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Cord A. Scott, Comics and Conflict: Patriotism and Propaganda from WWII through Operation Iraqi Freedom

Historian and professor Cord Scott shares his insightful survey of American comic book depictions of war, providing a fresh perspective on the entwined nature of cultural and military history. Sponsored by U.S. Naval Institute Press.

Illustration has been an integral part of human history. Particularly before the advent of media such as photography, film, television, and now the Internet, illustrations in all their variety had been the primary visual way to convey history. And as World War II began, comic books became a propagandistic platform, providing information and education for both children and adults.

In Comics and Conflict, historian Cord Scott examines how specific comic books of the war genre have been used to display patriotism and adventure through war stories, and eventually to tell of the horrors of combat—from World War II through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Scott also explains how war and patriotically themed comics evolved from soldier-drawn reflections of society, eventually developing along with the broader comic book medium into a mirror of American society during times of conflict.

The focus of this work is not only on the development of the comic book medium, but also as a bellwether of society at the same time. How did comics and their writers approach the news of the war? Were people for or against the fighting? Did the writers of comics promote a perception of combat or did they try to convey the horrors of war? Scott explores these questions and fills a gap in a growing literature that looks beneath the surface of the actions of our comic book heroes.

CORD A. SCOTT has a doctorate in American history from Loyola University Chicago. He has written for several encyclopedias and academic journals and has collaborated previously with Robert Weiner on the book Captain America and the Struggle of the Superhero. He has taught at several institutions in the Chicago area.

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