Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hilyerd on Lawyers in American Comic Books, 1910-2007

Hi Superman, I'm a Lawyer: A Guide to Attorneys (& Other Legal Professionals) Portrayed in American Comic Books: 1910-2007. This is a new paper by William A. Hilyerd, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. Here's the abstract:

Since comic books were first introduced in the 1930s, they have provided entertainment for children and adults alike. Most American males (and a significant portion of American females) have read comic books at some point in their lives, most when they were in grade school. In addition to providing young adults with their first glimpse of costumed heroes, comic books have also provided these same young adults with their first look at the legal profession. From the earliest days of comic books and strips through the present, attorneys have been prominently featured in American comic books.

The article begins with a discussion of the history of illustrated artwork and how that artwork evolved first into newspaper comic strips then into comic books. Next, comic strip and comic book attorneys from the early part of the 20th Century are identified and discussed. The introduction of Superman touched off the Golden Age of comic books. Part four discusses attorney characters which appeared during this Golden Age (1938-1946) and provides some background information on many of these characters. Part five discusses the decline of the reputation of comic books during the 1940s and 1950s and socio/legal attacks on comic books during the period.

By the middle of the 1950s, comic book publishers switched back to superheroes from the horror and suspense books. The switch back to superheroes brought with it a new crop of attorneys. Part six of the article identifies all of the recurring attorneys who appeared during this resurgence of interest in comic books, known as the Silver Age (1956-1969). Part seven provides discusses all of the attorney characters who appeared from 1970 through 1985. Part eight finishes the history of attorneys in comic books by identifying all of the attorneys who have had recurring roles in comic books since 1985.

Image credit: Harvey Dent, former Gotham District Attorney, in Batman.

No comments: