Popular Culture Review Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer 2017 - Page 120

contributor—most drawn from the ranks of communication studies—brings new and insightful ideas to the table. Take, as an example, Christina Knopf’s opening essay, “Militarism vs. Femininity in WWII Comic Pages and Books.” Knopf zeroes in on depictions of military women in storylines like “Pat Parker, War Nurse” (Speed Comics), concluding, “that the artists/authors and their characters did much to demonstrate women’s aptitude and acceptability in the armed forces.” Gender norms were enforced, of course. The Girl Commandos rarely picked up weapons, even when conducting covert operations behind enemy lines. Still, as the author states, “people got to see what women were capable of doing and accomplishing, without society falling apart.” Jon Judy and Brad Palmer apply Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory (learning through observation) to the subgenre of kid-sidekick comics in “Boys on the Battlefield,” showing how stories involving Captain America and Bucky “encouraged a perception among young readers that war is a fun, safe, desirable pursuit.” Judy and Palmer outdo themselves with a short but fascinating discussion of a relatively obscure Jack Kirby and Joe Simon-created ensemble, the Young Allies (led by Bucky and Toro, the Human Torch’s sidekick). Kirby scholars and fans will appreciate how the editors deftly follow this with a rhetorical examination of Boy Commandos, in which John Katsion borrows Barry Brummett’s notion of homology—an identifiable pattern uniting context, content and medium—that structures not just another text but also people’s experiences. In the case of Boy Commandos, Katsion articulates a “homology of hope” that would have comforted a wartime child in the U.S. whose father was at war, and that would have reminded a G.I. overseas that his family back home was resilient and undergoing adventures of their own. Indeed, what makes 10 Cent War so valuable is how each essay (actually, the editors prefer the term chapter) manages to single out a little-known title from the WWII era. For example, Travis Cox’s take on Will Eisner’s Uncle Sam character is fascinating in the way it relies on American literary theorist Kenneth Burke’s pentad, a method for understanding a text’s rhetorical motivation. To the hardcore comics enthusiast’s delight, there’s a chapter, by author and film-studies scholar David Wilt, devoted to titles published by Novelty Press (Blue Bolt, Target, 4Most), a fledgling company that boasted writer Mickey Spillane in its artist roster. Wilt has two contributions in this volume, his second being the final chapter, which takes into 115