This book has shown that the cultural history of comic books in America is not limited to the history of publishers. Instead, cultural products correspond to a public that uses them in a variety of ways. Since the 1950s, the comic book industry has witnessed a transformation of its readers. The appearance of “graphic novels” finally allowed for the emergence of works that are sold in bookstores, where “real” books are. In addition to helping eradicate much of the stigma that comic books have endured as products primarily destined for boys enduring an extended adolescence, graphic novels enabled comics to shift toward the field of “adult culture” and inscribed the medium into a commercial life that was unrelated to the monthly periodicity of comic books. Comic books saw the rise of the superhero genre that was embedded in American popular culture since the end of the 1930s. The cultural legitimation of American comics proved beneficial to the heirs of underground comics.
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