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Politics in the Gutters

Carolyn Cocca
author, Superwomen: Gender, Power, & Representation

In Politics in the Gutters, Christina Knopf has made a tremendous contribution to many fields - political science, media and communications, literature, American studies, and comics studies. Clear, detailed, and easy to read, this enormous undertaking skillfully illuminates the intersections of comics and real-world politics.

Marc DiPaolo
author, War, Politics and Superheroes

Christina Knopf breaks new ground with Politics in the Gutters: American Politicians and Elections in Comic Book Media. While there are historians who cover comic books and superheroes, Knopf’s writing is far more substantive, going deeper into the real history and politics, making her books unique.


Chistina M. Knopf’s Politics in the Gutters is a great read. Your local or online bookseller will thank you—and ought to send Knopf a thank-you note, too—since, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to order a whole bunch of the comics Knopf writes about, read them, and then come back to Politics in the Gutters again. What’s better than a book that makes you want to read more comics?

Ancillary Review of Books

 Politics In The Gutters is an impressive, fast-paced, and highly-informative study of how politics and comics are, will continue to be, and have for a long time been intertwined


Politics in the Gutter[s] provides a complex and ambitious vision of its subject.

anonymous reviewer

[Knopf] is always EXCELLENT at uncovering evocative and meaningful events in history in which comics influenced the real world, as well as identifying obscure texts with a lot to say, politically, even if they are underappreciated in fandom proper.

Related Publications

  • Knopf, C.M. (2023). Familiarity is the path to the Dark Side: Domesticating political problems with Star Wars. Unbound: A Journal of Digital Scholarship, 3(1), 24-31.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2022). Caped crusaders and cartoon crossovers: A nostalgic look "Beyond" DC superheroes. In D. Brode (Ed.), The DC comics universe: Critical essays, pp. 349-362. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2022). AfterShock’s Rough Riders and the reification of race reimagined. In M. Goodrum, D. Hall, & P. Smith (Eds.), Drawing the past: Comics and the historical imagination, Vol. 1, pp. 212-227. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2021). The Democratic primary debates in political cartoons, or Santa Claus gets voted off Fantasy Island. In R. Denton, Jr. (Ed.), Studies of communication in the 2020 presidential campaign, pp. 83-104. Lanham, MD: Lexington.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2020). The American nightmare: Graveyard voters, demon sheep, devil women, and lizard people. In D. Picariello, ed. The politics of horror, pp. 3-16. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Knopf, C.M. (2020). UFO (unusual female other) sightings in Saucer Country/State: Metaphors of identity and presidential politics. In S. Langsdale & E. Coody (Eds.), Monstrous women in comics, pp. 257-273. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.  

  • Knopf, C.M. (2019). "Carrie Fisher sent me": Princess Leia as an avatar of resistance in the Women’s March(es). Unbound: A Journal of Digital Scholarship, 1(1):

  • Knopf, C.M. (2019). Politics as "the sum of everything you fear": Scarecrow as phobia entrepreneur. In D. Picariello (Ed.), Politics in Gotham: The Batman universe and political thought, pp. 159-176. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Image by Element5 Digital
Image by Element5 Digital

Related Presentations

  • Knopf, C.M. (2022, Apr). “The Statue of Trumpery: Ironic metaphor and the visual ideograph.” Top Paper Panel: Memorializing Public Messages of American Presidents. Eastern Communication Association. Philadelphia, PA.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2021, Nov). “They furnished the pictures, Trump furnished the war: Political cartoons of the fight against COVID and the ‘wartime president’.” News Coverage of Crises, COVID-19, and Campaigns. National Communication Association. Seattle, WA.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2021, Aug). “Compassion and the apocalypse: Commanders (and communities) in Crisis.” Navigating Superhero Communities. Comics Studies Society: WebEx.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2021, May). “‘I am altering the [art of the] deal’; Or, the In-Sidious threat of Dark Side allusions in political satire.” The Imperial March. Realizing Resistance Episode II. Zoom.

  • Knopf, C.M (2021, Mar.). “Mourning in America: Critical nostalgia in the time of MAGA.” The 2020 Presidential Election, Pictured: Framing Theory and Nostalgia during the Biden/Trump Election. Eastern Communication Association. Zoom.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2020, Nov). “Lois Lane & the image of the journalist: Comics Books are a medium with a media message.” Journalism & News Across Cultures & Countries. National Communication Association Annual Convention: Zoom.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2020, Apr). “The fall of the towers and the rise of political comics journalism.” Top Papers in Political Communication. Eastern Communication Association. Baltimore, MD. [Canceled: COVID-19]

  • Knopf, C.M. (2019, Nov). “‘Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?’: Graphic politainment endorsements of voting amid expressions of cynicism.” Scholarship on Political Participation, Deliberation, Voting and Issue Ownership of Science in Politics. National Communication Association : Baltimore, MD.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2019, Jul). “Presidential superzeroes: Parody or punditry in comic book political satire.” Comics Studies Society: Toronto, ON.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2019, May). “‘We have everything we need’: The Anti-Imperial March.” “You are being rescued. Please do not resist.” Digital Frontiers 2019: Realizing Resistance. University of North Texas. Denton, TX.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2019, Apr). “Hey, voters! Comics!: Campaign comics, election specials and graphic biographies.” Top Papers in Political Communication. Eastern Communication Association: Providence, RI.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2019, Apr). “Cartoon commemoration and commentary on the death of John McCain.” Bidding Senator John McCain Goodbye: Memorializing Across Genres & Contexts. Eastern Communication Association: Providence RI.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2018, Nov). “Playful politics in political parodies: Editorial cartoons in comic book form.” Politics in Play: Satire, Affect, & Cartoons. National Communication Association: Salt Lake City, UT.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2018, Oct). “Campaign carnage: Horror and politics in comic books.” Political Horror. Popular Culture Association, South/American Culture Association, South: New Orleans, LA.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2017, Nov). “Legacies of colonialism and race in presidential steampunk superhero comics.” Commemoration, Memorialization & Nostalgia: Analyzing Race, Memory and Politics. National Communication Association Annual Convention: Dallas, TX.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2017, Nov). “I’m with h↑m to make Star City great again: Arrow’s mimetic mayoral campaign.” Taking Aim at CW’s Arrowverse: Costumed Heroes, Cultural Critiques, and Commercial Implications. National Communication Association: Dallas, TX.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2017, May). “Sighting UFOs (unusual female others) in Saucer Country: Metaphors of identity & politics.” Monstrous Women in Comics Conference. University of North Texas. Denton, TX.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2017, Apr). “A rhetoric of monstrosity: Towards a definition of the American political horror genre.” Humor, horror, & pop culture in politics. Eastern Communication Association: Boston, MA.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2016, Nov). “Remembering the Cold War in DC The New Frontier: New truths, comic book justice, a different American way.” The Red Menace in the American Imagination: Rethinking the Cultural Experience of the Cold War. National Communication Association: Philadelphia, PA.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2016, Apr). “Four-color politics: Ideology and the presidency in DC’s Prez 1973-2015.” Top Papers in Political Communication. Eastern Communication Association: Baltimore, MD.

  • Knopf, C.M. (2015, Oct). “A fatal femme: How Bomb Queen re-genders politics and war.” POP Girls: Reconsidering the Feminine in Popular Genres and Media Forms. PROJECT: Comic Con Academic Mini-Conference. St. Louis, MO.

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