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When the Comic Industry Almost Died: The 1950s War Against Comics

In Arts and Culture, Columns, Comics, Spring 2015 by Dan SpinelliLeave a Comment

In November, Under the Button (Penn’s humorous student-run blog) went through Van Pelt Library looking for strange book titles. One of the gems uncovered during UTB’s trek through the library was none other than Seduction of the Innocent by Dr. Fredric Wertham, a nasty-looking tome published in 1954. For UTB’s …

Dan SpinelliWhen the Comic Industry Almost Died: The 1950s War Against Comics
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Sex Criminals and the Creator-Owned Revolution

In Arts and Culture, Columns, Comics by Dan SpinelliLeave a Comment

In my last column, I addressed the problem of stagnant storytelling in many major comics. Brian K. Vaughan, the acclaimed writer of comics like Y: The Last Man and Saga, put it best: “Something like Spider-Man, a book that never has a third act, that seems crazy.” Such complaints rightly …

Dan SpinelliSex Criminals and the Creator-Owned Revolution
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New X-Men and the Question of Superhero Stasis

In Arts and Culture, Columns, Comics by Dan SpinelliLeave a Comment

In May 2001, Marvel Comics hired Scottish comics writer Grant Morrison to overhaul their flagship heroes, the X-Men. Morrison joined Marvel after a highly successful stint at DC Comics, where he coalesced the Justice League of America into the wildly successful JLA. Like Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, two other …

Dan SpinelliNew X-Men and the Question of Superhero Stasis
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Spandex and Sex Dolls: Sexual objectification of women in comics

In Columns, Comics by Dan Spinelli2 Comments

Two weeks ago, I addressed the all-too-common practice of using the suffering of women as plot devices for the development of male characters. Now I wish to discuss a more pernicious issue: the rampant sexual objectification of female characters in comics. Comics is certainly not the only medium to treat …

Dan SpinelliSpandex and Sex Dolls: Sexual objectification of women in comics
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“Women in Refrigerators”: Representing Women in Comics

In Columns, Comics by Dan SpinelliLeave a Comment

This column is part one of a two-part analysis of women in comics. This article will look at women in instances of violence and their treatment as plot objects. The second will then analyze the sexual objectification of female characters. In Green Lantern #54, released in 1994, superhero Kyle Rayner …

Dan Spinelli“Women in Refrigerators”: Representing Women in Comics
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Comics: The Forgotten Medium

In Columns, Comics by Dan Spinelli1 Comment

A film like The Avengers can gross over $1.5 billion worldwide, yet the main Avengers comic book title only sold a shade over 50,000 units in September 2014 (with other ancillary titles finishing well below that value). Is this paradox unique to comics, or is it common to all films …

Dan SpinelliComics: The Forgotten Medium
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Who Owns Wolverine?

In Columns, Comics by Dan SpinelliLeave a Comment

In the History Channel documentary Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked, acclaimed comic writer and editor Denny O’Neill once said that as an editor of DC’s Batman series, he saw himself as a “custodian of folklore.” O’Neill is not the first person to identify the modern mythology underpinning American superheroes. Superman, the …

Dan SpinelliWho Owns Wolverine?