The Underground Artist as Political Spokesperson

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The Underground Artist as Political Spokesperson

It has often been said that comics do not necessarily affect society as much as they reflect society. Where the latter may seem to be true, the former is the more obvious truth. The subtlety of their messages may escape the immediate notice of the average citizen, but hours, or even days later, when that person stops and uses a clever comic to illustrate a point; the artist’s statement has been made. Many subtleties appeared in the 1960’s-1970’s – no one really noticing their arrival until it was too late to prevent their existence – and many of these same subtleties made permanent changes in the way American youth perceived their world, and especially their country.

The periods of the ‘60’s and 70’s were periods of unrest in America . The culture that our society had grown accustomed to was in the throes of violent change, redefining itself on what seemed to be a day-by-day basis.

By ‘culture’ we refer to the social circulation of meanings, values, and pleasures, to the process of forming social identities and social relationships, and to entering into relation with the larger social order in a particular way and from a particular position. (Fiske 322)

To make such a simple statement about these twenty years may seem to devalue them, but one thing remained constant through all those changes. Despite, or in spite of at times, the political bankruptcy of the nation, the evaporating credibility of national and international policy, Vietnam, rioting in the city streets and on college campuses, not to mention the murder of innocent students by an armed militia, comic books stayed stable. They provided a foundation, although rooted in “Establishment” values, for ...

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