North, Susan; Warren-King, Bonnie
College of Arts and Sciences
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
Through a combination of rhetorical heightening, idiom, and structure, Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster influenced their young American audience with the first appearance of Superman in 1938’s Action Comics no. 1. Superman’s lack of distinguishing characteristics, dual identity, and embodiment of American culture allowed the character to become a vehicle for Siegel and Shuster, persuading children to be a helper of those in need and champion of the oppressed. Varying panel size and choosing what to show from what not to show allowed Siegel and Shuster to heighten specific moments within Superman’s story. Through metaphor and symbolic modeling, children recognized the impact of helping others in their lives both as a child and later as an adult. The tools that Siegel and Shuster had available to them in this particular medium—such as being able to simultaneously heighten several different moments within the narrative in one panel—make it a unique form of rhetorical heightening in fiction.
M. A.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts.
Superman (Fictitious character)
Action Comics (Firm)
English Language and Literature
viii, 84 leaves
Paris, Sevan Michael, "How to be a hero: a rhetorical analysis of superman's first appearance in Action Comics" (2011). Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations.