Date of Award

Summer 8-2012

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Eric Tribunella

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Kate Cochran

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Maureen Ryan

Committee Member 3 Department



The 1980s—the last decade of the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union—was a time of great change in the medium of graphic literature. Among the writers who changed superhero comic books through such strategies as the adoption of the anti-hero concept were Alan Moore and Frank Miller. In Watchmen and V for Vendetta, Alan Moore presents his super anti-heroes as intellectuals whose missions are the transformation and disruption of a national status quo in order to foster a brighter future. In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Daredevil: Born Again, Frank Miller presents his reinvented super anti-heroes as scions of a previous age (the World War II generation) who act as teachers and exemplars of violent resistance to the crime-ridden and uncertain reality of 1980s New York City—a time and place defined by financial crises and the omnipresent fear of nuclear annihilation. Taken together, these graphic novelists stand as examples of a specific time period in the development of the graphic literary art form.