Supergirl comics were published in the late 1950’s, in an atmosphere that is considerably different from that in which Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was created. Supergirl comics were created in the post World War II setting, when Americans reverted to their traditional beliefs. In contrast, Batman; The Dark Knight Returns was created during the Cold War era of the late 1980’s, when tensions ran high between the two super powers; the Soviet Union and the United States of America. These two different contexts resulted in the creation of two very different comics, especially, in terms of their representation of violence and crime in the city. In Supergirl, the re-adoption of traditional ideology called for the minimalization of visual representation of violence, whereas, in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, the excessive display of violence in the mass media is reflected in the amount of violence portrayed in this graphic novel. Respect for authority was very highly valued at the time the Supergirl comics were created. In fact, this is seen overtly in the comics when Superman tells Kara to do as he asks (The Supergirl from Krypton 5). Superman is the symbol of authority in this comic because he is the male figure. Males of the time were by default regarded as rational, logical and dependable beings. This very idea of submitting to the male authority figure was highly valued at the time. Therefore, the act of disrespect this figure and overtly disobeying the male authority figure was seen as unconventional and even foreign, as it contradicted the traditional values shared by the public. Acts of violence and crime were downplayed in this comic because of this very idea of respect for authority and tradition. Violence was not seen as an effective means of conducting oneself in society; however, obedience to authority was and thus, violence was minimally represented. In contrast, the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns comics portrays as atmosphere where respect for
Cited: 1958). Supergirl Archives Volume 1. New York: DC Comics, 2001. 11-37.
Supergirl Archives Volume 1. New York: DC Comics, 2001. 39-47.
Supergirl Archives Volume 1. New York: DC Comics, 2001. 48-55.