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Virtual Heroes: Boys, Masculinity and Historical Memory in War Comics 1945 - 1995 by ProQuest

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This article maintains that as a genre war comics are a valuable and neglected source for understanding constructions of ideal masculinity in the post-war West. While its main focus is the depiction of heroic manliness in one of the most commercially successful American war comics, G.I. Joe, comparisons are made with Britain's Commando Comics and the German pictorial war magazine Landser, which concentrated mainly on the Second World War and also enjoyed wide popularity. The article suggests that while mainly addressing an adolescent readership, over time these comics came to direct their political and moral messages not only to boys but also to increasing numbers of older men who had started reading these comics when they were boys themselves. In particular, it argues that war comics strategically deployed notions of "boyishness" in their story lines, exploiting both the negative and positive connotations of the word to make readers question the egotism and immorality of contemporary society. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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