Demanding Respect

The Evolution of the American Comic Book

Paul Lopes
Book Cover

PB: $32.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-443-4
Publication: Apr 09

HC: $76.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-442-7
Publication: Apr 09

Ebook: $32.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-444-1
Publication: Apr 09

260 pages
6 x 9

From pulp comics to Maus, the story of the growth of comics in American culture

Read the Introduction (pdf).


How is it that comic books—the once-reviled form of lowbrow popular culture—are now the rage for Hollywood blockbusters, the basis for bestselling video games, and the inspiration for literary graphic novels? In Demanding Respect, Paul Lopes immerses himself in the discourse and practices of this art and subculture to provide a social history of the American comic book over the last 75 years.

Lopes analyzes the cultural production, reception, and consumption of American comic books throughout history. He charts the rise of superheroes, the proliferation of serials, and the emergence of graphic novels. Demanding Respect explores how comic books born in the 1930s were perceived as a “menace” in the 1950s, only to later become collectors’ items and eventually “hip” fiction in the 1980s through today.

Using a theoretical framework to examine the construction of comic book culture—the artists, publishers, readers and fans—Lopes explains how and why comic books have captured the public’s imagination and gained a fanatic cult following.

Table of Contents

; Introduction: The Evolution of the American Comic Book
; 1. The Early Industrial Age I: Pulp Logic and the Rise of the American Comic Book
2. The Early Industrial Age II: The Crusade Against Comic Books and the End of the Comic Book Boom
3. The Late Industrial Age: The Return of the Superhero and the First Comic Book Rebellion
4. From the Late Industrial to the Heroic Age: Comic Book Fandom and the Mainstream Pulp Rebellion
5. The Heroic Age II: Alternative Comics and a Rebellion from the Margins
6. The Heroic Age III: New Movements, Winning Respect, and the Rise of the Graphic Novel
Conclusion: The Development of an Art Form

About the Author(s)

Paul Lopes is Associate Professor of Sociology at Colgate University. He is the author of The Rise of a Jazz Art World.