Skip to main content

Dark Ages: A Study of 1980s Superhero Comics and the Nineteenth-Century American Romance

Francis, Fred Dark Ages: A Study of 1980s Superhero Comics and the Nineteenth-Century American Romance. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:66026)


This study seeks to redefine, and refine, the knowledge of the period in the 1980s and 1990s when the superhero comic is often considered to have gained cultural legitimacy. The repeated story of Anglo-American comics is that 1986 was the year when comics 'grew up', and serial comics bought in comics shops and read by teenage boys became graphic novels bought by adults in bookshops. Studies in comics have a long history of attempting to challenge or revise this narrative. However, in the world of superhero comics the importance of works like Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore's Watchmen has meant that a version of the 1986 narrative is repeated, often implicitly, throughout studies of the form. As studies in comics becomes increasingly institutionalised, and a tacit canon of Anglo-American comics is formed in the process, a better understanding of why, and how, this narrative retains its power is necessary. This thesis provides an in-depth examination of the texts of this key moment, often referred to as the 'Dark Age'.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Norman, Will
Thesis advisor: Collins, Michael
Uncontrolled keywords: comics, literature, graphic novels, batman, watchmen, sandman, melville, poe, hawthorne
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2018 16:10 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2021 00:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year