Propaganda and comic books

Propaganda and comic books go together like paper and glue. Comics have that magical way of keeping anyone’s attention to get a message across. The message varies, from telling kids to stay in school, to getting people to hate a group of people, and everything in between. Propaganda in itself is not a bad thing. Yet after WW2 and Hitler’s (or well, Goebbels) insane amount of Nazi propaganda, the word has taken a negative connotation.

For the most part western society has done a good job of not using stereotypes in comics and cartoons anymore. Does it still exist? Of course it does, just look at South Park or Family Guy. However our society for the most part has become overtly sensitive to such things, but not that long ago society was not as polite.

Up until American’s learned of the Holocaust during WW2, negative stereotypes of the Jews was largely accepted in American society. We can’t ignore the portrayal of the Japanese during this war, who were shown as yellow, buck toothed devils. During the silver age of comics, Hal Jordan had a very stereotyped Asian side-kick named Pie-Face. And let’s not forget how women were treated. Poor Sue Storm, even though she is a super hero, her power is invisibility, which is how majority of women were treated in comics (as well as society). Then again we have such powerful ladies such as Wonder Woman (and yet, her weakness is being tied up) and Catwoman (whose weakness is Batman).

This all leads me to this book: “Comic Art Propaganda” by Fredrik Stromberg. This book just came out last month, and let me tell you. It’s amazing. This might just be one of the best books about comic books to come out in a long time.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: