Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Studies

First Advisor

Richard Popp

Committee Members

Elana Levine, Marc Tasman


Comic Books, Franchising, Mortimer Weisinger, Silver Age of Comics, Superman, Transmedia


My thesis examines the career of Detective Comics’ editor Mortimer Weisinger from 1957-1970, during which time Superman transitioned from a simple character to a complex brand. It details the creation of the character and subsequent growth into multiple mediums. Weisinger’s greatest contribution to the hero was an extended mythology and spin-off comic series. I analyze these series, as well as his other editorial tendencies, to understand the business strategies and management of the Superman brand. Another interest in this thesis is comic book fandom, as feedback from fans allowed National’s management to identify trends. Weisinger’s involvement with early science fiction fan communities preceded his career as an editor, putting him in a unique position as a fan that turned their passion into a career. His management of the Superman line of comics informed the treatment of superhero brands today.