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Understanding World War II through the lens of comic
book covers.
By Karina Ramirez Velazquez
HOLY PROPAGANDA
BATMAN!
1
Welcome Historians! This book will help us
understand World War II through the lens
of comic book covers. I will give a brief
introduction on the start of the Golden Age
of comic books, and after an introduction
of the start of the World War II (1939) and
how that influence comic books. The
essential question for this book is: What
can early comic book covers tell us about
World War II? The target audience for this
book is ninth grade high schoolers. The
historical skills that will be studied are
sourcing, contextualization, corroborating,
and close reading.
The final project will be creating your own
comic book cover or meme against or for
the U.S. involvement during WWII. As well
as writing a reflection of 1-2 pages. This
introductory page will also give you an
idea of how to interact with this book.
Introduction
Did You Know?
INTERACTIVE 1.1 Click the “Did You know?” Tab
Meet the Author: Karina
Ramirez Velazquez is the
daughter of immigrant
parents from Michocan
and Morelia, Mexico.
Scroll up or down the image
Click the icons!
Comic Book History
The Golden Age of Comic Books is a
term to describe an era of American
comic books from the late 1930's,
when comic books where beginning
to boom, to the early 1950's. This
was the time that modern comics were first published
and their popularity increased. Many well known
characters where introduced, such as Superman,
Batman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, and
Captain Marvel. Most would say that the Success of
Superman in 1938 launched the Golden Age of
comic books. Superman was the first heroic of the
Golden Age comic that perpetuated the launch of
the superhero archetype. Characteristics or qualities
of a hero or heroine are brave, courageous, valiant,
superhuman, bold, fearless, daring, or noble. This
also introduced the audience to the villain archetype.
Characters like the Joker, Lex Luther, Doctor
Octopus, Thanos, Red Skull, and more. Good vs. Evil
was given a modern twist through the Golden Age of
Comic Books. Most importantly, the Golden Age
cemented comics as a mainstream art form that
created a new identity in American culture.
Batman was first introduced in Detective
Comics No. 27 of May 1939. Batman’s
popularity did not end at the Golden Age
Era. He is now an American cultural icon.
GALLERY 1.1 Detective Comics No. 27.
May, 1939
REVIEW 1.1 Pow! Pop Quiz Time!
Check Answer
Batman’s true identity is?
A. Steve Rogers
B. Bruce Wayne
C. Peter Pappas
D. Clark Kent
Continued ...
During the boom of the Golden Age of
Comics books the start of World War II was
in motion. Between 1939 and 1941
Detective Comics and All-American
Publications began to portray their iconic
heroes in red, white, and blue. You can see in many of the
covers superheroes battling the Axis powers. Comic book
sales increased during World War II. Because comic book
were cheap, portable, and created a venue of inspiration
these lead to authors to create patriotic stories of good
triumphing over evil. This is reflected in comic book covers of
Captain America dressed in stars and stripes battling Adolf
Hitler on his first issue. Superheroes were depicted doing
things to help war effort as well. Readers would see them do
things like deliver supplies, stop spies at home, and do what
they could to help to help at home.
Several writers of books were part of the Office of War
Information and the War Writer’s Board. The purpose of
those organizations were interested in give accurate
information about what was happening overseas. After the
end of World War II, the superhero genre lost momentum,
which many consider that being the end of the Golden Age
Era.
Boeing B-17 radar bombing through clouds: Bremen, Germany
November 13, 1943.
GALLERY 1.2 World War II Photos and Comic Book Covers
Captain Aero Comics
Captain Aero Comics was a war comic of the Golden Age Comic Book, appearing in
1941.
GALLERY 1.3 Read through Captain Aero Comic
Executive Order 9066:
“Whereas the successful prosecution of the
war requires every possible protection
against espionage and against sabotage to
national-defense material, national-defense
premises, and national-defense utilities as
defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918,
40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of
November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the
Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C.,
Title 50, Sec. 104);
Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority
vested in me as President of the United
States, and Commander in Chief of the Army
and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the
Secretary of War, and the Military
Commanders whom he may from time to time
designate, whenever he or any designated
Commander deems such action necessary or
desirable, to prescribe military areas in such
places and of such extent as he or the
appropriate Military Commander may
determine, from which any or all persons
INTERACTIVE 1.2 PIONEERS OF TELEVISION |
George Takei's life in an internment camp | PBS
Watch George Takei’s interview.
War at Home
Action Comics Vol. 1 No. 58 March, 1943.
GALLERY 1.4 World War II Comic Book Covers
On December
7, 1941, Japan
attacked the
United States
naval base at
Pearl Harbor. This attack led
to direct American
involvement into World War
II. The following day the
United States declared war
on Japan. During World War
II, the United States detained
over 110,000 Japanese
Americans and relocated
them in internment camps.
This act is considered to be
the largest violations of civil
liberties in the nation.
Final Project
Instructions: Individually
or in a group you must
either create your own
comic book cover or a
meme supporting or
against U.S. involvement in World War
II.
Each student must write a 1 to 2 page
essay on your reflection of how did early
comic book covers tell you about World
War II. Can youth culture like comic
books or media effect our understanding
of an event or perceptions of people? Do
you see that happening today? Why or
why not? And what was your biggest
take away from this unit?
Sensation Comic Vol. 1 No. 13 January, 1943
GALLERY 1.5 Examples of a Comic and Meme
Reflection
Overall I really enjoyed and found value in creating a
document based lesson. This semester I’ve been
reading, Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James W.
Loewen and a quote that really stood out to me was,
“What would we think of a course in poetry in which
students never read a poem? (pg. 7).” I kept thinking about this quote
throughout this project because that’s how high school social studies have
been teaching history to students, poetry without poems! I feel document
based lessons is an alternative that fixes that problem. It gives students a
chance to work with primary resources and challenges them to be the
historians in the process. The challenge for me was which primary
resources did I wanted to use, and what questions did I want my students
to answer. I am glad I got to use a topic that I am super passionate about
and be able to use it as my document based lesson project. My plan is to
use this next year with my students at OPEN School.
What I gained most from this project was the skills of using google and the
book author program. I am already thinking of creating another document
based lesson on a different subject just so I can continue to grow my skills
in using this program to be a better teacher. My only feed back I would
give about this project is that it’s a bit difficult for people that may not
have a mac device on hand.
Comic book heroes like Wonder Woman are still influencing
American pop culture today. Many comic book heroes from the
past are being converted into live action films to still represent
hope for the future.
GALLERY 1.6 Sensation Comics Vol. 1 No. 1
Works Cited
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002719307/ - Cover Wonder Woman
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_Comics_1 - Action Comics No. 1 Superman
http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Detective_Comics_Vol_1_27 - Detective Comics No. 27 Batman
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_America - Captain America March No. 1
http://digitalcomicmuseum.com/index.php?dlid=14515 - Captain Aero Comic
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:B-17F_Radar_Bombing_over_Germany_1943.jpg -Boeing B
photo
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_Normandy - Landing supplies at Normandy photo and
German infantrymen
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/sep/01/leipzig-flat-poignant-memorial-clean-
beautiful-death-robert-capa-second-world-war - American soldier killed at Leipzig
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_America - Captain America punching Hitler in Captain America
March No. 1
http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Action_Comics_Vol_1_63 -Superman fighting a Japanese soldier
http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Batman_Vol_1_15 - Batman and Robin with a Machine Gun 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_9066#Transcript_of_Executive_Order_9066U -
Transcript of Executive Order 9066
http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Action_Comics_Vol_1_58 - Superman Propaganda against the Japanese
http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Captain_America_Comics_Vol_1_22 - Captain America punching
Japanese soldiers
http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/World's_Finest_Vol_1_8 - World’s Finest Comics
http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Sensation_Comics_Vol_1_13 - Wonder Woman Sensation Comic
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonder_Woman_(2017_film) - Wonder Woman Teaser Poster
Exploring History Vol IV
University of Portland Students

Peter Pappas, Editor
This eBook is a collaborative project of Peter Pappas 

and his Fall 2016 Social Studies Methods Class 

School of Education ~ University of Portland, Portland Ore.
Graduate and undergraduate level pre-service teachers were assigned the
task of developing an engaging research question, researching supportive
documents and curating them into a DBQ suitable for middle or high
school students.
For more on this class, visit the course blog EdMethods 

For more on this book project and work flow tap here.

Chapters in chronological order
1. Mysterious Bronze Age Collapse by Sam Hicks
2. From Revolution to Government by Valerie Schiller
3. Imagination, Innovation & Space Exploration by Molly Pettit
4. The Real Romanovs by Kelly Marx
5. World War I: The Human Cost of Total War by Anna
Harrington
6. Collectivization and Propaganda in Stalin’s Soviet Union by
Clarice Terry
7. Holy Propaganda Batman! by Karina Ramirez Velazquez
8. The Nicaraguan Literacy Crusade by Scott Hearron
EXPLORING HISTORY: VOL IV
i
Engaging questions and historic
documents empower students to be
the historian in the classroom.
Peter Pappas, editor 

School of Education ~ University of Portland
His popular blog, Copy/Paste features downloads of his instructional
resources, projects and publications. Follow him at Twitter @edteck.
His other multi-touch eBooks are available at here.
© Peter Pappas and his students, 2016
The authors take copyright infringement seriously. If any copyright holder has
been inadvertently or unintentionally overlooked, the publisher will be pleased to
remove the said material from this book at the very first opportunity.
ii
Cover design by Anna Harrington
Cover image: Timeless Books

By Lin Kristensen from New Jersey, USA 

[CC BY 2.] 

via Wikimedia Commons

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Holy Propaganda Batman!

  • 1. Understanding World War II through the lens of comic book covers. By Karina Ramirez Velazquez HOLY PROPAGANDA BATMAN! 1
  • 2. Welcome Historians! This book will help us understand World War II through the lens of comic book covers. I will give a brief introduction on the start of the Golden Age of comic books, and after an introduction of the start of the World War II (1939) and how that influence comic books. The essential question for this book is: What can early comic book covers tell us about World War II? The target audience for this book is ninth grade high schoolers. The historical skills that will be studied are sourcing, contextualization, corroborating, and close reading. The final project will be creating your own comic book cover or meme against or for the U.S. involvement during WWII. As well as writing a reflection of 1-2 pages. This introductory page will also give you an idea of how to interact with this book. Introduction Did You Know? INTERACTIVE 1.1 Click the “Did You know?” Tab Meet the Author: Karina Ramirez Velazquez is the daughter of immigrant parents from Michocan and Morelia, Mexico. Scroll up or down the image Click the icons!
  • 3. Comic Book History The Golden Age of Comic Books is a term to describe an era of American comic books from the late 1930's, when comic books where beginning to boom, to the early 1950's. This was the time that modern comics were first published and their popularity increased. Many well known characters where introduced, such as Superman, Batman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel. Most would say that the Success of Superman in 1938 launched the Golden Age of comic books. Superman was the first heroic of the Golden Age comic that perpetuated the launch of the superhero archetype. Characteristics or qualities of a hero or heroine are brave, courageous, valiant, superhuman, bold, fearless, daring, or noble. This also introduced the audience to the villain archetype. Characters like the Joker, Lex Luther, Doctor Octopus, Thanos, Red Skull, and more. Good vs. Evil was given a modern twist through the Golden Age of Comic Books. Most importantly, the Golden Age cemented comics as a mainstream art form that created a new identity in American culture. Batman was first introduced in Detective Comics No. 27 of May 1939. Batman’s popularity did not end at the Golden Age Era. He is now an American cultural icon. GALLERY 1.1 Detective Comics No. 27. May, 1939 REVIEW 1.1 Pow! Pop Quiz Time! Check Answer Batman’s true identity is? A. Steve Rogers B. Bruce Wayne C. Peter Pappas D. Clark Kent
  • 4. Continued ... During the boom of the Golden Age of Comics books the start of World War II was in motion. Between 1939 and 1941 Detective Comics and All-American Publications began to portray their iconic heroes in red, white, and blue. You can see in many of the covers superheroes battling the Axis powers. Comic book sales increased during World War II. Because comic book were cheap, portable, and created a venue of inspiration these lead to authors to create patriotic stories of good triumphing over evil. This is reflected in comic book covers of Captain America dressed in stars and stripes battling Adolf Hitler on his first issue. Superheroes were depicted doing things to help war effort as well. Readers would see them do things like deliver supplies, stop spies at home, and do what they could to help to help at home. Several writers of books were part of the Office of War Information and the War Writer’s Board. The purpose of those organizations were interested in give accurate information about what was happening overseas. After the end of World War II, the superhero genre lost momentum, which many consider that being the end of the Golden Age Era. Boeing B-17 radar bombing through clouds: Bremen, Germany November 13, 1943. GALLERY 1.2 World War II Photos and Comic Book Covers
  • 5. Captain Aero Comics Captain Aero Comics was a war comic of the Golden Age Comic Book, appearing in 1941. GALLERY 1.3 Read through Captain Aero Comic Executive Order 9066: “Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities as defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918, 40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C., Title 50, Sec. 104); Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons
  • 6. INTERACTIVE 1.2 PIONEERS OF TELEVISION | George Takei's life in an internment camp | PBS Watch George Takei’s interview. War at Home Action Comics Vol. 1 No. 58 March, 1943. GALLERY 1.4 World War II Comic Book Covers On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor. This attack led to direct American involvement into World War II. The following day the United States declared war on Japan. During World War II, the United States detained over 110,000 Japanese Americans and relocated them in internment camps. This act is considered to be the largest violations of civil liberties in the nation.
  • 7. Final Project Instructions: Individually or in a group you must either create your own comic book cover or a meme supporting or against U.S. involvement in World War II. Each student must write a 1 to 2 page essay on your reflection of how did early comic book covers tell you about World War II. Can youth culture like comic books or media effect our understanding of an event or perceptions of people? Do you see that happening today? Why or why not? And what was your biggest take away from this unit? Sensation Comic Vol. 1 No. 13 January, 1943 GALLERY 1.5 Examples of a Comic and Meme
  • 8. Reflection Overall I really enjoyed and found value in creating a document based lesson. This semester I’ve been reading, Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James W. Loewen and a quote that really stood out to me was, “What would we think of a course in poetry in which students never read a poem? (pg. 7).” I kept thinking about this quote throughout this project because that’s how high school social studies have been teaching history to students, poetry without poems! I feel document based lessons is an alternative that fixes that problem. It gives students a chance to work with primary resources and challenges them to be the historians in the process. The challenge for me was which primary resources did I wanted to use, and what questions did I want my students to answer. I am glad I got to use a topic that I am super passionate about and be able to use it as my document based lesson project. My plan is to use this next year with my students at OPEN School. What I gained most from this project was the skills of using google and the book author program. I am already thinking of creating another document based lesson on a different subject just so I can continue to grow my skills in using this program to be a better teacher. My only feed back I would give about this project is that it’s a bit difficult for people that may not have a mac device on hand. Comic book heroes like Wonder Woman are still influencing American pop culture today. Many comic book heroes from the past are being converted into live action films to still represent hope for the future. GALLERY 1.6 Sensation Comics Vol. 1 No. 1
  • 9. Works Cited http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002719307/ - Cover Wonder Woman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_Comics_1 - Action Comics No. 1 Superman http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Detective_Comics_Vol_1_27 - Detective Comics No. 27 Batman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_America - Captain America March No. 1 http://digitalcomicmuseum.com/index.php?dlid=14515 - Captain Aero Comic https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:B-17F_Radar_Bombing_over_Germany_1943.jpg -Boeing B photo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_Normandy - Landing supplies at Normandy photo and German infantrymen https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/sep/01/leipzig-flat-poignant-memorial-clean- beautiful-death-robert-capa-second-world-war - American soldier killed at Leipzig https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_America - Captain America punching Hitler in Captain America March No. 1 http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Action_Comics_Vol_1_63 -Superman fighting a Japanese soldier http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Batman_Vol_1_15 - Batman and Robin with a Machine Gun 
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_9066#Transcript_of_Executive_Order_9066U - Transcript of Executive Order 9066 http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Action_Comics_Vol_1_58 - Superman Propaganda against the Japanese http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Captain_America_Comics_Vol_1_22 - Captain America punching Japanese soldiers http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/World's_Finest_Vol_1_8 - World’s Finest Comics http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Sensation_Comics_Vol_1_13 - Wonder Woman Sensation Comic https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonder_Woman_(2017_film) - Wonder Woman Teaser Poster
  • 10. Exploring History Vol IV University of Portland Students
 Peter Pappas, Editor
  • 11. This eBook is a collaborative project of Peter Pappas 
 and his Fall 2016 Social Studies Methods Class 
 School of Education ~ University of Portland, Portland Ore. Graduate and undergraduate level pre-service teachers were assigned the task of developing an engaging research question, researching supportive documents and curating them into a DBQ suitable for middle or high school students. For more on this class, visit the course blog EdMethods 
 For more on this book project and work flow tap here.
 Chapters in chronological order 1. Mysterious Bronze Age Collapse by Sam Hicks 2. From Revolution to Government by Valerie Schiller 3. Imagination, Innovation & Space Exploration by Molly Pettit 4. The Real Romanovs by Kelly Marx 5. World War I: The Human Cost of Total War by Anna Harrington 6. Collectivization and Propaganda in Stalin’s Soviet Union by Clarice Terry 7. Holy Propaganda Batman! by Karina Ramirez Velazquez 8. The Nicaraguan Literacy Crusade by Scott Hearron EXPLORING HISTORY: VOL IV i Engaging questions and historic documents empower students to be the historian in the classroom.
  • 12. Peter Pappas, editor 
 School of Education ~ University of Portland His popular blog, Copy/Paste features downloads of his instructional resources, projects and publications. Follow him at Twitter @edteck. His other multi-touch eBooks are available at here. © Peter Pappas and his students, 2016 The authors take copyright infringement seriously. If any copyright holder has been inadvertently or unintentionally overlooked, the publisher will be pleased to remove the said material from this book at the very first opportunity. ii Cover design by Anna Harrington Cover image: Timeless Books
 By Lin Kristensen from New Jersey, USA 
 [CC BY 2.] 
 via Wikimedia Commons