Honors Program Theses


Honors Program Thesis (UNI Access Only)

First Advisor

Grant Tracey


Captain America (Comic strip); Brubaker, Ed--Criticism and interpretation;


Comics scholarship is an ever-growing field as the medium continues to expand and reach new audiences. This thesis aims to contribute to legitimizing the study of superhero comics in particular through analysis of how character motivations create sophisticated writing techniques that are also identified in traditional literary fiction writing. Graphic novels can be utilized to tell important stories about a variety of issues, like Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, which addresses queer and gender issues and suicide, and Art Spiegelmen’s Maus by, a discussion of Holocaust and genocide survivors. From a literary standpoint, these types of important original works dominate the arena of comics scholarship, and in comparison superheroes may be perceived as carelessly mass-produced or childish in nature to the uninitiated reader. However, creating a timeline of Captain America’s changes throughout his seventy-five-year history will provide clear insight into how these stories have grown from the World War II Cap, who brutishly overtakes foreign enemies without a thought, to Ed Brubaker’s modern versions of the character, who agonize over the best way to be a good person while still being a good friend. Analysis of Brubaker’s Captain America run (or monthly series) highlights the struggle of characters who are human enough to be relatable to readers’ lives while remaining superhuman enough to be the foundation of a comic book epic.

Year of Submission



Department of Languages and Literatures

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (1 volume (unpaged))



File Format


Off-Campus Download