Remember when your parents would double over in horror when they caught you reading a Superman comic book? "It will destroy your mind," they admonished. You dismissed this hyperbole with a shrug and
continued reading about the man from Krypton as he battled the evil elements of the world.
It turns out your mom and dad weren't too far off in their assessment of what those pages
contained. For years, comic books and graphic depictions of events and people have had the power to suggest, cajole, excite, challenge and, most importantly,
lie about the elements being depicted. On these beautifully illustrated pages, the author dives deep into the subtext that has long stood behind the simple story: comic art as propaganda.
For over 100 years, comic books have been utilized as a tool to conveying messages about religion, anti-Semitism, war, racism, drugs, and much more. Though the golden era of comic books - Superman, Batman, et al, - were essentially created by Jewish authors and writers, prior to that period the Jew was regularly cast as a traitor and a devil. Similarly, blacks have been portrayed in a horrendous light as childish savages, as "Tom," and as the tragic mulatto, a female torn between the black and white world.
In his foreword, Peter Kuper distills everything:
After careful perusal of the material herein, I have but one message to convery: DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. It contains subject matter like SEX, drugs, religion, politics, and SEX. Worse still, they are all presented in the form of multi-paneled cartoons - a medium obviously for children, but in the examples presented here, blatant, unadulterated propaganda.
The art and the comic book cover reproductions are stunning and equally as terrifying in the messages they were meant to convey. The author, a historian and longtime researcher of all things comics, has assembled a visually stunning book that will stun you even more by what's hidden in the shadows.