Graphic Novels As A Gateway To A Culture And Creation Of National Identity

Sreeshma Madhusoodhan
Jun 21, 2019   •  26 views

Popular culture, has listed, represented and reproduced cultural forms and mainstreamed these forms so that national cultural authority is hardly noticeable.


Taking comics as a very crucial part of popular culture, it creates a strong sense of self in relation to the nation. The comics which boomed in the early 20th century, took a toll over the pulp magazine production. Superheroes like Captain America were seen fighting Hitler in the cover page. During 1940s, the comics gave readers a reinforcement to their personal identity as Americans. Especially, in case of Captain America, he became an ideal American who works according to values. At this age, there was already a strong sense of ‘us’, the American, hence characters like Captain America just armored it even more. Through the latest release of Avengers: Endgame, it became quite evident that these comics have commercialised the culture of America as the culture of the world. If one is a fan of Avengers that person probably has a lot of idea about the American culture.


Other than comic books, Manga have also been a vital product of popular culture. It has become a very fast growing phenomena which is a doorway to Japanese culture. The food, etiquette and the bright use of colours in anime, attracts large audience. In many ways it has space where social traditional and conventional norms that can be resisted. The theme of many anime is to educate about Japanese culture and values. Values are mostly hard work and respect and a very strong sense of identity related to the fictional nation. This is seen in most of the shonen manga, where the characters are very relatable and they fight to become independent individual who think strongly of their community. Animes like Naruto, Attack on Titans and many more create a strong sense of bond towards their land. Manga culture also tend to promote their culture to build their market, as presently manga and anime companies are biggest in Japan.


While comics and manga were taking over, graphic novels grabbed attention in Middle East. Most of them dealt with presentation of their political scenario. Graphic novel is used as a tool to protest against the commotion created by the political scenario there. One of the most celebrated novel is Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi account her childhood as she experiences Islamic movement.

Comics and Manga are undoubtedly entertaining. It provides knowledge about lifestyles across the world and makes many little things viral like the Ramen and the headbands of "Shinobi" from Naruto. This propagate cultures to spread and promote itself.