various comics from the Cold War era

HIST 538 - Comics in Cold War America

“Comics and Cold War America” examines the Cold War as a political, ideological, cultural, and military contest through the medium of the “comic” as it evolved throughout the post-World War II era. Given the virulent ideological context of the Cold War, Americans from all walks of life had to navigate the daily fissures between the often-competing ideals of national security and social justice. The threat of communism—frequently more imagined than real—imperiled the economic, political, and social rights of those deemed “un-American” by self-professed patriots. By examining Cold War comics, students will have the opportunity to evaluate how these visual arts depicted race, identity, gender, and social justice during a time when many US citizens believed they were engaged in an existential struggle between good and evil.

Course Materials


Lesson 10 - The Future of Race and Morality

Lesson 26 - Constructing Black Superheroes

Lesson 28 - Cold War Virtue, Domesticity, and Femininity

About the Course Designer


Gregory A. Daddis is a professor of history at San Diego State University and holds the USS Midway Chair in Modern US Military History. Daddis specializes in the history of the Vietnam Wars and the Cold War era and has authored five books, including Pulp Vietnam: War and Gender in Cold War Men’s Adventure Magazines (2020) and Withdrawal: Reassessing America’s Final Years in Vietnam (2017). He has also published numerous journal articles and several op-ed pieces commenting on current military affairs, to include writings in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and National Interest magazine. He is the recipient of the 2022-2023 Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award, Pembroke College, University of Oxford.

Read Greg's blog post about the course.