A History of Comics and How They Reflect American Culture

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NEW YORK - AUGUST 31: Vintage Marvel comics are seen for sale at St. Mark's Comics August 31, 2009 in New York City. The Walt Disney Co. announced that it plans to acquire Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion in stock and cash, bringing 5,000 Marvel characters including Spider Man and Incredible Hulk under the Disney umbrella.  ((Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images))

From Thomas Nast’s cartoons exposing corruption in late 19th century New York City politics, to the Peanuts comic strip in the 1950’s, to graphic memoirs like Persepolis, Columbia University American studies professor Jeremy Dauber traces the evolution of the art form in his new book “American Comics: A History”. Dauber joins us to discuss why cartoons, comic strips, and graphic novels have captured the American imagination and what they can reveal about the changing politics and culture of the country. And we’ll talk with a contemporary Bay Area cartoonist about what is gained from using illustrations to tell stories.


Jeremy Dauber, author, "American Comics: A History", professor of American studies and Jewish literature, Columbia University

Thien Pham, cartoonist, author of "Sumo"