Archive for the ‘Baby Boomer Comic Books’ Category

How Comics and Baby Boomers Influenced the World: A Comparative Study (Pt:1)

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Baby Boomers Comic Books

Baby Boomers Comic Books

By Boomeryearbook.com

Comic books are as much a part of the American social fabric as apple pie. It is a medium that has been intertwined with the lives of Americans for as long as most can remember. This is especially true if one considers the definitive social influence they have had on young readers. This fact is certainly the case with baby boomers. A comparative analysis of the evolution of comic books and the social development of baby boomers shows remarkable similarities. Historians can debate and be the ultimate judge of which influenced the other, but the similarities are worth exploring.

Comic books gained momentum as an American staple in the late thirties and early forties. The primary reason for this was World War II and the affordable prices. With the depression in full swing, comics offered a very inexpensive form of entertainment that many enjoyed. As for the war, this influenced the tone and direction of comics. The superhero character became the predominant feature. These characters, standing for justice, truth and the American way; carried messages of patriotism and sacrifice.

These so-called golden years of comics, with the introduction of such iconic figures as Superman, focused on the expectation of better days through the perseverance of the American spirit. The books were wholesome and upbeat. At the close of the war, however, as the parents of baby boomers returned home from military service, the country faced the challenge and desire to bask in victory and return to the pursuit of the American dream. This was the mindset that ushered in the fifties.

Baby boomers, for their part, were the joyful results of this attitude. Having gainful employment and raising a family are both prime goals within the American dream. So is the instilling of traditional family values, as understood by this generation that had just come through a depression and a war. So while such classics as Howdy Doody and Gunsmoke were acceptable entertainment, comic books presented a problem for the conservative mindset that the parents of baby boomers reflected.

Whereas comics in the forties were a signal of better days and future expectations, these themes did not translate well in the fifties. The previous readers of those comics now viewed these themes as a threat to the well being of their children. There were charges that horror comics promoted brutal behavior and that superheroes were suggestive of homosexual tendencies. Traditional values were being compromised and comics were seen as a direct threat to the moral fabric of nascent baby boomers. As a result, out went the Captain America’s and other spandex clad characters, and in their stead came teenage characters (like Archie and company, with its own set of generational messages), comical animals, and westerns.

Looking back through history, one can rationalize that the reaction to the comics of the time was somewhat out of proportion with the facts. Superman is not homosexual and monsters don’t really exist. But these turn of events would be a signal of what was to come, both for comics and baby boomers. Comics were being unduly forced to make changes that cut across the grain of what creators wanted to publish. Baby boomers would soon begin to chafe against a perceived notion of forced compliance to societal norms. In both cases, reaction to the established convention would be significant.

This Psychological Article on How Comics and Baby Boomers Influenced the World: A Comparative Study (Pt:1) is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of fun articles to alleviate elderly problems and keep our hearts and brains young. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.

Boomer Yearbook is a Social Network, Psychological Articles and Forums for Baby Boomers. Connect with old and new friends, or expand your mind and ward off senior moments and elderly problems with dream analysis and online optical illusions and brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join other Baby Boomers to stay informed, receive weekly Newsfeeds, and let your opinions be heard. Baby boomers changed the world. We’re not done yet!

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How Comics and Baby Boomers Influenced the World: A Comparative Study (Pt:2)

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Psychological Article: Baby Boomers Comic Books

Psychological Article: Baby Boomers Comic Books


Psychological Article by Boomeryearbook.com

It’s no secret that baby boomers have considered themselves, as a whole, as a force of social change. Often referred to as the “counter-culture”, baby boomers have long been associated with a rejection (supposedly) of the more traditional values of their parents. This realization and determination to redefine society took place, coincidently, within the same period that comic books were evolving from the restrictive confines of a decade of forced conservatism. Indeed, the turbulent sixties brought a number of societal challenges that had an effect on mass medium, baby boomers, and the nation as a whole.

In one sense, baby boomers do indeed justly deserve the banner of “rejecters of traditional values.” The sixties brought with it more war and a growing attention to racial (and to a lesser extent, gender) inequality. Whereas the parents of baby boomers generally took these issues in stride, baby boomers were coming of age and rejected the status quo. For boomers, war in and of it self, was not justifiable; racial and gender inequality was not right. These were the signs that perhaps something needed to be done, perhaps something needed to change.

Influencing these thoughts were the comic books that many baby boomers – now teenagers and young adults - were reading. The fifties were a troubling time for comics, as charges of promoting homosexuality and brutality forced comics to cave in on itself and produce a standard fare that was more suitable to the conservative palate that was prevalent. The winds of change, however, were stirring with this wholly American medium as well.

Just as the forties introduced the concept of superheroes as a focal point of hope for a better day, so too did the late fifties and early sixties revive this concept. This was the silver age of comics, and old characters such as the Flash and Green Lantern were reintroduced to a new audience, but bringing with it those same themes of hope and expectation. They would provide a focus of inspiration for young baby boomers that had not had the experience that their parents had with these characters. Inspiration, as we know, is the well spring of ideas and motivation for action and change – two points that baby boomers would embrace in coming years.

In conjunction with the reemergence of the superhero (and the idealism for truth and justice that they generally espouse), there was a new trend to also portray superheroes in a more realistic style. Comic pioneers Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the world to the Fantastic Four and Spiderman. These characters, unlike previous portrayals of superheroes; had fears, identifiable problems (like trouble paying bills) and general, everyday issues. They maintained their model of inspiration, but had to work at it. For baby boomers, these new characters epitomized the spirit of American perseverance – much like older heroes had done for their parents.

The stage was now set for baby boomers, comics and a nation to come face to face with the need for change. For baby boomers, the ideas that they were encountering in comics (and certainly other mediums) began fermenting into a need for action. For comics, the canvas of creativity and purposeful story telling was emerging. For the country, these forces would combine to produce an upheaval that would eventually result in monumental changes to the social norms.

The Psychological Article How Comics and Baby Boomers Influenced the World: A Comparative Study (Pt:2)
is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of fun articles to alleviate elderly problems and keep our hearts and brains young. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.

Boomer Yearbook is a Social Network and Psychological Articles for Baby Boomers. Connect with old and new friends, or expand your mind and ward off senior moments and elderly problems with dream analysis and online optical illusions and brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join other Baby Boomers to stay informed, receive weekly Newsfeeds, and let your opinions be heard. Baby boomers changed the world. We’re not done yet!

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How Comics and Baby Boomers Influenced the World: A Comparative Study (Pt:5)

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Psychological Article on Baby Boomer Comic Book Anti-Heroes

Psychological Article on Baby Boomer Comic Book Anti-Heroes

Psychological Articles by Boomeryearbook

By the eighties, comics and baby boomers had established themselves as part and parcel of American culture. The seventies had set a stage of social transformation that manifested an acceptance of cultural diversity, gender empowerment, and a general attitude of liberalism that affected most walks of life. This transformation wasn’t without challenges that continue to this day. Trends toward violence and sexual exploitation concerns (naming just two), are among some of the issues that many point towards as manifestations of the baby boomers attitudes and the mediums that promote their ideas such as comics.

Comics in the eighties began to shift toward darker (and some would say realistic) story lines. Two seminal works, Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, highlight this shift. Comics would become more violent, and more sexually explicit. Women were portrayed in ever increasingly roles; exemplifying strength and overt sexuality. Female Superheroes such as Storm (of the X-men) and Witchblade are examples.

Feminist applauded the movement toward more female characters, but not their general use as powerful sex objects. Unfortunately, this was a trend that was being mirrored in other mediums as well. Women were increasingly becoming more prevalent in leading roles in movies and television, for example, yet their sexuality was nevertheless a key contributor.

This trend was due in part to the demands of readers who were not the slightest bit interested in reading light hearted comics. Of course the majority of comic readers by this time were young males (there was a time the majority of readers were women), as well. Baby boomers were now dealing with the realities of the various problems that troubled a nation. However, their open mindedness was still a dominant trait, and this was reflected in the mediums that they enjoyed. Readers demanded storylines that were every bit as reflective of the society that they were dealing with everyday. One could argue that comics and baby boomers reinforced in each other the ideas that were defining them.

It was during this period that the anti hero began to emerge. These were ostensibly heroes who didn’t mind “getting dirty” to accomplish their goals. Heroes of this variety would actually kill another character if necessary. These heroes, in essence, began to blur the line of what was right and wrong, and in many ways personified the concept that the end justified the means. Characters such as Wolverine and surprisingly Batman would epitomize this line of new heroes. Pure idealism, such a hallmark of early incarnations of comic books has been replaced by ultra realistic portrayals of society.

These ideas would begin to play a role in society at large, as many baby boomers accepted this same concept in pursuit of the various professions that they found themselves engaged in. Critics would argue that the idea of community obligation was being replaced by individualism. The argument that has been put forth is that baby boomers, unlike their parents and grand parents, were only concerned about their immediate welfare and professional growth. Baby boomers, while triumphant in transforming a society, are now struggling with recapturing many of the facets of past generations that have been lost in the process, such as strong family structures. The struggle to find a workable balance continues.

Both baby boomers and comics have aged and are approaching their twilight years. Baby boomers are reaching retirement age and are coming to face with end of life issues. Comics are dealing with dwindling audience as other mediums such as the internet capture the attention of traditional young readers. Nevertheless, regardless of what the future holds, both comics and baby boomers have made their contributable imprints upon American society.

The Psychological Article How Comics and Baby Boomers Influenced the World: A Comparative Study (Pt:5) is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of fun articles to alleviate elderly problems and keep our hearts and brains young. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.

Boomer Yearbook is Psychological Articles for Baby Boomers. Connect with old and new friends, or expand your mind and ward off senior moments and elderly problems with dream analysis and online optical illusions and brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join other Baby Boomers to stay informed, receive weekly Newsfeeds, and let your opinions be heard. Baby boomers changed the world. We’re not done yet!

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How Comics and Baby Boomers Influenced the World: A Comparative Study (Pt:4)

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Baby Boomer Comic Books: Championing Women and People of Color

Baby Boomer Comic Books: Championing Women and People of Color


Psychological Articles by Boomeryearbook.com

The sixties had been a trial by fire experience for baby boomers and comic books. In both cases, a defiance of established norms had resulted in significant change. Baby boomers understood that as generational force, they had the power to effect real change in society. The comics industry, as a popular medium recognized that their stories were a source of influence for the young generation that was now coming of age. As baby boomers and comics flexed their respective “muscles of influence”, the seventies would illustrate the results of social change.

Even a child of the seventies will have trouble attempting to describe the decade. Simply put, it was different than any other previous decade. Not necessarily bad, not necessarily good (terms which are relative to whomever you are speaking too); just different. In reality, the cultural mindset of the seventies was a direct result of the actions that baby boomers had taken in the previous decade. The seventies are a period in which baby boomers were entering the workforce en masse and their recognition that they held the keys to transform a society wasn’t wasted.

Whereas a wave of conservatism had swept the country in the fifties, the seventies would see a similar wave of liberalism. Needless to say, older generations were aghast at the changes that were taking place. And the changes were reflective everywhere, including the mediums that baby boomers sought entertainment in.

From music to television to comic books; the ideas and behavior that so personifies the seventies were promoted. Comic books continued to advance such ideas as racial equality in not so subtle stories about the struggles of being a minority. For the first time, heroes of color such as the Black Panther and Black Lightening made their appearances in their own comic books, as comics became more culturally diverse. These early images of minorities in strong positions would help to serve as inspiration and role models for many minorities struggling with racial adversity.

Along with heroes of color, comics also took note of issues of gender equality issues as well. Baby boomers of the seventies, especially the ladies, began to assert that women had an equal place in the world with their male counterparts. From sports to the work place, women were demanding and gaining better treatment. Title IX, for example, introduced legislation in 1972 that provided equal opportunity for women to participate in school athletics.

Comics, at this point, would portray women in strong secondary roles in contrast with major characters – Lois Lane to Superman, Carol Farris to Green Lantern and others. Women were shown as capable professional individuals and not sex objects or placed in stereotypical situations. Like minority superheroes, women heroes began to emerge from supporting roles to star in their own books as well, such as Wonder Woman and Ms. Marvel. Young women would embrace these concepts whole heartedly.

The seventies can be seen as a transition period. Women and minorities would soon assume greater roles in society at large, but those gains were as a result of the ideas that were being set forth in the mediums of the seventies, including comic books. Baby boomers and comics in this time period openly experimented with the ideas that would begin to shape the decades to come.

This Psychological Article on How Comics and Baby Boomers Influenced the World: A Comparative Study (Pt:4) is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of fun articles to alleviate elderly problems and keep our hearts and brains young. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.

Boomer Yearbook is a Social Network and Psychological Articles for Baby Boomers. Connect with old and new friends, or expand your mind and ward off senior moments and elderly problems with dream analysis and online optical illusions and brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join other Baby Boomers to stay informed, receive weekly Newsfeeds, and let your opinions be heard. Baby boomers changed the world. We’re not done yet!

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How Comics and Baby Boomers Influenced the World: A Comparative Study (Pt:3)

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Baby Boomers Comics and Culture Changing the World

Baby Boomers Comics and Culture Changing the World

Psychological Articles by Boomeryearbook.com

The sixties offered both comics and baby boomers a time of growth through adversity. For both parties, the previous decade had been one in which growth beyond the constraints of a conservative social standard was discouraged. Now, as the first signs of defiance to accepted norms began to take place, a clash was inevitable. Change, in general, does not come easy and this would certainly be the case for America. Nevertheless, as vehicles of transformation, and comic books were ideally positioned to bring this about. 

Comics would play a significant role with young baby boomers, especially those that were beginning college by the mid-sixties. College campuses around the country were becoming a hot bed for social unrest. Baby boomers were not happy and the ideas that were at the point of their dissatisfaction could find a purchase in the comics that many of them were reading.

Many comics, especially those that were the product of the creative duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, had brought a vein of realism to the superhero genre. Lee and Kirby, having laid the foundation for this new brand of hero with Spiderman and the Fantastic Four, now set out to incorporate social issues in their stories. There was no better social issue that was brimming to be broached than that of racial inequality. America, during this time, was dealing with the pains of racial strife, and the civil rights movement was striving to gain momentum.

Yet many white baby boomers were as yet untouched and unaware of the growing discontent by their neighbors of color or of their plight. And then Lee and Kirby introduced the X-Men to the world. The X-Men were a group of young mutants, children born with super powers that set them apart from normal people. They had the same dreams and aspirations as any one else, but because they were born with powers (i.e. they were different) they were shunned, marginalized and hated by the majority of people. The racial overtones were obvious. More importantly, the injustice of such bigotry was made abundantly clear and young white baby boomers understood the message.

As these themes continue to play out in the comic medium, baby boomers took heart and took action. As the civil rights movement grew and became a force, both black and white baby boomers were joined together in a common cause of justice. In conjunction with the anti war movement as the Vietnam War progressed, baby boomers rejection and staunch opposition of their parents social and political policies forced – albeit slowly and painfully – change. By the end of the decade, significant strides had been made in civil rights – both in legislation and in the minds of the public of what was acceptable. By the end of the decade, a military pull out of Vietnam was inevitable.

Baby boomers had proven that they, as a generation, were a social force to be reckoned with. Their ideas were influenced by the comics they read and the convictions in their hearts. Baby boomers understood that it was their determination for change that had brought about the social transformation that they were witnessing. As a new decade ushered in, baby boomers and comics would assert their new found dominance in American culture.

The Psychological Article on How Comics and Baby Boomers Influenced the World: A Comparative Study (Pt:3) is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of fun articles to alleviate elderly problems and keep our hearts and brains young. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.

Boomer Yearbook is a Social Network and Psychological Articles for Baby Boomers. Connect with old and new friends, or expand your mind and ward off senior moments and elderly problems with dream analysis and online optical illusions and brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join other Baby Boomers to stay informed, receive weekly Newsfeeds, and let your opinions be heard. Baby boomers changed the world. We’re not done yet!

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A Psychological Analysis of Archie Comic Book Characters

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

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Why We Love to Love Archie and Betty &
Love to Hate Reggie and Veronica

By Boomeryearbook.com

Archie Comics … there’s so much you could write about them but you can’t say all that much in about five hundred words .. So let’s consider this blog as just a starting point. Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Reggie and of course Archie are unforgettable. Even if you weren’t an avid reader (I have serious doubts anyone of us from the baby boomer generation can claim that) I’m sure you know the characters; they’ve become household names. Archie made his debut in December 1941, as a character in Pep Comics #22 and he and his original buddies, with a few additions, are still in print today. The triad of initial creative and business genius behind the Archie Comics was Vic Bloom- writer, Bob Montana- art design, and John. L. Goldwater- editor and publisher.

While the comics lack a strong plot or intricate story line, what made (and continues to make) them a hit were the fictional, but psychologically genuine, characters.

Archibald “Archie” Andrews is a red headed teenage boy from a middle class family who’s obsessed with girls. (i.e., in the boomer years we referred to this as ‘dating”). He’s a bit awkward and pretty accident prone. (Baby boomer parents may have found him reminiscent of the film character, Andy Hardy played by Mickey Rooney).

Betty, Elizabeth Cooper, is the boomer version of the all American cheerleader or girl next door. Betty is sweet, open hearted, good at school and athletics, and in her spare time, doesn’t mind getting dirty by doing mechanical work on a car. She’s indeed the all rounder.

Ronnie, Veronica Lodge, the dark haired rich elitist beauty, is Betty’s best friend and along with Betty, a contender for Archie’s affections. She’s considered a raven haired knockout when compared to Betty’s blonde sweet wholesome looks, but actually Bob Montana drew Betty and Veronica with identical face and figures; their only difference is hair color and clothing. Now who said that blondes have more fun? Not typically in Archie comics as Ronnie and her huge wardrobe usually had the upper hand over Betty in winning Archie’s attention.

Jughead, Forsythe Pendleton Jones III, is Archie’s best friend, known for his jaded sense of humor, and enormously large appetite. Jughead is smart, stick skinny and not interested in girls; he reminds most of us of some boomer guy we knew who used sarcasm as a way to cover up his ill ease, awkward teenage stage.

And Reggie, Reginald Mantle III, is the privileged rich, snobby, arrogant male conter to Archie’s adolescent naivety. Reggie is on the high school tennis team, (considered an elitist sport in 1941) and is fond of flaunting his upper crust athletic prowess in Archie’s clumsy adolescent face.

Archie and his friends grow up in the “fictional’ town of Riverdale, (probably fashioned after the real Riverdale (Bronx, New York) where Goldwater attended Horace Mann High School.
The real Riverdale, NY is indeed a middle class American community, but Horace Mann high school, located in Riverdale, is anything but an average middle class institution. Over the past years, the Wall Street Journal has consistently ranked Horace Mann as the seventh best high school in the United States as measured by student admission rates to exclusive colleges such as Harvard, Yale, and Princton. Admission to Horace Mann is highly selective and Horace Mann’s Boys Varsity Tennis team is noted for it’s excellence and has won many New York City Mayor’s Cup Team Competitions. As Reggie would say, “Tennis anyone?” Well probably not Archie.

Archie is the embodiment of a classic small town 17-year-old teenager attending a Middle American public high school. He’s portrayed throughout as affable, generous and well mannered. He’s perpetually in pursuit of Betty and Veronica and can’t seem to decide which one to date. Archie’s the lead singer of his band and an average athlete. So what’s Archie’s appeal? Simple. He is representativative of many baby boomer teenagers, an all around average teenage guy.

Ronnie is the daughter of the richest man in Riverdale. She gets her first name from the actress Veronica Lake and her last name from the Lodges, a prominant 1940’s Boston political family. She’s seen as busty, (i.e., “stacked”) black haired, beautiful and slender. Numerous psychological articles have informed us that eyebrows have been raised at the way girls have been portrayed in the comics. Veronica represents a certain type of sex appeal, though this isn’t as evident in the comic since sexual stereotyping can easily be passed off as a certain naivety or teenage wit. She’s rich, and doesn’t have to work hard for anything. At a time when the baby boomer generation was in its teens, she became the fancy of many girls who dreamed of a lifestyle like hers; and certainly coveted her wardrobe.

However, Betty Cooper, the sporty cheerleader, was many a teenage baby boomer women’s favorite. Her middle class upbringing and the fact that she actually is Archie’s neighbor makes her the quintessential girl next door. She plays the tambourine in Archie’s band and is fond of writing and keeping a journal. Betty’s the one you’ll find no reason not to love. She’s smart, works hard, and she’s got a great heart.

Jughead Jones as the lanky, tall, hamburger loving best friend is a bit of an oddity and non-conformist; but he is really smart. A fast runner, Jughead hones his skills trying to be the first in line for food. But this brainiac, (possibly modeled after the many brainiacs at Horace Mann high school) often surprises snobby Reggie and Veronica with what he knows about Shakespeare, history, sports and science.

In doing a psychological analysis of the characters it is impossible to overlook the strong division between the wealthy and middle class and the paradox that existed in the baby boomers generation society regarding sexual stereotyping. Archie is shown as a teenage boy who is constantly battling between going for the rich, beautiful Ronnie who has material success, and Betty, who is sweet, intelligent, good humored, low maintenance, and what many baby boomers parents would have considered “marriage material”.

While most baby boomers were great fans of Archie and his friends, many psychological articles have pointed out that the characters hid their stereotyped motives behind forced wit and juvenile behavior. But just because it lacked overt sex and violence it doesn’t mean that the baby boomer generation were fooled by the characters deep desires. Nope, we got it. We loved to love Archie and Betty because so many of us identified with their middle class status and need to struggle to succeed in an unfairly balanced world. And we loved to hate Ronnie and Reggie because many of us were jealous that they did not have to work hard and so many life advantages were handed over to them just because they were born rich.

And then there were the times when the baby boomer generation may have mistakenly been accused of viewing the characters as too shallow and only linearly developed. But wrong again. We baby boomers got that in Archie Comics, the male led the way and acted as the “deciders” and the women were supposed to be the “passive” objects of these decisions, or cat fighting against each other to vie for the boy’s attention.

Ah, and there it is. The seemingly simple Archie Comics are the psychologically sophisticated embodiment of the baby boomers generation class and gender warfare.

Or at least that’s how we see it at Boomer Yearbook. What do you think?

Boomer Yearbook is a Psychological-Informational Social Network Website for Baby Boomers, Echo Boomers and Booming Seniors. Connect with old and new friends, or expand your mind and ward off senior moments and elderly problems with dream analysis and online optical illusions and brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join now to discover the many ways this website for baby boomers can contribute to optimal physical and emotional wellness.

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