Since the early 1900s, the world has seen the emergence, growth, and now boom of a new literary genre: the comic book. The comic book industry has existed for nearly a hundred years now as a subculture of American literature and popular culture. Initially gaining significant popularity during World War II, the comic book industry introduced the first “superhero” comics in the late 1930s and early 1940s. In the decades to follow, the comic book industry would achieve significant milestones as they developed alongside the views and values of the American people. As comic books began to expand in both length and depth, these new works of literature have established themselves as a new genre of scholarly literature. Surrounding stigma and criticisms about the substance and form of comic books has kept them from receiving much attention in the academic setting. However, following the research done by numerous comic book scholars and critics, this thesis analyzes three main aspects of comic books as defined by the standards of traditional literary studies: form, content, and style. The analysis of these aspects and how they connect to the views of American culture as well as how they compare to other established literary genres will attempt to credit comic books as unique works of literature that should be considered independent of other genres.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 5-4-2020


Dr. Dominic Ashby

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Eastern Kentucky University, Department of English

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars


English and Theatre