Tag Archives: Canadian Comics

Using Humor As A Method to Promote Propaganda with Dizzy Don No. 8

© Copyright 2017 Sahra Alikouzeh, Ryerson University

Introduction

Fig. 1. Manny Easson. Panel from “The Mystery of The Million Dollar Baby” The Funny Comics with Dizzy Don, No. 8, 1943, Bell Features & Publishing Company Limited. p. 1. http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/e/e447/e011166599.pdf

This post will focus on Manny Easson’s eighth comic issue, titled “The Mystery of the Million Dollar Baby”, apart of Bell Features, Great Canadian White Collection. The Great Canadian White Collection is a series of comic books published between the years 1941 to 1946. Due to the importation banning of American comics, this revolutionized an era titled the “Canadian Golden Age of Comics”. (Bell) Issued during World War two, the method of using humor in texts was a popular choice by authors as it not only provided reader’s a mere moment of distraction from the stressful times occurring, but to also allow readers to explore an alternative escapist reality. This post will also discuss the use of the main character, Dizzy Don, who is the protagonist of this comic book intended for children, and some of the influential effects this text has. Understanding how hard the toll of the war was on the Canadians at home, the easygoing nature of the comic book genre can be seen as a stress-reliever suitable for all.

Through the use of humor, authors also took the time to incorporate their own messages within their text to sway the reader’s perspective.

Canadianization

Dating back to the moment in World War 2 where Canada joined the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, Canada provided an indispensable amount of contribution to the generation of British air power. Despite the eventual success due to the tag teaming by both the Canadian air force and the British, Canada made sure to enforce the continued national identification of their personnel. The reason being that national identification allowed for the increase of Canadian political independence. Despite the mixed review received from Britain about the separation, many Canadians embraced the newfound “Canadianization” (Johnston, 2015) Going ahead with this bold move, it was one that was successful as Canadians celebrated, ensuring the importance of their national identity. National identity also increased the amount of Canadians distancing themselves from those whom were seen as non-Canadian. This distance led to the emergence of the anti-immigration perspective.

Fig. 1. Manny Easson. Panel from “The Mystery of The Million Dollar Baby” The Funny Comics with Dizzy Don, No. 8, 1943, Bell Features & Publishing Company Limited, p. 5. http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/e/e447/e011166599.pdf

In order to feel patriotic there is the aspect of appreciating one’s culture and then there is also the put down of other cultures, as a form of whom is to be regarded as superior. The Nazi’s are mocked in this panel due to the faux imitation of their accents. Mocking is a sign of discrediting intelligence and belittling the culture and foreign language being spoken. It provokes this feeling of alienation, humiliation, and disrespect to those of the mocked heritage. This displays how some Canadians felt about German foreigners and their own air of superiority.

Germanophobia

During the time of World War 2 as many soldiers were abroad fighting, Germans in Canada were suspicious of their fellow Canadians. There were many posters and propaganda alike, floating around in promotion of hailing Canadians at war, while at the same degrading the Germans. The method of spreading information through mediums such as texts and the media, allowed the importance of these immigrants’ presence to go unacknowledged and ignored. Instead German immigrant’s importance was replaced with the title of an “enemy alien” (Bassler, 1990) Those with German descent in Canada began to see him or herself as unwanted, to their Canadian neighbors. In comic books there was the mockery of German accents, creation of the German characters as evil and made to look angry, all endorsing these negative stereotypes.

Fig. 1. Manny Easson. Panel from “The Mystery of The Million Dollar Baby” The Funny Comics with Dizzy Don, No. 8, 1943, Bell Features & Publishing Company Limited, p. 3. http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/e/e447/e011166599.pdf

There is a clear binary present as the happy American family is depicted and immediately right after, there is the aggressive German Nazi’s. By illustrating this family as those whom would sacrifice their life in order to save their kin, “The ambassador and his wife huddle around Adorable in an effort to save her life” (Easson, 1943) displays the good North American family image. Something the North American readers would be proud of to relate too. Meanwhile, representing the Germans as those opposing this happy lifestyle, with adjectives such as “merciless” when drawn as attackers.

Fig. 2. Manny Easson. Panel from “The Mystery of The Million Dollar Baby” The Funny Comics with Dizzy Don, No. 8, 1943, Bell Features & Publishing Company Limited, p. 5. http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/e/e447/e011166599.pdf

Humor and Propaganda

Propaganda is the aggressive dissemination of a distinct point of view for a specific purpose. Using persuasive techniques, images, wording and messages to manipulate targeted audiences. By having them assume the propagandist’s perspective is the correct vantage point of view that should be adopted, believed and acted on. (McRann, 2009) Humor allows writers and artists of all kinds to attain a method of expression. Texts embedded within comedic expressions can have large impacts on its audiences, winning over hearts, wars and minds. Humor was used as an approach during the war to construct a national identity, decoding the importance of humor, especially to children during the time of war. Wartime cartoonists were big on getting children involved in the war efforts through their drawings. (Penniston-Bird & Summerfield, 2001) These cartoonists would embrace the gender roles by drawing little boys as soldiers while also promoting the theme of national identity to little girls as well, reminding them to remain patriotic and not make amends with the opposition.

Fig. 3. Manny Easson. Panel from “The Mystery of The Million Dollar Baby” The Funny Comics with Dizzy Don, No. 8, 1943, Bell Features & Publishing Company Limited, p. 2. http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/e/e447/e011166599.pdf

Dizzy Don is introduced as a comedic radio host, who leads the adventures in many of The Funny Comic book issues alongside his pal Canary Byrd. As the main protagonist in this children’s comic book series, his comments and actions are depicted clearly in the story, including his sentiments. Canary Byrd starts off his interaction with Dizzy on the radio saying: “Say Dizzy – when our grocer told you that domestic sardines are 15 cents and imported 25 cents which did you take?” and Dizzy’s response: “Domestic, why should I pay their way over?” (Easson, 1943) Being introduced as a comedian aids the harsh message of how Dizzy feels about foreigners from abroad coming into his homeland. Although the banter can be taken lightly due to Dizzy’s stature as a comedian, the context of the racist message is still present right at the beginning of the story. This also displays clear patriotism, as the support for domestic products over imported is not even something to be questioned by Dizzy.

Conclusion

Humor, especially the sort that is a medium for social and political commentary, plays an important role in the community of a wartime nation. Furthermore, understanding the intention behind a text can be problematic as it reveals discovery on the social impact of the audience. (Penniston-Bird, & Summerfield, 2001) This comic uses the method of humor to promote anti-immigration sentiments, due to the light hearted stance the genre takes, in which the audience is expected to put their guard down. This creates a dimmer focus on the serious aspect of the topic when being discussed, resulting in non-consequential results from its readers. Unknowingly, this targeted audience does not realize the influence Bell Features authors’ texts have on their daily interactions and perspectives, as it creates racist stereotypes and promotes exclusion of those whom are of German descent. This aids explanation as to why there was the continuous racist endorsement; especially as many German Canadians during the war were put under a lot of scrutiny. Putting this in a children’s book allows these ideologies to also exploit the future generation and further these thoughts. Through the use of the main character Dizzy Don and his interactions, he was used as a platform to spread anti-immigration sentiments embedded within humorous texts.

Works Cited

  • Twark, E. Jill. “Approaching History as Cultural Memory Through Humor, Satire, Comics, and Graphic Novels.” RULA Archives & Special Collection, Ryerson University. Toronto, Ontario. https://journals-scholarsportal-ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/pdf/09607773/v26i0001/175_ahacmthscagn.xml. Accessed 30 Nov 2017.
  • Easson, Manny. The Funny Comic and Dizzy Don No.8: The Mystery of the Million Dollar Baby. Bell Features, 1943. Print.
  • Johnston, E. Iain. “The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and the Shaping of National Identities in the Second World War.” RULA Archives & Special Collection, Ryerson University. https://journals-scholarsportalezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/pdf/03086534/v43i0005/903_tbcatpiitsww.xml. Accessed 30 Nov 2017.
  • Bassler, Gerhard P. “Silent or Silenced Co-Founders of Canada? Reflections on the History of German Canadians.” Canadian Ethnic Studies = Etudes Ethniques Au Canada; Calgary. vol. 22, no. 1, Jan.1990, pp. 38–46.
  • Penniston-Bird. C. Summerfield. P. “Hey! You’re Dead! The multiple uses of humor in representations of British national defence in the Second World War.” RULA Archives & Special Collection, Ryerson University. https://journals-scholarsportalinfo.ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/pdf/00472441/v31i0123/413_ydtmuoditsww.xml. Accessed 30 Nov 2017.

Images in this online exhibit are either in the public domain or being used under fair dealing for the purpose of research and are provided solely for the purposes of research, private study, or education.

 

Japanese Representation in World War II Comics -The Funny Comics With Dizzy Don no.17.

© Copyright 2017 Francesca Jamshidy Student, Ryerson University

Japanese Representation in World War II Comics

Introduction

This digital exhibit intends to analyze the historical conflicts between Canada and Japan During World War II, specifically when it came to the media. The rivalry between Japan and Canada is not discussed often when it comes to World War II, but in this exhibit, I want to shine light on how the unflattering portrayal of Japanese characters in “In the Human Rocket” in the series The Funny Comics with Dizzy Don, is connected to the historical context of the conflict between Japan and Canada during World War II. The tension between Canada and Japan is depicted through Easson’s writing style, the way setting is represented in panels surrounding Japanese people and the Japanese characters physical appearance.

Writing Style in World War II Comics

The introduction to the comic is free of tension. There is a quick introduction to all the characters. This is done in order to familiarize new readers with the who is going to be in the story and what their relationship is to one another, from main characters to supporting characters. Unfortunately, after reading through the comic, it is apparent that there is one character which is excluded from the introduction, and that character is Japanese. Not only is this character not introduced, but he is also referred to as “Tokyo Joe” (13), once he is a named, or noted, character. By being referred to as Tokyo Joe, it is made apparent that his character is being “othered” as this distinction separates him from the other generic Canadian characters. In the 1940’s “younger children were preoccupied with many projects” however, “there was a fear that teenagers might be corrupted by the lack of supervision during the war” (Stranger Ross, et at.). By slipping casual racism into remarks that teenagers read, the creators of these comics were exploiting the impressionable minds of teenagers. This implied that it was okay to grow up believing and repeating racist remarks. An example of this is on page 13 when the only Japanese character is referred to as the “Stooges of Japan”, which was another form of calling him stupid. During the Second World War “Canadian policies emerged from the war… [exemplifying] long- standing racism” (Stranger-Ross, et al.), which later reflected upon not only comics but other forms of media as well. Within Easson’s work, it is evident that racism is encouraged. Tokyo Joe is only given the chance to speak once during the entire comic and the one time he speaks he is grammatically incorrect. Rather than saying “It’s not so easy my friend” instead he says “No so easy, my friend” (13), insinuating that Tokyo Joe is the only character with an accent or an inability to speak without grammatical errors. These details used to write the comic are ultimately meant to show the difference between Japan and Canada. What many Canadians didn’t know according to the article “Government Propaganda Machine Is Now in High Gear” (1940), is that during the time period that the comic issue was made there was pressed censorship. People carefully looked through work from articles to books and continued to do that during the war, in order to make sure nothing was written to comfort the enemy. This showed how controlled the media was during this time period. This also included comics, with this information it now makes sense as to why the only Japanese character was portrayed unfairly by Manny Easson. Japan was considered the enemy that the Canadian Government wanted to scare.

Background Settings

When reading a comic, a character’s physical appearance stands out right away, what many do not realize is that the background and setting of an image can subconsciously manipulate and infer/alter things into a certain perspective. When looking at “In the Human Rocket”, and analyzing the background setting within images, there is an automatic and clear switch between the backgrounds of characters depending on where they are from. Since this essay is examining the relationship between Japan and Canada, the first thing that was automatically analyzed was the background setting behind the only character that was not Canadian. When looking at the background setting of the only character not from Canada within the comic it is quite evident that his ethnicity is overly expressed through his surrounding in order to alienate him from every other character in the comic. Looking at the picture on the

Fig.1. Manny, Easson. Panel from “In the Human Rocket.” The Funny Comics with Dizzy Don, No. 17, April 1945, Canadian Whites Comic Book Collection, RULA Archives and Special Collections, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, p.13. http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/e/e447/ e011166608.pdf

left (Figure 1) taken from Manny Easson comic “In the Human Rocket” in the series The Funny Comics with Dizzy Don (13), right away one can see that “Tokyo Joe” has a picture of a sun symbolizing the Japanese flag and a dragon on his table cloth, both details placed in the background automatically let readers know that he is from Japan and not like the other character. On the same page in the 4th panel Easson zooms into Tokyo Joe with only the sun beams from the image behind him
showing, nothing more, as if to infer the only attribute and supporting information to him is his ethnicity, leaving readers with only two things, he is the villain in this comic and he is Japanese. What aids this theory that background, and settings are purposely placed and drawn in images in order to support the negative portrayal and alienation of Japanese people in this time period, is that it is an on-going trend, the portrayal in this comic is not an isolated incident, it happened throughout many forms of media. Below on the left there is a propaganda poster found on “Canadian Propaganda Posters” Mystery in History, published online in 2014 this website had posters from Canada during the second World War. Automatically when comparing the comic to this poster (Figure 2)

Fig.2. “This Is the Enemy”, “Canadian Propaganda Posters.” Mystery in History, June 2014, collected at https://mysteryinhistory.wordpress.com/2
014/06/10/canadian-propaganda-posters/
Fig.3. Manny, Easson. Panel from “In the Human Rocket.” The Funny Comics with Dizzy Don, No. 17, April 1945, Canadian Whites Comic Book Collection, RULA Archives and Special Collections, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, p.35. http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/e/e44
7/e011166608.pdf

it is glaring to note that they were created by different artists yet they both have the same things in common, the sun rays signifying that this person is of Japanese descent and a negative portrayal of the character/person of Japanese descent. This was clearly not a coincidence but rather a tool to ensure Canadians feared Japanese people. This fear turned into a hatred because during the Second World War since Japanese people were considered the enemy “22,000 Japanese Canadians were uprooted from their homes, separated from their families, and sent away to camps” (Government Apologizes, 1988). Sadly, these people were being punished for simply being of Japanese descent although they were Canadian citizens, and many were even born and raised in Canada that was still not enough. When comparing this to Manny Easson’s illustrations, attention can quickly be brought to the only other image drawn of Tokyo Joe (Figure 3). In this image Tokyo Joe is behind bars (35). He could have been placed in any setting, perhaps at the police station or an interrogation room but instead he is last seen in jail. His imprisonment is a direct correlation to Japanese Canadians being sent to camps because that was a form of their own torture and jail. This is relevant because the jail setting showed a negative portrayal of the only Japanese character within the comic. By having the last image of Tokyo Joe being behind bars it is also arguably a comforting image as he is seen as less of a threat, providing a sense of closure to the previously established impressionable minds, since the enemy is depicted to be “contained”. This ultimately proves through background and setting, Japanese people were being targeted in many forms of media, this comic included, due to the tension between Canada and Japan during World War II.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Physical Characteristics

Unfortunately, things did not simply end with settings and backgrounds but rather got worse when it came to physical characteristics of Japanese people. When looking at “In the Human Rocket” the physical appearance of Tokyo Joe in comparison to everyone else is significantly different, not just in terms of historically accurate physical differences. According to the “Canadian Propaganda Posters,” Mystery in History (2014), stereo-types were exaggerated in the propaganda posters and in the media when it came to Japanese people.

Fig.4. “Tokio Kid”, “Canadian Propaganda Posters.” Mystery in History, June 2014, collected at https://mysteryinhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/
10/canadian-propaganda-posters/

This exaggeration can be seen from teeth to eyes, even their ears were made fun of. In the poster above (Figure 4) published by “Canadian Propaganda Posters” (2014), the man shown is by far the most terrifying thing at first sight. When analyzing he does not look anything like a human but instead he is portrayed as an animal. He has sharp pointy fangs, small eyes that need glasses, extremely pointy ears and claws. In addition, once again this poster shows the man has a hat with sun ray beams in order to let everyone who sees this poster know that the terrifying man within this image is Japanese. When analyzing the Tokyo Joe in the comic, differences were noted in comparison to other characters. Examples of this are that out of the two villains in the comic Tokyo Joe is dressed in all black signifying darkness just like all the other portrayals of Japanese people. His mouth if looked at closely can be seen in an upside-down position rather than smiling. If given the chance to smile it could have shown a different outlook on him because people tend to be more appealing and inviting when they smile. But due to his constant frowning Easson was solely able to create a negative atmosphere for his character. Just like the poster he isn’t given a specific age but with the over exaggerated wrinkles one could assume he is prehistoric, lastly, he is the only character in the entire comic given glasses, supporting the stereotype of an inability to see. These physical characteristics are not only disgusting and incorrect, they are also a deliberate way to show that the portrayal of the Japanese culture and beauty is not celebrated but rather mocked.

Conclusion the “So What”

In conclusion, this exhibit intended to analyze how the unflattering portrayal of Japanese characters in “In the Human Rocket” in the series The Funny Comics with Dizzy Don, was due to the tension between Canada and Japan during World War II. The war and the comic connected to one another because they were created during the same time period. It was also intended to analyze how the tension was deep rooted and how due to the negative portrayal of Japanese people, Canada’s fear had quickly turned into prejudice and anger, leading to the horrible events that occurred and affected many Japanese-Canadians. This was shown by many artists in many forms of media during the 1940’s, including Manny Easson’s work. Through his writing style, the way he drew the settings around those of Japanese descent and the overall illustration of Japanese characters, with specific detailing to their physical appearances, his work as well as many others proved my theory that the comic was used in combinations with other media platforms intending to encourage a prejudice against people of Japanese descent. It is also quite evident after analyzing different media forms that Japanese people were villainized whether through animalistic representations to being made the enemy which needed to be put behind bars to ensure a feeling of safety during the hard times when Canada was at war.

 


 Works Cited

“Canadian Propaganda Posters.” Mystery In History, June 2014, mysteryinhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/canadian-propaganda-posters/.

Cook, Tim. “Canadian Children and The Second World War.” Historica Canada, December 2016, www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/canadian-children-and-wwii/.

Easson, M. “In the Human Rocket.” The Funny Comics with Dizzy Don, no. 17, April, 1945, pp.1-35. Canadian Whites Comic Book Collection, 1941-1946. RULA Archives and Special Collections, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.

“Governments Propaganda Machine Is Now in High Gear.” The Toronto Telegram, Canadian War Museum, July 1940, http://www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/exhibitions/newspapers/information_e.shtml

Stranger-Ross, Jordan., & Landscapes of Injustice Research Collective. “Suspect Properties: The Vancouver Origins of the Forced Sale of Japanese-Canadian-owned Property, WWII.” Journal of Planning History, vol. 15, no. 4, February 2016, pp. 271-89. https://doi- org.ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/10.1177%2F1538513215627837

“Tokio Kid”, “Canadian Propaganda Posters.” Mystery In History, June 2014,  mysteryinhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/canadian-propaganda-posters/.

“This Is the Enemy”, “Canadian Propaganda Posters.” Mystery In History, June 2014, mysteryinhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/canadian-propaganda-posters/.

“1988: Government Apologizes to Japanese Canadians – CBC Archives.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, March 2017, www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/1988-government-apologizes-to- japanese-canadians.

Images in this online exhibit are either in the public domain or being used under fair dealing for the purpose of research and are provided solely for the purposes of research, private study, or education.

Depiction Of Heroes in Wow comics no. 12 © Copyright 2017 Sebin Kang, Ryerson University

Sebin Kang

Dr. Monique Tschofen            

ENG 810

29 November 2017

Depiction of Heroism in WOW Comics Issue no.12

Heroes have always been known throughout many stories and in real life. It has been established as a real concept without truly knowing what a hero really is. A firefighter, a nurse, and soldiers are all considered to be examples of heroes. Someone who saves or help people is what people generally believe a hero to be, or even something simple as doing the right thing can be considered a hero. For one thing, it is someone who we admire. Superheroes, on the other hand, might be considered something more than a hero, more specifically who can do the impossible. Superheroes or heroes both have similar characteristics, which is that they inspire and influence people. Specifically for people of the younger ages because children are at their growing stages and are prone to be influenced due to their minds constantly evolving and processing new information. The comic that I am analyzing shows how Canadian war heroes are depicted in comic books as superheroes. Superheroes have been present in comics since before World War II and the intended audience for these comics are the children. Real life war heroes inspired high morale during the wartime, and to convey their importance and inspiration to an audience of children, they were turned into superheroes in order to inspire young adolescents to do the same. Superheroes are created to inspire and during the production of this comic, times were difficult for people and the purpose of depicting heroes in comics was made to inspire and give hope to children. It was created with the intent to give positivity and hope to children during challenging times.

The comic that I have been assigned is Wow Comics no. 12, and the specific issue I will be studying on will be my examination of how Canadian war heroes are depicted in comic books as superheroes. In my comic, I have noticed that one of the stories in my comic was titled, Tommy Holmes, and I speculated that there was a reason why the comic was so detailed and once researched, I found that Tommy Holmes is a very real person who had fought in World War I and I found this particularly interesting because there is a reason why this was done so the way it was. Therefore, I will mainly focus on the story of Tommy Holmes and the depiction of the soldiers as superheroes as well as other stories within the comic.

Tommy Holmes and his heroics

Tommy Holmes is represented as the main hero of the story and helps in the contribution of the interpretation of heroes. The definition of heroes is different for everyone but one that is most notable for everyone is that it is someone who is selfless and a good person, as well as willing to risk their own life to save another. The story of Tommy Holmes starts off with a narration describing Tommy Holmes. It explains how Holmes was one of the youngest Canadian soldiers during World War 1 and has served with the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, Canadian Expeditionary Force. When hearing the word “Soldier”, one understands it is a person who risks their life in order to fight for their country. This comic story dedicates Holmes as a hero in a couple of forms. It begins with the art of the comic and the narratives displaying the hardships of the war. Fallen weapons were shown to delve into the outcome of the war and, heavy rains causing a very dangerous and harsh environment for the soldiers to be in. Not only does this story emphasize on the heroics of Tommy Holmes, it also shows the heroics of all the soldiers. It shows fellow soldiers helping one another through the harsh environment. The beginning of this story already manifests how awful the Canadian wars were. This comic does a good job in the representation of war. Each panel shows the chaos of these violent images. This serves a purpose of showing the realism and to show the audience how horrifying war was through these brave soldiers who fought through the war and gave up their lives. It helps to show the heroics of these soldiers, specifically Tommy Holmes. There are many different types of heroes. Some heroes attack more while other heroes defend more. In my comic, it displays to be an attacker. He ran through the ranks in order to take out the enemies but he does not attack in a way to beat his opponents, he does it in order to defend his comrades. One must first understand basic hero types and why they were created in order to understand them. Superheroes generally have powers. In comics, people know they are superheroes because it is their job to be one. They dress up in costumes and fight crime but in these comics, the soldiers’ jobs are not supposed to be heroes. They do not fight to be known as heroes but fight until the end of the battle. Tommy Holmes does not have powers but he represents one. The comic shows this through Tommy’s real acts in the war. This was also shown in the comic when all his comrades could not do anything against the heavy machine gun fire but Tommy runs through the bullets and takes them down. It shows his bravery and courage and this is a major component in “superheroes”.
Superheroes are known for their bravery and courage and this comic does a good job of representing Tommy Holmes as a “superhero”

Construction of heroes in literature

In every comic, heroes are constructed differently. There is Superman who is considered to have been always good and righteous in every way or Spider-Man who learned through tragedy and became a hero. Superheroes are generally characters who have a well-rounded backstory while heroes can be anyone who does good. Tommy Holmes can also be considered as one. In the comic, the narrative explains who he is right from the start, and continues to tell the audience what he is best known for and what heroic deed he performed.

“Wow Comics, No. 12” , Bell Features Publishing, Canadian Writer’s Comic Book Collection. 1941-1946, RULA Archives & Special Collections, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

In these panels, the narrative describes the acts of Tommy with spontaneous words to amplify his heroism. Terms such as “Marvelous” and “Coolness” is used to describe his heroism. On the second panel as well, it describes how “good” he is, defeating Nazis and fighting for his country. When reading and learning about heroes, there are couple things people study. The heroes background is important because it lets the readers know who he is. Every superhero in comics has a backstory and this is one of the main reason why they are so popular. The history allows the readers to see the growth and transformation the character goes through. Using exaggerated words such as “Spectacular” or “marvelous” helps to make the characters greater because the readers are being told who and what attributes to admire. What my comic does in the study of heroes is that firstly they used a real person who was a hero as a character which establishes the term, heroism. They gave the necessary history the audience needed to know to understand this story

Tommy Holmes’ Heroic Acts

. The comic also tends to optimize everything. They build up the character’s good qualities. In the panel below, two soldiers are staring in awe at Tommy for not being able to do what he did. They looked on in “amazement” and this shows how they encourage Tommy’s strength as a hero and this also displays his comrade’s reaction to admiration. Showing reactions also encourage and influence similar to laugh tracks in sitcoms to show the audience what they should be experiencing and doing. In the second panel, the narrative describes his ability to throw a grenade. In normal stories, just stating what is happening is the case but in comics, they make more of the situation. They exaggerate to show admiration. Comic’s make something simple as throwing a baseball into a more magnificent. If one were to look at the image without the narratives, Tommy is just throwing a grenade. It can be compared to a normal person throwing a baseball as such description but the narrative is what brings out the heroism. Comics job is to use both art and narratives to create a unique form of storytelling. Tommy Holmes is written as if he is a superhero due to the narratives. He has no superpowers yet he is looked upon by readers.This comic does a good job of displaying Tommy as a hero.

Comic heroes and the Influence

I have found sources which help inform people of heroism and the influence it has. In the article I have found, there is a passage stating “To understand the process whereby the Canadian comic book industry was repatriated as a part of Canadian nationalism, it is important to consider not only the history of the comic book in Canada but, more importantly, the ways that fan discourses help to shape the recuperation of the Canadian superhero during its second wave of popularity in the post-Centennial period by distinguishing it from superheroes in the United States.” (Making sense of the Canadian Superhero) This passage touches on the fact that fans influence characters in comics. During the times when Wow Comics were created, times were not happy. Comic book industries take notice of the war which influenced the stories they write. The illustrator and the writer knew who Tommy Holmes was and made him into a character because he influenced real people such as his fellow soldiers during the war and so by including him into comics to give the same effect on the audience reading the comics. Realizing the character in the comic was a real person and a hero contributes greatly in the war by influencing people due to admiration. During the war times, there was hardly any hope. The children’s fathers went out to war to fight not knowing if they would come back home to their families. Many supplies were lacking and the food was scarce because they were deposited and scattered in order to aid everyone. “As the war nears its devastating conclusion, both children are forced from the shelter of their families and must struggle to survive amid the rubble of a bombed-out Berlin” (Rennison, Nick. “Children in War.”), this article explains the lacking of supplies and homes children experienced during the war. Times were not simple and happy but more depressed and hopeless. People had to find small joys during the war to keep them positive and comics were the small joys of war. Comics gave joy and small hopes to kids and even adults. The comics also show influence in one of the other stories shown in my comic.

“Wow Comics, No. 12” , Bell Features Publishing, Canadian Writer’s Comic Book Collection. 1941-1946, RULA Archives & Special Collections, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

The story is called Whiz Wallace Bombers to Victory. In this comic, a heavy viewpoint of influence occurs when the main character Whiz Wallace, had to leave for the war and his love interest, Elaine Kenyon had to stay behind because she was a woman. When no one was looking, she had an idea to knock one of the pilots, put on his uniform and help fight. This did not go well as her plane crashed but she somehow survived. Although Elaine is a character from the comics, it still represents the realism of influence. Soldiers are depicted as “superheroes” which then influences people to do something and in this case, it influenced a grown woman to do some good. Children are the intended audience and as previously mentioned, kids are constantly growing and learning new information and are easily influenced. Seeing someone do something, can influence children’s behavior and in this case, can also influence children to do good as well. Even in the comic, admiration of heroism influenced the character to do the right thing. Heroes inspire not just kids but adults as well.

In conclusion, I have proved that all these elements were administered to further show the “super” in the heroism of Canadian soldiers in the war. This was shown with the usage of real characters, the comic form of narration, the construction of heroism of comics and the influences heroes have on people. As well as observing and analyzing the comic panels while mainly focusing on the comic form of Tommy Holmes and the way the story was written. This allows us to see the influence “superheroes” have on people through the depiction of soldiers as “superheroes” This is important because influence is a powerful tool and many would not see comic book as an influential tool. Comic books are seen as silly stories with pictures but there is so much more to a comic book than what it implies. Every child grew up admiring someone or something at one point and in this case, comics are the source of inspiration for the stories it tells.

___________________________________________________________________________

Work Cited

Beaty, Bart. “The Fighting Civil Servant: Making Sense of the Canadian Superhero.” American

Review of Canadian Studies 36.3 (2006): 427-39. Web. 24 Nov. 2017.

https://journals-scholarsportal-info.ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/details/02722011/v36i0003/427_tfcsmsotcs.xml

“Thomas William Holmes VC.” Lives of the First World War,

livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/5933980#timeline.

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/5933980

Rennison, Nick. “Children in War.” Sunday Times, Jul 30, 2017, pp. 38, Global Newsstream,

http://ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/docview/1924355716?accountid=13631.

Wow Comics, No. 12 , Bell Features Publishing, Canadian Writer’s Comic Book Collection.

1941-1946, RULA Archives & Special Collections, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

Disclaimer

Images in this online exhibit are either in the public domain or being used under fair dealing for the purpose of research and are provided solely for the purposes of research, private study, or education.

The Strange Villains of Active Comics #2

© Copyright 2017 Dustin Brousseau, Ryerson University

Introduction

During the Second World War comic books were already in the pockets of the children of Canada and the United States. Heroes like Superman and Batman had already captured their imaginations with their stories full of action, adventure, and of course, dastardly villains. When the War Exchange Conservation act prevented those stories from coming through the Canadian borders. Children were left without their favorite heroes and villains, which in turn led to the creation of the Canadian Whites, Canadian comics which could have not competed with the colorful American comics before. The Canadian Whites brought with them new heroes and new villains for those heroes to fight. While everyone likes a good hero, what is a hero without its rogues gallery? Without the villains that fight against those heroes there would be no stories, action, no comics! Despite being written during a time of war however, the villains of these comics remained largely like those of American comics of the time, mostly divorced from the war happening at the time. Why is this? Using Active Comics #2 from March of 1942 as examples I will try and figure out why the comic book villains of the Canadian Whites were so strange and divorced from the very real enemies that were fought in the war at the time.

 

The Villains and Stories:

A deformed mad scientist ranting about his evil plans on the top half, and a picture of Thunderfist punching a robotic dinosaur with a descriptor on the bottom half
E.T. Legault. Page from “Thunderfist and the Monster of Catastrophe.” Active Comics No. 2, March 1942, Commercial Signs of Canada, p. 1. Bell Features Collection, Library and Archives Canada (Figure 1)

In Active Comics #2 there were four stories, each featuring a hero and a single villain or a cabal of evil doers. The first story stared Thunderfist, a hero with super strength and flight fighting Dr. Bruzzack (Figure 1), a mad scientist attacking a New York City with robotic dinosaurs. The second story featured a regular, if not extraordinarily brave Mounty by the name of Dixon of the Mounted who fought a demon known only in the story as “The Devil”, though this devil is unlikely Satan himself. After Dixon’s story there is Captain “Red” Thortan, an incredibly athletic man with no discernible superpowers fighting against the Japanese army, and finally the is The Brain, a hero with super strength and clairvoyance fighting against a criminal organization led by a man known as The Saboteur. Only one of these villains is connected to the war, with two of them seeming much like standard comic book villains, and one seeming like a threat that could exist in the real world, if not for their over the top way of doing things.

 

Why Not Focus on the War?

It is important to note that the Canadian Whites were written, at least in part by teenagers and younger people in general, some of which would have enjoyed comics before the ban. While much of my information is about American comics of the time these younger comic creators would have likely been influenced by the comics that they read before, and even if they were older it would have made sense for them to mimic the style of comics that were already popular with children in the first place. Because of this despite the information that I will be using comes from studies of American comics, they are still viable for the Canadian comics of the time as well. Many villains of the Canadian Whites are similar to the villains that American heroes would be fighting at the time, in that they were usually divorced from the war, or were taking part in the war in less important ways than being at the front lines. Many of the villains in Canadian comics at the time were using villains bred from the same tropes and ideas that their American counterparts were using. Things like evil geniuses, gang leaders, and mythical beasts were popular types of villains in the Golden Age of comics, so it only comes to reason that these teenagers that are writing the Whites would write villains that follow these sort of archetypes. Due to the format of the comics having several stories in one issue, there was not a lot of time to develop these villains, so making them recognizable as a certain type of villain immediately was important.

 

The Devil throws Dixon of the Mounted forward, with a text box describing the scene on top of the action
E.T. Legault. Panel from “Dixon of the Mounted and Dreadful Dwellings.” Active Comics No. 2, March 1942, Commercial Signs of Canada, p. 22. Bell Features Collection, Library and Archives Canada (Figure 2)

When Canadian comic books began to become popular due to the inability to import American comics it would come to no surprise to see comics with similar themes and characters. The heroes and villains of Active Comics #2 are no exception to this. In The Fighting Civil Servant: Making Sense of the Canadian Superhero Bart Beaty claims that “the concept of the man-god, a dedication to principles of justice, the secret identity, a conflict with the father, and the belief in the magical power of science.” (428) are key elements in superhero mythology. While the heroes don’t hit all of those traits they all hit at least one. The villains on the other hand are quite the opposite. Dr. Bruzzack certainly no “man-god”, using robotic dinosaurs in an attempt to destroy humanity, starting with New York City. Rather than believing in the “magical power of science” he believes only in himself, his robots being extensions of himself having been created by him. The Devil (Figure 2) appears to be no man, has no dedication to justice, or any of the above traits. The Saboteur is no “man-god” either, relying on his gang for help, and threatens to kill a woman helping The Brain. These villains are meant to be the opposite of what is traditionally seen as heroic back in the Golden Age of Comics according to Beaty.

 

Much like the superhero comics in America, superhero comics in Canada were in the golden age. While the Golden Age of Canadian Comics is differentiated from the Golden Age of Comics in America, they were happening in the same timeframe, the Canadian Golden Age happening between the years of 1941 – 1947, whereas the American Golden Age was happening from 1938 – 1954, both starting before and ending after the Canadian Golden Age (Fennell 305). This means that both Golden Ages were happening during the time of World War II. So the question remains: Why weren’t the villains in these stories representative of the war? Why are the most of the villains in Active Comics #2 divorced from the war that was going on at the time? Why would the heroes ignore the people fighting and dying against fascism? The reason, according to Jason Bainbridge in “The Call to do Justice”: Superheroes, Sovereigns and the State During Wartime, is because of the things that made them “super”, their superpowers, which could easily allow them to singlehandedly end the war, which could somewhat diminish the efforts put in by real soldiers on the battlefield (751). It was for those reasons that superheroes were often stuck fighting crime or monsters on the home front rather than helping with the war effort. Even those with no superpowers such as Dixon of the Mounted were still much more athletic and competent than any real man. Even when heroes were allowed to fight the same enemies that the soldiers were fighting in the real world they were often relegated to stopping either far-fetched schemes that only a superhero could stop, like the aforementioned robotic dinosaurs, or schemes that had little to do with the actual war effort, like capturing the daughter of a British commander, often to mask the horror of what the real war was like (751).

 

Why These Villains?

A two men in suits prepare to kill a tied up young woman to a contraption to kill her by dropping spikes on her
Leo Bachle. Panel from “The Brain.” Active Comics No. 2, March 1942, Commercial Signs of Canada, p. 61. Bell Features Collection, Library and Archives Canada (Figure 3)

Now that we know why superheroes rarely interacted with the war directly, choosing to instead help the home front, why are the villains that they fight so outrageous? There are several reasons for that in fact. One reason is that the heroes of the time needed to be demonstrably good. In the Golden Age it was thought that heroes needed to be selfless and aid others who needed it because if they didn’t, then that character was not truly heroic (751). For villains to come in line with that line of thinking they had to be outlandishly evil. For example Dixon of the Mounted finds himself fighting an actual demon in Active Comics #2, even going as far as to call it “The Devil”. Even the less obviously evil villains in this issue are still extreme in their villainy. The Syndicate from The Brain story have James Bond villain style machine to kill those who betray them (Figure 3), and Dr. Bruzzack attempts to destroy New York City with robotic dinosaurs. Strangely the villains that have the least dastardly plans is the Japanese army that Captain “Red” Thortan fights, who have only kidnapped the daughter of a British commander, but still fall under the category of “plainly evil” by merit of being part of the Axis Powers. The villains of Active Comics #2 did not view themselves in anyway but evil.

 

Another reason for the villains being divorced from reality is that the heroes, and therefore the villains as well, are based on standards of justice of the time they were made (“Superhero Comics” 333). The morality of the time for fiction was influenced by Judeo-Christian ideals, combining the above self-sacrificing hero, with the idea of a crusader against evil, according to Ryan Edwardson in The Many Lives of Captain Canuck: Nationalism, Culture, and The Creation of a Canadian Comic Book Superhero (187). As such it would make sense for the villains that they fight to be the opposite: Self-serving, and completely evil, the perfect enemy for a self-sacrificing crusader against evil. While not all of the villains in Action Comics #2 are necessarily self-serving, with The Devil appearing to be a beast who mostly relishes in evil acts, with it saying nothing throughout the story and having torture implements in its lair, they are all most certainly evil. Dr. Bruzzack wants to kill all humans because he hates them, and The Saboteur is the leader of a group of gangsters who are going to kill a woman for betraying them to help The Brain.

 

Conclusion:

It seems that the answer to the question of why the villains in Active Comics #2 is simple. They were divorced from both the war, and in many ways reality, because they had to be at the time. Both heroes and villains of the Golden Age, both Canadian and American, were simple in their conception. The heroes were meant to be the ultimate forces of good, being self-sacrificing and forces for good, and the villains had to be the opposite of them, self-serving and evil. Their villains were not made to be villains that would have any place in the war so that the efforts of the soldiers in the war would not be diminished, and even when they did participate in the war it was in ways that did not directly affect the war effort itself. The heroes could not use their powers to end the war themselves, and so the authors had to find some way to make sure that they could not, and that way was to simply make other threats that were bigger or more immediately dangerous such as Dr. Bruzzack’s robotic dinosaurs, or that were closer to home, such as The Devil or the Saboteur, both being in Canada, and both being immediately dangerous for the people on the home front.


Bibliography:

Bainbridge, Jason. “’The Call to do Justice’: Superheroes, Sovereigns and the State During Wartime.” International Journal for the Semiotics of Law vol. 28, no. 4, May 2015, pp. 745-763. Springer Link, DOI: 10.1007/s11196-015-9424-y

 

Beaty, Bart. “Superhero Comics.” Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and Environment, edited by Imre Szeman et al., Fordham University, NEW YORK, 2017, pp. 333–337, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1hfr0s3.93.

 

Beaty, Bart. “The Fighting Civil Servant: Making Sense of the Canadian Superhero.” Amerrican Reviews of Canadian Studies vol. 36, no. 3, October 2006, pp. 427-439. Scholars Portal Journals, DOI: 10.1080/02722010609481401

 

Edwardson, Ryan. “The Many Lives of Captain Canuck: Nationalism, Culture, and the Creation of a Canadian Comic Book Superhero.” Journal of Popular Culture vol. 37, no. 2, November 2003, pp. 184-201. Scholars Portal Journals, DOI: 10.1111/1540-5931.00063

 

Fennell, Jack. “The Aesthetics of Supervillainy.” Law Text Culture vol. 16, no. 1, January 2012, pp. 305-328. Hein Online, http://ro.uow.edu.au/ltc/vol16/iss1/13

 

Legault, E.T. (w) and M. Karn (a). Active Comics, no. 2, March, 1942, pp. 1-15. Bell Features Collection, Library and Archives Canada. http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/e/e447/e011166503.pdf

Images in this online exhibit are either in the public domain or being used under fair dealing for the purpose of research and are provided solely for the purposes of research, private study, or education.

Comics for Creativity: Why Comics Should Have a Place in Art and Literary History

Introduction

Many art historians have deemed comics to be amongst the lowest form of art or simply not art at all. However, by turning comics away from the world of high art, literature and academic study, there are many opportunities for learning and creativity that are missed. Through integrating a close reading of WOW Comics issue 3, into a history of why comics aren’t considered art, how comics have similar movements to art history, the hybrid nature of comics and Roy Lichtenstein’s use of comics for creativity, I will raise the question as to why comics aren’t considered art and what opportunities are missed as literary and artistic thinkers by discluding comics from our discourses and serious history.

Comics Aren’t Art – Critics and Art History

In Bart Beaty’s book “Comics versus Art”, Beaty raises a point about Clement Greenberg’s critical approach to comics. Greenberg is a famous modernist art critic and Beaty summarizes his critique of comics by saying that “comics as among the lowest forms of debases and industrialized pseudo-culture” (20). Beaty goes on to explain that similar to many art critics’ problems with new movements in art history, comics are being disregarded in the same way. Beaty highlights that critics see comics as a medium that does not evolve from any practices in art that came priory to it (20-21).

With this understanding of how comics have been perceived throughout art history, Beaty raises an argument towards the way people look at comics as destructive. Rather than seeing comics as literature or art, Beaty argues that comics should be understood as a hybrid art form (21). A hybrid art form, when concerning comics, is the working relationship of images and text that make up the whole of any comic (Witek 34). With understanding that hybrid art forms are created by the merging of multiple different inspirations, ideas and mediums, it makes them extremely hard to categories. It is important to enter the discussion of comics by keeping in mind their hybrid nature. Within the hybrid form that comics present themselves, it is also important to remember that, unlike other forms of high art or literature, comics are printed cheaply and by masses.

However, by keeping the nature of comics in mind their placement in the world of literature and art becomes extremely important. With the marrying of both text and images, comics form the delicate line between the world of visual and literary arts. By focusing on the ideas that are open for expression through the hybrid nature of comics, their less academic appearance becomes irrelevant. Diving into the hybrid nature of comics, the printing process and consumer quality that fills up most of WOW Comics and many other comics coming out of World War One, will become less important. While their value in history, their relationship between visual and literary qualities, and the overall wealth acquired from looking at comics as art will become apparent.

Art and History – World History and Movements Within Comics  

When looking at comics as art, it is important to document that most comics that are being created surrounding a war, WOW Comics included, are almost always focused on the war occurring. With this recurrence of war within comic, a connection can be made between the goals of many famous painters and writers that include war in their works of art. This framework of seeing comics like other works of art, as a way to document history and/or movements in a society, help us to understand their artistic and historic value.

In Sabin Roger’s book Comics, Comix, & Graphic Novels, there is an outline of the movements in comics that occurred to fill a new motif. Here Roger describes action comics and their newly found way of artistic expression: “the name of the game was bold, figurative art with strong colours. In terms of content, the emphasis was again on simplicity: the heroic derring-do found in the pulps was perfect” (57). This shows how a movement within a comic books changes how the artists met new demands in their medium. This happens in action and hero comics, like WOW Comics where there is a demanded to draw more attention onto the hero and their call to action. This shift in relation to motif and visual representation proves that, like many other movements in art history, artist within comics are looking at past ways of dealing with medium and remodeling it to fit the ideas they want to share.

This demand for comic book artists to shape their work to fit the story line of action heroes, is also a challenge that they faced when drawing comics for World War One. Sabin Roger explains that in Britain, the First World War created a new demand for artistic representation within comics. “Artistically speaking, the genre made new demands on comics (54). Invariably, the style would have to be ‘realistic’ in order to carry the story, and this required a new attention to detail”(57). What Rogers speaks to in this quote, is not only the adaptation the comic must undergo to match the subject matter, but the hybrid relationship that all comics carry. The hybrid relationship is the marriage of the realistic images needed to coincide within the new storyline of World War One.

Showing that by understanding the comics’ way of shaping the artists format to match the subject matter and working between the relationship of imagery and subject to convey a coherent message reveals that comics should be recognized in art history.This hybrid relationship of the marriage between a comics media and visual representation is shown

A three panel of Dart fighting with shipmates.
Figure 1. E.T. Legault. Panel from “Dart Daring.” WOW Comics, No. 3, December 1941, p. 9. Bell Features Collection, Library and Archives Canada.

in WOW Comics Issue 3. Shown in figure 1 on page 9 of “Dart Daring’s” action packed fight, the medium is being used to convey meaning. The viewer’s eyes automatically go to the middle panel, where the gutters are being used to draw tension onto to Dart’s relentless fight. This overt feeling of tension being placed on the main character is drawn into full force by the use of medium to convey a message.

The Hybrid – Scout McCloud and the Lines between Art and Comics

While understanding the complex hybrid nature of art, it is important to look into Scott McCloud’s rich understanding of the comic’s place within high art. McCloud explains that movements in art, like Modernism, Expressionism, Dada and Surrealism, made their way into being ‘art’ the same way comics did – by the balance of “appearance and meaning”. While comics have a hybrid balance of words and images, they take on the birth that many  famous works in art history have (144-149). In further relation to the language in art and comics, McCloud expands on the expressionist use of line in relation to comics. McCloud explains that late nineteenth century artists such as Much and Van Gogh, worked with line as a way to express deep meaning, meaning that can also be found in comics (122-125). Although the comics use of line might not be as vibrant as one of Van Gogh’s night skies, it does mean that comics lack expression within their use of line or colour. It might mean that the comic is expressing something more calm and simple.

Dart is draw in a page containing three triangle panels. In panel one, Dart sits shirtless on his boat staring into panel two. In panel two Dart holds onto his lover while staring at the viewer. In panel three Dart holds his lover while knelling before a latter leading to a ship.
Figure 2. E.T. Legault. Panel from “Dart Daring.” WOW Comics, No. 3, December 1941, p. 2. Bell Features Collection, Library and Archives Canada.

This use of line as expression can also be found in WOW Comics Issue 3, when “Dart Daring” is show in a three piece triangular panel in the first section of his spread. Seen in figure 2, this early introduction to Dart is important as it requires the viewer to see him as an important character in their first encounter. Line is used here, like the expressionist, to render tremendous meaning. In its most obvious way the three panels are broken up by harsh lines, placing Dart in an altarpiece of panels. In panel one the reader makes their way from the horizontal lined waves that are forced into corners, arriving at Dart creating a line with his  body, leaning towards the next panel. As he looks onto himself in panel two,  he guides the viewer’s eyes. While the last panel uses line to create literal distance and give Dart, the only rounded figure in the panel, a chance to break free from the daunting lines of the boat and the adventure that lies ahead.

By recognizing how comics use line in a subconscious way, it can become clear how they hold as much meaning in relation to the way famous artist use line.  Continuing with McCloud’s comparison of high art to comics, he explains that “the father of the modern comic in many ways is Rodolphe Topffer” (120),  revealing that his cartooning and use of panel explores a combination of pictures and words. This made him a contributor to the understanding of comics. According to McCloud, Topffer was a master and creator of a form that was “both and neither” text and image (122). All of these recurring ideas that flow between high art and comics should be taken into consideration when understanding that these two art forms function similarly and should be treated as such.

Pop Art – Roy Lichtenstein, High Art and Comics for Creativity

When you combine high art and comics, you get Roy Lichtenstein, “being one of the best known pop artists of the 1960’s to use comics and cartoons as source material for their work” (Greenville 228). In order to understand the comics place in high art and academia, it is vital to understand how Lichtenstein took hold of the medium for an artist message. By diving into Lichtenstein’s goal of using comics in his art, we can come to a conclusion on why we should learn from Lichtenstein and use comics for creativity.

In Bruce Greenville’s book KRAZY! Roy Lichtenstein’s rendering of the comic is presented in full force, by Greenville saying that “Lichtenstein’s genius lay(s) in his ability to grasp the most compelling elements of comic composition and bring them forward for scrutiny”(Greenville 228). This quote acknowledges Lichtenstein’s tribute to comics. He also used comics to his advantage by working with a strong understand of the new visual culture that was emerging at the time. He used a medium as a vessel to express his artistic message (288), as many great artist of the past have. This use of medium in relation to message within high art is an idea that takes place in comics as well. In Rublowsky’s book Pop Art, he highlights Lichtenstein’s interest in comics and their mechanical creator, the separation within the comics that comes from the lack of viewing the artist’s hand (1-2). Here, there is specific definition of what Lichtenstein found so intriguing about comics.  

Continuing with a greater understanding of what Roy Lichtenstein was trying to achieve by using comics as a medium, it becomes clear that we should be following in his footsteps and use comics for our own artistic and literary expression. In Michael Lobel’s book Image Duplicator, there is an explanation of how art historians disapproval of Lichtenstein’s work allows for a deeper insight into the academic use of comics. The explanation states, “I think it is fair to say that art history as a discipline has tended to view realist painting of any period as if they were nothing more than accurate transcriptions of reality outside themselves” (Lobel 14). Lobel expands by using an art historians critic of Liechtenstein to his advantage saying, “I want to treat Fried’s components in much the same way Lichtenstein treated printed images: I will appropriate and strategically reuse them for my own purpose” (Lobel 15). By combining Lichtenstein’s use of comics for an artistic message and Lobel’s tactical way of turning art historians critique of Liechtenstein to fit his project, it is clear that the same should be done with comics. By looking at comics as artistic expression or a vessel in which artists (like Lichtenstein) can be inspired, their space within art history and academic study allows for more opportunities of creativity and learning.   

Conclusion

The evidence that comics belong in academic and creative discourse is overwhelming. The risk in not including this hybrid art form that is comics into the world of art and literary history allows for current gaps to form in creativity and learning. By understanding a critical reading of WOW Comics issue 3, the historical view of comics as ‘false art’, how comics work within movements similar to art history, the hybrid art of comics and the inspiring way in which Roy Lichtenstein’s uses comics for creativity, academic and creative thinkers must be called to re-evaluate comics as valuable components of our past and future history.


Work Cited

Legault, E.T. “Dart Daring”. WOW Comics,Volume 1, No. 3, December 1941, p. 2-9. Canadian Whites Comic Book Collection, 1941-1946. RULA Archives and Special Collections Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.  

Beaty, Bart. Comics Versus Art . University of Toronto Press, 2012. Toronto, Canada.

Greenville, Bruce,  et al. KRAZY!: The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art. Vancouver Art Gallery,University of California Press, 2008. Vancouver, B.C.

Lobel, Michael. Image Duplicator: Roy Lichtenstein and the Emergence of Pop Art. Yale University Press, 2002. New Haven.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art. Harper Perennial 1994. 1st edition. New York, N.Y.

Rublowsky, John and Ken Heyman. Pop Art. Basic Books, 1965.  New York, N.Y.

Sabin, Roger. Comics, Comix, & Graphic Novels: A History of Comic Art. Phaidon Press Limited, 1996. London.

Witek, Joseph. Comic Books as History: The Narrative Art of Jack Jackson, Art Spiegelman, and Harvey Pekar. University Press of Mississippi, 1989.


Images in this online exhibit are either in the public domain or being used under fair dealing for the purpose of research and are provided solely for the purposes of research, private study, or education.