The Super-Secret Identities of Clark Kent and Stan Lee

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Such is the paradox of comics: they’re the medium of the marginalized, yet they remain wildly popular. Perhaps that’s because in some way, at some point, everyone will feel marginalized and need a seat at the table in the cafeteria away from the jocks. Even the jocks.

Jabeen Akhtar looks back to the publication of the first American comic book in 1933, and traces how we historically have viewed comic books, from a once-widely-accepted theory analyzing Superman as a “Nazi dream child,” to Mad Magazine’s sexually perverse version of Archie, to Burka Avenger.


You can find Charley Locke's journalism on WIRED, tweets @CHARLEY_LOCKE, and drawings on her parents' fridge. You can also sometimes spot Charley imperiously making book recommendations while managing the McSweeney's Pop-Up Shops. More from this author →