Super-History: Comic Book Superheroes and American Society, 1938 to the Present by Jeffrey K. Johnson
In the less than eight decades since Superman's debut in 1938, comic book superheroes have become an indispensible part of American society and the nation's dominant mythology. They quickly expanded from their sequential art origins to become a part of nearly every portion of society, from film and television to art and academia. They represent America's hopes, dreams, fears, and needs and have become ingrained in the nation's social and cultural fabric. As a form of popular literature, superhero narratives have closely mirrored and molded social trends and changes, influencing and reflecting political, social, and cultural events. This study provides a decade by decade chronicle of American history from 1938 to 2010 through the lens of superhero comics, revealing the spandex-clad guardians to be not only fictional characters but barometers of the place and time in which they reside.