"Superman Says, 'Read!'" National Comics and Reading Promotion

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Between the years 1935 and 1946, National Comics-the leading comic book publisher in the United States-experimented with various strategies such as book lists and juvenile book reviews in order to encourage children and young adults to read books other than comics. This paper surveys these strategies and the work of key persons such as Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, M.C. Gaines, and Josette Frank, in the context of the broader landscape of children's reading and comics publishing. In addition, the paper argues that National's efforts serve as further encouragement for contemporary scholars to reevaluate the role that comics played in the cultural and literary lives of young readers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-263
Number of pages13
JournalChildren's Literature in Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Children's literature
  • Comics
  • History
  • Reading promotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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