The essays in the book are wide-ranging, covering topics of interest for sports fans who enjoy the NFL and NASCAR as well as those who like tennis and watching the Olympics. Many topics feature information about specific sports icons and favorite heroes. Additionally, many of the topics' treatments prompt engagement by purposely challenging the reader to either agree or disagree with the author's analysis.
From the mean streets of Depression-era New York City to recipient of the National Medal of Arts, Lee’s life has been almost as remarkable as the thrilling adventures he spun for decades. From millions of comic books fans of the 1960s through billions of moviegoers around the globe, Stan Lee has touched more people than almost any person in the history of popular culture.
In Stan Lee: The Man behind Marvel, Bob Batchelor offers an eye-opening look at this iconic visionary, a man who created (with talented artists) many of history’s most legendary characters. In this energetic and entertaining biography, Batchelor explores how Lee capitalized on natural talent and hard work to become the editor of Marvel Comics as a teenager. After toiling in the industry for decades, Lee threw caution to the wind and went for broke, co-creating the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, and others in a creative flurry that revolutionized comic books for generations of readers. Marvel superheroes became a central part of pop culture, from collecting comics to innovative merchandising, from superhero action figures to the ever-present Spider-Man lunchbox.
Batchelor examines many of Lee’s most beloved works, including the 1960s comics that transformed Marvel from a second-rate company to a legendary publisher. This book reveals the risks Lee took to bring the characters to life and Lee’s tireless efforts to make comic books and superheroes part of mainstream culture for more than fifty years.
Stan Lee: The Man behind Marvel not only reveals why Lee developed into such a central figure in American entertainment history, but brings to life the cultural significance of comic books and how the superhero genre reflects ideas central to the American experience. Candid, authoritative, and utterly absorbing, this is a biography of a man who dreamed of one day writing the Great American Novel, but ended up doing so much more—changing American culture by creating new worlds and heroes that have entertained generations of readers.
In Gatsby: The Cultural History of the Great American Novel, Bob Batchelor explores the birth, life, and enduring influence of The Great Gatsby—from the book’s publication in 1925 through today’s headlines filled with celebrity intrigue, corporate greed, and a roller-coaster economy. A cultural historian, Batchelor explains why and how the novel has become part of the fiber of the American ethos and an important tool in helping readers to better comprehend their lives and the broader world around them.
A “biography” of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, this book examines The Great Gatsby’s evolution from a nearly-forgotten 1920s time capsule to a revered cultural touchstone. Batchelor explores how this embodiment of the American Dream has become an iconic part of our national folklore, how the central themes and ideas emerging from the book—from the fulfillment of the American Dream to the role of wealth in society—resonate with contemporary readers who struggle with similar uncertainties today. By exploring the timeless elements of reinvention, romanticism, and relentless pursuit of the unattainable, Batchelor confirms the novel’s status as “The Great American Novel” and, more importantly, explains to students, scholars, and fans alike what makes Gatsby so great.
Chapters on Everyday America and the World of Youth describe the important changes in American society, from Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs, to latch-key kids, to Black Monday. The following ten chapters explore the many aspects of popular culture-everything from advertising to fashion, literature to music, travel to the visual arts-that influenced Americans in the eighties. Supplemental resources include a timeline of important events, an extensive bibliography for further reading and a subject index.
Michael Chabon’s America: Magical Words, Secret Worlds, and Sacred Spaces is the first scholarly collection of essays analyzing the work of the acclaimed author. This book demonstrates how Chabon uses a broad range of styles and genres, including detective and comic book fiction, to define the American experience. These essays assess and analyze Chabon’s complete oeuvre, demonstrating his deep connection to the contemporary world and his place as a literary force.
Providing a context for understanding the author’s work from cultural, historical, and stylistic perspectives, Michael Chabon’s America is a valuable study of a celebrated author whose work deserves close examination.
In Heroines of Comic Books and Literature: Portrayals in Popular Culture, editors Maja Bajac-Carter, Norma Jones, and Bob Batchelor have selected essays by award-winning contributors that offer a variety of perspectives on the representations of heroines in today’s society. Focused on printed media, this collection looks at heroic women depicted in literature, graphic novels, manga, and comic books. Addressing heroines from such sources as the Marvel and DC comic universes, manga, and the Twilight novels, contributors go beyond the account of women as mothers, wives, warriors, goddesses, and damsels in distress.
These engaging and important essays situate heroines within culture, revealing them as tough and self-sufficient females who often break the bounds of gender expectations in places readers may not expect. Analyzing how women are and have been represented in print, this companion volume to Heroines of Film and Television will appeal to scholars of literature, rhetoric, and media as well as to broader audiences that are interested in portrayals of women in popular culture.
In Heroines of Film and Television: Portrayals in Popular Culture, award-winning authors from a variety of disciplines examine the changing roles of heroic women across time. In this volume, editors Norma Jones, Maja Bajac-Carter, and Bob Batchelor have assembled a collection of essays that broaden our understanding of how heroines are portrayed across media, offering readers new ways to understand, perceive, and think about women. Contributors bring fresh readings to popular films and television shows such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kill Bill, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Weeds, Mad Men, and Star Trek.
The representations and interpretations of these heroines are important reflections of popular culture that simultaneously empower and constrain real life women. These essays help readers gain a more complete understanding of female heroes, especially as related to race, gender, power, and culture. A companion volume to Heroines of Comic Books and Literature, this collection will appeal to academics and broader audiences that are interested in women in popular culture.
In Aging Heroes: Growing Old in Popular Culture, Norma Jones and Bob Batchelor present a collection of essays that address the increasing presence of characters that simultaneously manifest and challenge the accepted stereotypes of aging. The contributors to this volume explore representations in television programs, comic books, theater, and other forms of media. The chapters include examinations of aging male and female actors who take on leading roles in such movies as Gran Torino, Grudge Match, Escape Plan, Space Cowboys, Taken, and The Big Lebowski as well as TheExpendables, Red, and X-Men franchises. Other chapters address perceptions of masculinity, sexuality, gender, and race as manifested by such cultural icons as Superman, Wonder Woman, Danny Trejo, Helen Mirren, Betty White, Liberace, and Tyler Perry’s Madea.
With multi-disciplinary and accessible essays that encompass the expanding spectrum of aging and related stereotypes, this book offers a broader range of new ways to understand, perceive, and think about aging. Aging Heroes will be of interest to scholars of film, television, gender studies, women’s studies, sociology, aging studies, and media studies, as well as to general readers.
The collection spotlights the most important advertising campaigns, brands, and companies in American history, from the late 1800s to modern day. Each fact-driven essay provides insight and in-depth analysis that general readers will find fascinating as well as historical details and contextual nuance students and researchers will greatly appreciate. These volumes demonstrate why advertising is absolutely necessary, not only for companies behind the messaging, but also in defining what it means to be an American.
This work examines the musician's life and career by placing him in the context of contemporary American history and culture. Dylan's music and lyrics are at the center of the analysis, while attention is also paid to how his image transformed as he moved from being the "voice of a generation" during the 1960s to becoming a bonafide rock and roll icon. Readers will appreciate the book for its in-depth, scholarly coverage that remains readable and engaging, and gain a full appreciation for Dylan's place in American history and cultural evolution.
Providing an exciting picture of American life at the dawn of the 20th century, this volume covers:
- Innovations in technology, such as the airplane and the automobile
-The advent of modern architecture
-The proliferation of advertising aimed at the new middle class
-Fads, games, sports, and hobbies
-Changes in fashion and cuisine
This book also features the burgeoning of the arts, including the school of realism and naturalism in literature, the first truly American music-jazz-and the new performing art that played to American tastes: vaudeville. A wealth of facts, information, and interesting sidelights not available elsewhere makes this a treasure trove for students and interested readers.
In Mad Men: A Cultural History, M. Keith Booker and Bob Batchelor offer an engaging analysis of the series, providing in-depth examinations of its many themes and nostalgic portrayals of the years from Camelot to Vietnam and beyond. Highly regarded cultural scholars and critics, Booker and Batchelor examine the show in its entirety, presenting readers with a deep but accessible exploration of the series, as well as look at its larger meanings and implications. This cultural history perspective reveals Mad Men’s critical importance as a TV series, as well as its role as a tool for helping viewers understand how they are shaped by history and culture.
As a showcase in America’s new “golden age of television,” Mad Men reveals the deep hold history and nostalgia have on viewers, particularly when combined with stunning visuals and intricate writing and storylines. With this volume as their guide, readers will enjoy contemplating the show’s place among the most lauded popular culture touchstones of the twenty-first century. As it engages with ideas central to the American experience—from the evolution of gender roles to family dynamics and workplace relationships—Mad Men: A Cultural History brings to life the significance of this profound yet entertaining series.
Organized by subject, the collection enables readers to focus on a given topic or compare different subjects across cult phenomenon. Volume One of the set covers film and television topics, Volume Two examines music and literature, and Volume Three explores sports, clubs, and the cult industry. Through this investigation of sublime, transcendent, and idiosyncratic trends, readers will learn more about iconic individuals, topics, and subjects that form the vast underbelly of American culture. By revealing how tightly interwoven cult topics are with the public's broader notion of popular culture, the collection underscores the blurry line between normal and abnormal, grandiose and degradation.
Chapters inside the latest volume in the American Popular Culture Through History series explore various aspects of popular culture, including advertising, literature, leisure activities, music visual arts, and travel. Supplemental resources include a timeline of important events, cost comparisons, and an extensive bibliography for further reading.
Whether a pop culture aficionado or a student new to the topic, American Pop provides readers with an engaging look at American culture broken down into discrete segments, as well as analysis that gives insight into societal movements, trends, fads, and events that propelled the era and the nation. In-depth chapters trace the evolution of pop culture in 11 key categories: Key Events in American Life, Advertising, Architecture, Books, Newspapers, Magazines, and Comics, Entertainment, Fashion, Food, Music, Sports and Leisure Activities, Travel, and Visual Arts. Coverage includes: How Others See Us, Controversies and scandals, Social and cultural movements, Trends and fads, Key icons, and Classroom resources. Designed to meet the high demand for resources that help students study American history and culture by the decade, this one-stop reference provides readers with a broad and interdisciplinary overview of the numerous aspects of popular culture in our country. Thoughtful examination of our rich and often tumultuous popular history, illustrated with hundreds of historical and contemporary photos, makes this the ideal source to turn to for ready reference or research.