Publication Date

April 2019

Advisor(s)

Ronald Schatz

Major

History (HIST)

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

In 1933, two salesmen from Eastern Color Printing Company, a relatively unknown printing company in Waterbury, Connecticut, combined two 7 x 9 inch comic strip broadsides to create what was essentially the first comic book in America. What became of this pioneering establishment after its revolutionary innovation, however, remains undocumented. This thesis thus aims to trace the development of the comics produced by the Eastern Color Printing Company from 1929-1955, situating them in the broader context of an era in which the medium consistently offered Americans some respite from widespread feelings of defeat and despair. More specifically, it argues that, as the decades progressed, commercial, political, and cultural pressures drove Eastern Color Printing Company to produce content that increasingly diverged from both the prevailing comic trends and American social realities. In doing so, the company’s comics became a force behind the fabrication of a national myth in which America saw itself as indestructible, conflict-free, and uniformly white.

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