Richard D. Deverell | CV

Fields: 20th & 21st US History |Cultural History

Advisor: David Herzberg 

M.A. History, The College at Brockport

B.S.  History, The College at Brockport

My master’s thesis focused on twentieth century U.S. cultural history, examining the role of Captain America and Superman comics in shaping popular perceptions of World War II. My current research continues this study of mass culture and how it reflects concepts about the role of the state in regulating the popular. My dissertation focuses on the history of the Comic Code Authority and builds on the work of previous historians who examined its origins to investigate the life and eventual decline and death of the Authority in 2011. I seek to understand its longevity, the challenges it faced from those in the comic book industry, and the role of market forces and cultural challenges in modifying the Comic Book Code. Answering these questions fills a large gap in the historiography of comic books in America, and also offers a window into broader developments in American history during this time: countercultural creativity during the supposedly conservative Reagan-era 1980s; battles over corporate regulation and self-regulation amidst the waxing and waning of political liberalism; and the efforts of underground artists to explore the limits of the comic book medium through these stormy cultural and political waters.