Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English Composition



First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Alexandra Cavallaro


Comics and graphic texts require complex engagement from readers, engagement that relies on a developed understanding of text and image, and how they interact to create meaning. There are several theories about how readers engage with comics, many from comic creators themselves, and some from scholars in literature and composition. This project introduces an approach to comics utilizing visual rhetoric, which reconsiders the stricter text/image dynamics often conceptualized in Comics Studies, includes the reader as creator, and explores comics as collaboratively created texts. This approach is applied to Superman: Red Son, a popular text that focuses in on Superman, and Cold War politics, producing a critical conversation about American and Russian relations and their influences in a global context. This project has several goals: to legitimize the superhero comic as a place of important cultural power, to show the collaborative nature of comics, placing writers and artists in equal standing to the work they produce, and to introduce the reader as creator.