Rough Journal Article Outline



True Inspiration: The Rhetoric of Comic Book Superheroes”

The Ancient Greeks had a term, skandalon. This term, in one of its definitions, is defined as a kind of “stumbling block” or something that may be around you, in the every day, that one day you “stumble” while walking past and that forces you to take a much closer look at it. Comic books are evolving into just that kind of skandalon in our world today with the advent and popularity of movies and films based on comic books and comic book superheroes, why is it impossible to think that such things as comic books superheroes should not be studied, not be taken seriously? Superheroes are a mirror upon the real world. Studying superheroes, like any other discipline, requires humanity to look at itself – like the plays of Shakespeare (that were themselves just “popular” entertainment in his time). To study superheroes is to study the ideas and archetypes that form the core of human hopes, aspirations, and ideas that inspire us to look for and create a better “real” world. Comic book superheroes represent a rhetorical opportunity to self-examine and explore humanity, like any other piece of literature, in order to discover what inspires us to create a better world.


I. Context and Background

A. Power of “ideas” and Grant Morrison’s Supergods introduction

B. Is it a “genre”

C. Rhetorical implications of symbols


II. Literature Review

A. Morrison’s work

B. Coogan and Jenkins

C. Umberto Eco

D. Ideological Battles

1. Wertham and Engle


III. Approach

A. What defines Literature vs. Popular fiction

B. Comic books and Literature

C. Mythology and Joseph Campbell

D. Rhetorical superpowers of Chaim Perelman

E. Crisis of the Great Depression

F. New Literature



A. Weaving the narrative together, connecting the “medium” of comic books to an

expression/reflection of human story telling and aims at inspirations.

B. Morrison’s rhetorical analysis



A. Addressing the criticisms of Literature via Morrison’s analysis

B. Arguing Comics and literature’s influence

C. Understanding Scott McCloud

D. Examining the Graphic Cannon

E. Recognizing rhetorical potential in narrative/visual medium



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