Comic Book Crime
Truth, Justice, and the American Way
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Some books write themselves. This was not one of them, and so we wish to thank everyone who helped us along the way. Our hard work would have been futile without the guidance and support of many people. In particular we would like to thank Dr. Jeff Ferrell, of Texas Christian University and the University of Kent, and Dr. Mark Hamm, of Indiana State University, who ...
1 Holy Criminology, Batman!: Comics and Constructions of Crime and Justice
Comic book readers around the world know that the medium’s unforgetta-ble heroes and villains are capable of leaping out of their pages and into our lives. Upholding “truth, justice, and the American way” with super-powered strength and agility that is “faster than a speeding bullet,” Superman emerged from his Kryptonian rocket ship and onto the American cultural landscape, ...
2 “Crime Doesn’t Pay”: A Brief History of Crime and Justice Themes in Comic Books
Dan Richards graduates last in his class at the police academy, but his tal-ent for fighting crime outshines even the “honor man” among the graduates. During his academy days, Richards had secretly built an extensive file of known criminal personalities. When a Mafia thug frames him and a class-mate for the murder of his rival, corrupt politician Al Armaud, Richards uses ...
3 The World Is Shifting: Terrorism, Xenophobia, and Comic Books after 9/11
The post-9/11 age of comics is devastatingly crystallized in the graphic novel Shooting War, which is deeply informed by real-life events on the ground, as well as by the ways in which digital technology and blog journalism have transformed the coverage of world events. Rogue journalist Jimmy Burns blows open the story on American military war crimes through the release ...
4 A Better Tomorrow: Apocalypse, Utopia, and the Crime Problem
In the opening pages of Coup d’Etat, published in 2004 by DC imprint Wild-storm, the state of Florida suffers destruction and mass casualties brought on by aliens who attack its residents, and whose motives remain elusive.1The series occurs in a separate universe that features the Authority, a team of superheroes that works toward saving the world from various threats, both on ...
5 “That’s the Trouble with a Bad Seed”: Villains and the Embodiment of Evil
The story arc in “Dangerous,” from Astonishing X-Men, heats up when its villain, Danger, threatens the mutant students at the Xavier Institute. She is embodied as a bright blue feminized robot, much like the mechanized gynoids in the classic film Metropolis (1928). Danger traps the students in the “Danger Room,” a holographic simulation room used for training. While ...
6 “Aren’t We Supposed to Be the Good Guys?”: Heroes, Deathworthiness, and Paths to Justice
Upset that he slept through 9/11 after a pathetic self-deprecating bender, age-old superhero Savior 28 goes into a deep, reflective, and depressive spiral, emerging with an alternative to his violent approach to injustice. Haunted by a phrase from the Buddha that his wife often repeated, “What is most needed is a loving heart,” he decides to work toward peace. Addressing a crowd, Sav-...
7 “Take Down the Bad Guys, Save the Girl”: Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Comic Book Justice
In 2005, DC Comics’ Villains United introduced Scandal Savage, the daugh-ter of supervillain Vandal Savage. Scandal is among a rogue band of six villains available for hire as a mercenary team. In Villains United, Scandal rebuffs the advances of her teammate, Deadshot, and proclaims that she is a lesbian. In the final issue of the series, Scandal’s girlfriend is revealed to be ...
8 “Aren’t There Any Brown People in This World?”: Race, Ethinicity, and Crime Fighting
In the medium of comics, in which graphic representations communicate ideas, the identity marker of race has often been stereotypical and problem-atic. Although racial identities intersect with other identities such as gender and sexual orientation, a separate treatment of race as it plays out in criminal justice themes yields important information about messages of racial iden-...
9 Apocalyptic Incapacitation: The “Maximum-Maximum” Response to Crime
In his article Feeding Wolves: Punitiveness and Culture, David Green writes that our understanding of criminal justice policy is influenced by the cul-tural resources we encounter on a daily basis, that the stories “we tell and retell ourselves, are crucial to the ways we understand the world and how to engage with it.”1 The solutions that we embrace to address our social prob-...
10 Conclusion: Ultimate Justice
During the September 8, 2011, Republican presidential primary, Texas gover-nor and candidate Rick Perry underscored his commitment to capital pun-In the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you’re involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of ...
APPENDIX: SAMPLE AND METHODOLOGY
...* “Popular” is based on the Michaels’ Index calculated from March 2003 – August 2009.Our units of analysis were story arcs appearing in the series mentioned in the sampling list. For our purposes, we defined a series according to the book title. Thus a large-scale crossover event such as “Civil War” has sev-eral titles, such as Civil War, Civil War: Chronicles, Civil War: Frontline, and ...
...1. Josh Kurtz, “New Growth in a Captive Market”; Gail A. Caputo, Intermediate 2. The influence and quality of comic books have not gone unnoticed by academics who have published literary critiques such as Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium (2004), The Sandman Papers (2006), and The Best American Comics Criticism, among others. College professors, particularly in the humani-...
Abramsky, Sasha. American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Impris-Alsford, Mike. Heroes and Villains. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2006.Altheide, David. “Ethnographic Content Analysis.” Qualitative Sociology 10, no. 1 (1987): Amnesty International. “USA: Stonewalled: Police Abuse and Misconduct against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People in the U.S.” Amnesty International, September 21, ...
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Nickie D. Phillips is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology Staci Strobl is Associate Professor in the Department of Law, Police Sci-ence, and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal ...
Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2013