theory – Dylan Koury

For my research, I will be analyzing comic books published during different periods in American history of political, social, and economic importance to see how they have used superheroes as metaphors to convey political messages about these events and issues. For example, the superhero Black Panther was created in 1966, the same year as the Black Panther party, and the country of Wakanda represents what a society where the political ideology of the Black Panther Party was implemented would look like. Besides analyzing comic book literature, my research will also include interviewing writers of current comic book series to see how what they are working on conveys political messages to their readers about the issues that plague today’s society.

There are nearly ninety years worth of literature to go through, so I will systematically choose pieces to analyze by era and subsections of important events during these time periods. I hope to learn what issues were and are currently being addressed by comic book writers and artists as well as how they address them, whether subtly through symbolism and metaphors, plot and story arcs, as well as more directly through dialogue.

I believe that this research is important because comic books have become apart of mainstream culture and have much more impact today than ever before. Therefore, any political messages in this form of media could be extremely influential, especially for younger generations that are still forming their political beliefs. Moreover, comic books have begun to seek more diverse audiences, with more focus on promoting superheroes that are not white males, making them far more universally significant than any prior decade.