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American Comics: A Puckish History

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, November 4, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0179
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Jeremy Dauber (Photo: Tilly Blair)

Beginning with cartoonist Thomas Nast’s lasting images of Uncle Sam and Santa Claus created during the Civil War, author Jeremy Dauber traces the sweeping story of cartoons, comic strips, and graphic novels, and their continuing hold on the American imagination. He pages through the newspaper’s golden age of comic strips (“Krazy Kat,” “The Yellow Kid,” “Dick Tracy”) and the midcentury superhero boom (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman). He revisits the moral panic of the Eisenhower era and the underground comix movement, and recalls the grim and gritty Dark Knights and Watchmen. Dauber also pays homage to the graphic novel’s rise, thanks to the genius of Art Spiegelman (Maus), Alison Bechdel (Fun Home), and Joe Sacco (Palestine).

Dauber shows how comics have changed, and how American politics and history have changed them. He describes the origins of beloved comics, champions neglected masterpieces, and argues that we can understand how America sees itself by seeing whose stories are in the comics.  

His book American Comics: A History (W. W. Norton & Company) is available for purchase.

Book Sale Information

  • Purchase your copy of American Comics by Jeremy Dauber here.
  • SPECIAL NOTE: Politics and Prose is offering a 10% discount to Smithsonian Associates ticket-holders. To claim your discount, enter the code SPECIAL10 (no space between letters and numbers) in the “Coupon discount” section on Politics and Prose's check-out page.

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