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Matthew C. Ehrlich
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sammye Johnson
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Joe Saltzman
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Western Illinois University
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University of Southern California
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Middle Tennessee State University
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University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 7 - Spring 2016 - Spring 2018

No Longer Seeking "Truth, Justice and the American Way": Journalists and the Press in Comic Books and Contemporary Film Adaptations

Katherine A Foss


Starting with Superman/Reporter Clark Kent in the 1930s, journalists and the press have held established roles in popular culture adaptations of the comic book stories. In fact, despite declining real-life confidence in the press, comic book films from 1978 through 2003 continued to celebrate the journalist, with the news holding an integral role in these movies. In 2006, a new line of contemporary remakes of the superhero comics began. This study examined the role of journalists and the press/media in the original comic books and their contemporary film adaptions: Batman Begins (2006), Dark Knight (2008), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), Man of Steel (2013), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), and the first season of the Netflix series Daredevil (2015). Findings indicate that journalists play minimal roles in these later films: they have been written out, are killed off, or stray from their reporter identities. Instead, the press remains a faceless media with little power, other than a periodic narrative device, and a villain’s tool. Such representations not only demonstrate public belief in the “death” of journalism, but also miss a vital opportunity to reintroduce the journalist as a “crusader of truth.”

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