Great Power and Great Responsibility: The Philosophical Politics of Comics

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By: Douglas Mann

December 2014
430 pages | ISBN 978-1-894987-79-0
$25.00

Great Power and Great Responsibility: The Philosophical Politics of Comic Books is a thought-provoking collection of essays that delves into the philosophies that underlie many of the great comic series. From Sheena to the Marvel Civil War series, Douglas Mann considers a wide variety of comic storylines and characters, how they reflect the political times that formed them and the culture that both creates and enjoys them. A fascinating and unusual look at two pieces of society that do not generally appear on the same page.

Contents

1. An Introduction to Comic Books
2. To Compromise or Not to Compromise, That is the Question: Watchmen as Ethical and Political Dialogue
3. Secret Societies and Better Worlds in Planetary
4. Civil War and the Right to Revolt
5. A Primordial Rumble in the Comic Book Jungle: Sheena Rehabilitated
6. It’s Fun to Blow Stuff Up! Bomb Queen as a Satire on American Foreign Policy
7. The Post-Ideological Hero: Comic Books Go to Hollywood
8. The Phenomenology of Geek Culture

Excerpt

Read excerpts from the Introduction and from "To Compromise or Not to Compromise, That is the Question: Watchmen as Ethical and Political Dialogue."

Reviews

Review (Courtney Wilson, Once Upon a Bookshelf, 21/05/2015)
“All in all, Great Power and Great Responsibility is really a book that has something for everyone, no matter the reader’s familiarity with comics. If someone has never read a comic book before, it goes into how to read comics. For those who are comic book fans, it explores themes that you’ll find in various comic book series.”

Book Review (Dave, Comic Book Herald, 11/05/2015)
“Make no mistake, Mann takes these comics seriously, and it’s why I find this read so compelling. A cynical mind could reduce Civil War to Mark Millar and Steve McNiven destructively toying with action figures, but Mann gives the social debate a heft I didn’t know it could take on. In his essay, ‘Civil War and the Right to Revolt,’ Mann aligns Captain America and Iron Man with historic philosophies, and examines how those insights inform the decisions of the story.”

Articles

Fall Preview Week: Day Five, Jaime from Epic Books' Picks (Jaime Krakowski, All Lit Up, 25/09/2014)
“There are a couple of different reasons for this: number one, comic book culture is really exploding right now! With the growth of comic related movies, expos, and events the world of comics has been expanded to include a whole new generation and possibly even demographic. Many of these fans, myself included, are fascinated by the history and political and cultural implications that are developed within these stories. Secondly, this is going to be a great looking book with the cover designed by cartoonist and author Evan Munday. I know that’s an odd thing to mention, as we’ve all agreed never to judge a book by its cover, but having a great cover certainly doesn’t hurt!”

Interviews

"Five Fabulous, Very Different, Tremendously Exciting Spring Reads" (Lisa de Nikolits, All Lit Up, 11/03/2015)
Lisa de Nikolits interviewed Douglas Mann about his new book.

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