Comics and childhood have had a richly intertwined history for nearly a century. From Richard Outcault’s Yellow Kid, Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo, and Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie to Hergé’s Tintin (Belgium), José Escobar’s Zipi and Zape (Spain), and Wilhelm Busch’s Max and Moritz (Germany), iconic child characters have given both kids and adults not only hours of entertainment but also an important vehicle for exploring children’s lives and the sometimes challenging realities that surround them.
Bringing together comic studies and childhood studies, this pioneering collection of essays provides the first wide-ranging account of how children and childhood, as well as the larger cultural forces behind their representations, have been depicted in comics from the 1930s to the present. The authors address issues such as how comics reflect a spectrum of cultural values concerning children, sometimes even resisting dominant cultural constructions of childhood; how sensitive social issues, such as racial discrimination or the construction and enforcement of gender roles, can be explored in comics through the use of child characters; and the ways in which comics use children as metaphors for other issues or concerns. Specific topics discussed in the book include diversity and inclusiveness in Little Audrey comics of the 1950s and 1960s, the fetishization of adolescent girls in Japanese manga, the use of children to build national unity in Finnish wartime comics, and how the animal/child hybrids in Sweet Tooth act as a metaphor for commodification.
Putting Childhood Back into World Comics: A Foreword, by Frederick Luis Aldama
Introduction. Bridging Comics Studies and Childhood Studies, by Mark Heimermann and Brittany Tullis
Chapter 1. Little Orphan Annie as Streetwalker, by Pamela Robertson Wojcik
Chapter 2. Competent Children and Social Cohesion: Representations of Childhood in Home Front Propaganda Comics during World War II in Finland, by Ralf Kauranen
Chapter 3. In the Minority: Constructions of American Dream Childhood in 1950s–Early 1960s Little Audrey Comics, by Christopher J. Hayton and Janardana D. Hayton
Chapter 4. Comics and Emmett Till, by Qiana Whitted
Chapter 5. Out of the Mouths of Babes: Mafalda's Interrogation of the Argentine Angel in the House, by Brittany Tullis
Chapter 6. Sex, Comix, and Masculinity: The Rhetoric of Zap Comix's Attack on the American Mainstream, by Ian Blechschmidt
Chapter 7. RAW and Little Lit: Resisting and Redefining Children's Comics, by Lara Saguisag
Chapter 8. Lolicon: Adolescent Fetishization in Osamu Tezuka's Ayako, by James G. Nobis
Chapter 9. Wise beyond Her Years: How Persepolis Introjects the Adult into the Child, by Clifford Marks
Chapter 10. Vehlmann, or the End of Innocence: Lessons in Cruelty in Seuls and Jolies ténèbres, by Annick Pellegrin
Chapter 11. Zeno, Childhood, and The Three Paradoxes, by C. W. Marshall
Chapter 12. Dancing with Demons: Consciousness and Identity in the Comics of Lynda Barry, by Tamryn Bennett
Chapter 13. The Grotesque Child: Animal-Human Hybridity in Sweet Tooth, by Mark Heimermann
List of Contributors
Mark Heimermann holds a PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
Brittany Tullis is an assistant professor of Spanish and women and gender studies at St. Ambrose University.
Picturing Childhood is a much needed and long-awaited interdisciplinary project that looks at representations of children throughout the history of comics.
~Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Literature
This anthology will be extremely valuable for educators and students of children's comics; it is likely to trigger many important conversations about the intersections between comics and childhoods.
Picturing Childhood is at its best when its contributors are exploring new ground and when they shine the spotlights of historical analysis and close reading on under-researched topics.
~Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth