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Comics and the U.S. South$
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Brannon Costello and Qiana J. Whitted

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781617030185

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617030185.001.0001

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Southern Super-Patriots and United States Nationalism

Southern Super-Patriots and United States Nationalism

Race, Region, and Nation in Captain America

(p.62) Southern Super-Patriots and United States Nationalism
Comics and the U.S. South

Brannon Costello

University Press of Mississippi

During World War II, superhero comics achieved a degree of cultural legitimacy by becoming an unofficial instrument of U.S. propaganda that promotes America as a democratic, virtuous, and unified country. For example, Marvel Comics’ Captain America, along with the American superhero genre as a whole, was inextricably linked to a fantasy of heroic nationalism. When Steve Rogers resigned as Captain America, he was replaced by John Walker, a flashy patriotic adventurer and sometime antagonist of Captain America. Known as the Super-Patriot, Walker is a well-intentioned but reactionary and violent southerner. This chapter examines how Captain America contributed to the construction of U.S. nationalism in relation to the role of the South in both complicating and fostering attempts to imagine the nation as a unified and coherent whole. In considering the “Captain America No More” storyline by writer Mark Gruenwald and several artists, it analyzes anxieties of race, region, and nation as well as the growing centrality of the South in America’s political and cultural life.

Keywords:   superhero comics, Marvel Comics, Captain America, nationalism, Super-Patriot, South, nation, race, region, cultural life

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