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Comic Strips and Consumer Culture, 1890-1945…

Comic Strips and Consumer Culture, 1890-1945

by Ian Gordon

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This is a serious volume. I picked it up, because at age 56 I still enjoy reading the comics and thought this might provide some historical perspective. It did, however, this is an outgrowth of the author's PhD dissertation, and at times, reads like one. Very, very thorough in its core subject -comic strips and comsummerism - but not a lot beyond that. Lots of notes and a fantastic bibliography for those that want a deeper or broader dive into the subject area. ( )
  jsoos | Jun 19, 2015 |
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Contending that comic strips contributed to the expansion of a mass consumer culture driven by visual images, Ian Gordon shows how, in addition to embellishing a wide array of goods with personalities, the comics themselves increasingly promoted consumerist values and upward mobility. He details how "Gasoline Alley" advocated the enjoyment of cars and how 1920s working girl Winnie Winkle became an avid seeker of a middle-class lifestyle. Documenting the invention of the comic book in the 1940s, Gordon also describes the emergence of a super-licensed Superman, whose girlfriend Lois Lane even went on a shopping spree during a period of wartime rationing.Emerging just as Americans were beginning to define themselves less by what they made and believed and more by what they bought, comic strips were from the outset commodities sold by syndicates to newspapers nationwide. Ian Gordon demonstrates that the strips' most enduring role has been not only to mirror a burgeoning consumer culture but also to actively promote it.… (more)

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