The Wonder of Women

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ACS 3000: FALL 2015
Dr. Coletta
Research Essay Assignment 1

Icons of American Comics

For the first research essay assignment in ACS 3000, students are asked to write a research and analysis paper discussing an iconic comics character who has permeated our culture. The character should be one that originated in either in a comic strip, comic book, or graphic novel. Characters who debuted in animation are also acceptable. However, these animated characters must have had a sustained or significant presence within the comics pages too. Iconic characters make us reflect upon who we are, what we aspire to be, and what we value. Your essay should explore how your character/topic reflects the American experience out of which he/she sprang and how they achieved relevance by adapting to, and perhaps influencing, the evolving American character.

An iconic character is one that has had a great impact upon the broader American culture. One aspect of iconicity that facilitates this impact is that the icon is symbolic; it represents something more than itself. For example, Spider-Man’s adventures repeatedly reaffirm a belief in the inherent goodness of humanity. For icons developed in underground or alternative comics, the impact might come from challenging the status quo and forcing us to examine the values of our culture. Essays should be more than simple character biographies, but should provide an in-depth exploration of the icon as a product of and an influence on American culture. Your iconic character may have enjoyed his/her heyday well before our current era, or it may continue to radiate tremors across the cultural landscape.

Each research essay should be divided into several sections: * The character’s creation and publication history: the significant storylines and supporting cast that fill the stories; important creators involved in…...

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