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Material Values in the Comics: A Content Analysis of Comic Books Featuring Themes of Wealth

Russell W. Belk
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 14, No. 1 (Jun., 1987), pp. 26-42
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2489240
Page Count: 17
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Material Values in the Comics: A Content Analysis of Comic Books Featuring Themes of Wealth
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Abstract

During the past 40 years, four popular U.S. comic books have emphasized themes of extreme wealth: Archie, The Fox and the Crow, Uncle Scrooge, and Richie Rich. Collectively, these comics have provided potential models of the acquisition and use of wealth as well as models for human relationships between haves and havenots. Whether such comic book treatments shape or merely reflect American material values during this period, they necessarily inform our understanding of the significance we attach to consuming and consuming ability in our evaluations of our own worth and that of others. These themes are analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively to determine the nature of such models and messages. Content analyses reveal primarily socially desirable but ambivalent treatments of such themes.

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