Saturday, December 5, 2015

Intertextuality in Superman, Batman

The page in Superman, Batman by Jeph Loeb that I stumbled across in Leddy caught my attention because of the explicit portrayal of the iconic Uncle Sam, a figure used to recruit young men to fight in the war. The reference to Uncle Sam, as a symbol of patriotism in America during war, that the comic indicates war on the horizon. This is an interesting example of intertextuality the writer decided to add to the comic. Uncle Sam historically represents the nation of America and the strength and power they believed they had to win the war. Giving Uncle Sam in the comic specific dialogue such as “I reckon we’d best get started now!” gives the effect that something great and big is about to happen. Just like the way the historical poster of Uncle Sam states, “I want you for U.S. army”, the statement he leaves is one of influence and leadership.

Despite his presence having a certain War-inducing feel to the comic, I couldn’t help but notice the slight and probably purposeful differences between the two depictions of Uncle Sam.  Uncle Sam represents the U.S government, which I just realized have the same initials, clever. During the war, America needed as many soldiers as they could get, and the use of Uncle Sam standing with a patronizing and disapproving look on his face enables young men to feel guilty and that they must serve their country. In the comic, Uncle Sam looks like the original image of him, with a few alterations. Giving Uncle Sam big muscles, chiseled face, and rolling up his sleeves, it appears as though he is going to be fighting and leading the cause he intends to partake in. This shows America’s strength and what they are capable of as a united nation. While the original Uncle Sam shows the same cheek-boned facial feature, it seems as though he is a scrawny kind of man. Another difference between the two is their stance. Comic book Uncle Sam is rolling up his sleeves, ready for action. This posture is quite active and forthright. The original Uncle Sam, rather, points an accusatory figure with a condescending look on his face. Hence, original Uncle Sam is America on the brink of war, as well as being unsure of what they can accomplish. Comic book Uncle Sam knows exactly what they can accomplish.

- Kayla Masaro

Loeb, Jeph, and Ed. McGuinness. Superman, Batman. New York, N.Y.: DC Comics, 2004.

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