HIS 297 Pace University New York Historicizing Comics Class Questions


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Section 1: Short answer Questions (Your answers to these questions should be no more than 3 – 5
1. American society was composed almost entirely of refugees. Name one superhero whose life
parallels the lives of refugees and briefly explain how and why.
2. How do the X-Men embody issues of multiculturalism?
3. What are some of the rules of the Comics Code and why were they considered important?
4. Of all superheroes Batman is the one who has rarely, if ever, undergone transformations to
suite America’s political situation. Why?
5. In short, state a couple of reasons why underground comics differ from mainstream works?
What did most authors of underground comics aim to achieve (you do not need to mention
specific authors)?
6. What is mannerism (how did it originate etc.) and how do comics artist employ it?
7. What is camp?
8. Name one superhero comic (no need to mention a specific story arc) or T.V. show, which
has taken advantage to cash in on the ever growing Pop Art movement by incorporating
elements of pop art.
9. Why are shamans considered an inspiration for superheroes? What are the similarities
between the two sets of individuals?
10. What are addition and substitution and how are they used in superhero comics?
Section 2: Essay Questions. Choose and answer only THREE of the following:
1. How did the “Thou Shalt Not Kill” rule originate? Why is it so vital to the world of the
superhero? How does this moral dilemma get resolved in film vs comics? How are psychotic
superheroes like the Punisher perceived by other heroes and why?
2. Fredric Wertham’s book, Seduction of the Innocent expressed concerns about the effects of
superheroes on young readers. What are some of the issues raised in this book? What
stereotypes were enforced (albeit unintentionally) in the Batman comics from the 50s? While
the work is considered archaic and stiff by contemporary standards, was this the actual
standpoint of the author in 1954? After this book was published, how did it affect DC
Batman comics?
3. How are the worlds of superheroes similar to epics? Refer to both structure and content.
Use epic examples if necessary to illustrate your point.
4. Explain the significance of religion in superhero comics, why it is so deeply seeped in
Christianity and Judaism, how DC and Marvel handle the parallel without offending but
rather engaging the audience. Then, draw a parallel between specific Biblical or Jewish lore
and two superheroes of your choice.
5. Examine the difference between western and Eastern art. How does the philosophy of one
differ vastly from that of the other and how does this affect the visual outcome. Concepts to
consider: mathematics vs essence, complexity vs simplicity, construction vs freedom, horror
vacui vs empty space, color vs monochrome. Afterwards, briefly explain how this has
affected comic and manga styles.
6. What is “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” and why are superheroes so well suited to
portray it? How do they remain loyal to it? What markers (i.e. costumes) or modes of
behavior exhibit it? How do superheroes bring American values to other cultures? By
imposing them or not? Give one or two examples of superheroes who have accepted other
people’s rights to practice their own culture and values.
Section 3: Unknown. Decide what type of transition is shown in the image below (moment-tomoment, action-to-action, subject-to-subject, scene-to-scene or aspect-to-aspect) and give reasons
for your answer. Give an account of what your chosen transition aims to accomplish. (Note: the
entire page exhibits only one transition type).
Section 4: Bonus Question (15 points)
The Golem was:
a) invented by Judah Loew ben Bezalel in 16th century Prague
b) invented by Judah Loew ben Bezalel in 16th century Berlin
c) invented by Judah Loew ben Bezalel in 16th century Madrid

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Explanation & Answer:
16 Questions

American society

Historicizing Comics

DC and Marvel

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