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CSULB’s own MA grad, and current History department lecturer, Melissa Archibald, takes the prize for coolest conference presentation of the year — at Comic-Con 2016

Posted on July 14, 2016

CSULB’s own MA grad, and current History department lecturer,  Melissa Archibald, takes the prize for coolest conference presentation of the year — at Comic-Con 2016, in San Diego. In her presentation she uses film noir tropes (specifically the anti-hero, the femme fatale, and chiaroscuro visuals) to demonstrate the ways in which Superman comics directly challenged popular/mainstream attitudes about the American city during the Cold War, attitudes that viewed it as a place of depravity and hopelessness. In doing so, Melissa redirects historical attention towards pro-urban cultural texts during the period as the counter to the social, political, economic, and cultural backlash discussed by scholars like Mike Davis and Eric Avila, and, in the process, helps to explain the survival of the city into the 21st century. With regard to comic studies scholarship, she suggests that the Superman comics were still transgressive in the face of the Comics Code, which attempted to align comic books with mainstream attitudes.