Medical history's graphic power in American true-adventure comic books of the 1940s
By attending to the graphic artistry that brought to life the medical history narratives in American comic books of the 1940s, this study adds a new dimension to the scholarly understanding of these books and of the Spanish-language medical and scientific biography comics published in Mexico from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. Prior studies have established the substantial presence of medical stories in comic book publications and argued that the history of medicine was present in popular culture of the era to an unprecedented and unnoticed extent. This chapter illustrates the exceptionally strong artwork used in some of the early examples in the genre. The essay examines style, esthetics, and the engagement of readers. Such an approach can highlight just what made specific drawing styles successful in conveying a story's content. Furthermore, certain features of this graphic work are shown to be indebted to innovations in contemporary photojournalism. Additionally, one can observe a decline in the quality of the art over time when the genre replaced the unique strengths of comic book graphics and shifted to a traditional mode of illustration.
Hansen, B. (2019)., Medical history's graphic power in American true-adventure comic books of the 1940s, in H. Fangerau (ed.), Handbook of popular culture and biomedicine, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 179-194.
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