1st Edition

The Routledge Introduction to American Comics

By Andrew J. Kunka, Rachel R. Miller Copyright 2024
    272 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This accessible, up-to-date textbook covers the history of comics as it developed in the U.S. in all of its forms: political cartoons and newspaper comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, minicomics, and webcomics. Over the course of its five chapters, this introductory textbook addresses the artistic, cultural, social, economic, and technological impacts and innovations that comics has had in American history. Readers will be immersed in the history of American comics – from its origins in 18th century political cartoons and late 19th century newspaper strips to the rise of the wildly popular comic book, the radical, grassroots collectives that grew out of the underground comix movement of the 1960s and 70s, all the way through contemporary longform graphic novels, the vibrant self-publishing scene, and groundbreaking webcomics. The Routledge Introduction to American Comics guides students, researchers, archivists, and even fans of the medium through a contemporary history of comics, attending to how a diverse range of creators and researchers have advanced the art form in key ways since its inception as a foundational art of American popular culture. In this way, it is uniquely suited for readers engaged in the study of comics as well as those interested in the creation of comics and graphic narratives.


    1          Newspaper Comics                                                                                         

    2          Comic Books

    3          Underground Comix  

    4          Graphic Novels                                    

    5          Minicomics                                                              

    6          Webcomics


    Andrew J. Kunka is Professor of English at the University of South Carolina Sumter. He received his PhD in Twentieth-Century British Literature from Purdue University and a MA in British and American Literature from Marquette University. He is the author of Autobiographical Comics and the Eisner Award-nominated The Life and Comics of Howard Cruse: Taking Risks in the Service of Truth. He has written on a variety of topics in comics studies, including race and ethnicity, the history of the graphic novel, the Comics Code, and adaptations.

    Rachel R. Miller received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Twentieth and Twenty-First-Century American Literature and Visual Culture from The Ohio State University, where she served as the first assistant editor for Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society. Her work on women’s comics has been published in The Oxford Handbook of Comics Studies, The Routledge Companion in Gender and Sexuality in Comic Book Studies, and Comics Memory: Archives and Styles. She co-curated the show Ladies First: A Century of Women’s Contributions to Comics and Cartoon Art at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.