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The Rise of the American Comics ArtistCreators and Contexts$
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Paul Williams and James Lyons

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781604737929

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604737929.001.0001

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Signals from Airstrip One: The British Invasion of Mainstream American Comics

Signals from Airstrip One: The British Invasion of Mainstream American Comics

(p.31) Chapter Three Signals from Airstrip One: The British Invasion of Mainstream American Comics
The Rise of the American Comics Artist

Chris Murray

University Press of Mississippi

The Beatles’ very first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964 was hailed by the American press as the “British Invasion” of rock and roll. Exactly two decades later, the British Invasion of American comics began when DC Comics published the twenty-first issue of its then flagging The Saga of the Swamp Thing title. Written by Alan Moore, the series helped propel the careers of many other comics writers. This chapter examines the emergence of literary themes and allusions in DC Comics during the 1980s following British writers’ entry into the U.S. comics industry. After discussing the American influence on British comics, it describes the interaction between British comics and American popular culture in order to understand the attitude of these writers toward American comics. The chapter then considers how Moore’s innovations inspired writers such as Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison, as well as Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, and Mark Millar. It also analyzes the early work of Moore, Morrison, and Gaiman, along with their perspective on superheroes in relation to the complex political and cultural relationship between Britain and America.

Keywords:   comics, DC Comics, Alan Moore, comics writers, popular culture, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, superheroes, Britain, America

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