The monster is an amorphous and ambiguous manifestation of social values, representing fear and revulsion of a cultural Other while engendering escapist power fantasies. The monster era of Marvel Comics from the late 1950s to the early 1960s created a new mediation of the monster based heavily on the comic book industry's desire for a model of mass producible creative content. Graphic narrative's hybridization of verbal and visual rhetoric captures the cultural fluidity of the monster by using multimedia signifiers of ambiguity and reiterating popular visual archetypes. However, Marvel monster categories are as much a result of economic and visual limitations of the comic book medium. Marvel monster rhetoric, in turn, transformed the dichotomy of fear and desire at the heart of the monster into a new superheroic archetype. This article explores the verbal and visual rhetoric of the monster era and what rhetorics transferred to Marvel's silver age superheroes of the 1960s.


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pp. 110-135
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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