Just a Myth: The Contemporary Mythology of Early Superman Comics

Myths are a staple of human culture. They are inspired by us, created by us, and serve to inspire us and subsequent generations after us. Myths have been our religion, our hopes, our fears, and our realities. These stories' can be embellished or otherwise. They can explain our deepest mysteries and offer solace for grieving. Myths are a quintessential aspect of the human story. Myths can elevate the ordinary and make divine heroes out of real individuals. My thesis shows that myths are not only limited to the ancient world but are part of a living field of stories. My thesis intends to display how comic books can serve as contemporary mythology to American culture. The thesis compares the optimism of American culture during the 1920s with the optimistic nature of comics during this very same period. The first four issues that Superman appears in are analyzed to demonstrate how the comics changed with the era. The thesis then attempts to make the point that these comics are the mythology of America during The Great Depression. These claims are supported by a historical overview of the varying types of mythology and compare Superman’s comics with elements of classical mythology. The thesis attempts to show that our mythological heroes might have changed, but the core elements remain.

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Work Title Just a Myth: The Contemporary Mythology of Early Superman Comics
Access
Open Access
Creators
  1. Frank Fleming
License No Copyright - U.S.
Work Type Project
Acknowledgments
  1. I would like to thank the numerous individuals who supported and contributed to this research endeavor. First, thank you to my academic and thesis advisor Dr. Haddad, for bringing me into the American Studies program and encouraging me to pursue research based on my knowledge and love of comic books. I also owe gratitude to Dr. Verplanck for introducing the American Studies program to me, and Dr. Kupfer, for stepping up at the last minute to act as my second reader and providing a friendly face as another member of the wonderful Londonderry family. Thank you also to Dr. Kareithi for pushing me to excel in my graduate studies. A huge thank you to Professor Leifert for being an incredible inspiration during my graduate assistantship and for his encouragement to research Jewish mythology during my studies of Superman. A big thank you to Dr. Idowu and the numerous individuals in the Humanities Department for their faith in me as Bunton-Waller Scholar, which is indeed a life-changing opportunity. A special thank you to Judi Macdonald in admissions for helping me with my initial application to graduate school. Finally, a very special thank you to my family for reading to me as a child, supporting my love of the written word, and always inspiring my boundless curiosity about myths, legends and lore.
Publication Date August 15, 2022
Subject
  1. American Studies
  2. Mythology
  3. Superman
  4. Comic Books
  5. Gilgamesh
Geographic Area
  1. United States
Deposited August 15, 2022

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  • Updated Acknowledgments Show Changes
    Acknowledgments
    • I would like to thank the numerous individuals who supported and contributed to this research endeavor. First, thank you to my academic and thesis advisor Dr. Haddad, for bringing me into the American Studies program and encouraging me to pursue research based on my knowledge and love of comic books. I also owe gratitude to Dr. Verplanck for introducing the American Studies program to me, and Dr. Kupfer, for stepping up at the last minute to act as my second reader and providing a friendly face as another member of the wonderful Londonderry family. Thank you also to Dr. Kareithi for pushing me to excel in my graduate studies. A huge thank you to Professor Leifert for being an incredible inspiration during my graduate assistantship and for his encouragement to research Jewish mythology during my studies of Superman. A big thank you to Dr. Idowu and the numerous individuals in the Humanities Department for their faith in me as Bunton-Waller Scholar, which is indeed a life-changing opportunity. A special thank you to Judi Macdonald in admissions for helping me with my initial application to graduate school. Finally, a very special thank you to my family for reading to me as a child, supporting my love of the written word, and always inspiring my boundless curiosity about myths, legends and lore.
  • Added Creator Frank Fleming
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