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The Tyranny of the Serial: Popular Geopolitics, the Nation, and Comic Book Discourse

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Abstract:

Abstract: This paper seeks to theorize the structuring of geopolitical worldviews and attitudes by the comic book medium and by serial popular culture more broadly. Evidence of the use of comic books to promote specific discourses by geopolitical actors is presented, and the conventions that govern the limits of comic book narration are outlined. Among the conventions of production discussed are the role of “continuity” as a structuring force and the serial nature of most comic books. The impact of these conventions is viewed through an examination of Watchmen and Captain America comic books. Both series revolve around issues of political legitimacy and the structuring of geopolitical space, but do so in different ways. This leads to insight connecting seriality with the concept of the nation itself. Finally, a theorization of the limits to comic book and other serialized discourse is outlined, and its ultimately conservative political outcome is described as endemic to the genre.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2007.00520.x

Affiliations: Department of Geology and Geography, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, USA;, Email: jdittmer@georgiasouthern.edu

Publication date: 2007-03-01

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