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University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 1 - Fall 2009

On the Front Line: Portrayals of War Correspondents in Marvel Comics’ Civil War: Front Line

J. Richard Stevens


The events of September 11, 2001 dramatically altered the daily routines, expectations, and social contexts that professional journalists normally follow in their production of news. Journalists found that maintaining a critical distance from various sides in a conflict was difficult in the wake of the terrorist attacks on American soil. As a result, the Patriot Act was passed and military action authorized with little or no critical discussion in the press. Recently, Marvel Comics published a comic book series titled Front Line as a companion to its Civil War miniseries. Many of the themes, arguments, and actions performed in Front Line, which is set in a world with super humans, demonstrate the complexities faced by journalists during times of extreme stress (such as enduring a domestic event of mass destruction). This article examines the performance, behavior, and treatment of the Front Line reporters as they operate in their professional capacity to uncover truth, and finds parallels with the news media’s performance following September 11.

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