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Does class affect our perception of the comic image? If so, how?

I think class does affect our perception of the comic image. Typically, especially in the earlier days of comic books, the villains were often those of higher classes, such as the wealthy, politicians, those in authority, etc. On the other hand, the heroes or superheroes usually came from more modest backgrounds. They were usually from lower to middle class families, often times having grown up on a farm or some similar rural location. This was because most of the comic book writers were themselves poor and had come from modest upbringings. As a result, those in the lower and middle classes could strongly identify with these characters and it gave them something to hope for. This made comic books more popular amongst those people rather than on the rich, who probably couldn’t identify with their characters as much. In another example of class difference, the protagonists of the stories often left their rural upbringings behind and went to live in the city. But the city is always described as being so much different from the country, especially the people in the city. So again, those who still lived in rural or suburban areas could relate to how these characters felt when leaving their home, but those who only knew urban life held no particular interest in these stories. The heroes are also often portrayed as weak, nerdy, or awkward in their early years, getting picked on frequently by bullies. But after they undergo their superhero “transformation”, they are suddenly strong, handsome, and confident. This inspired many young people struggling with the same issues hope for the future, but again, those who couldn’t identify with those feelings, did not find the stories as appealing. Generally speaking, comic books are most popular amongst those of the lower classes from rural backgrounds because the themes explored in them more closely relate to their lives than the lives of the wealthier.


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