1961. American super-heroes to combat aliens and communists.  

1961. American super-heroes to combat aliens and communists.
 

 WW III has happened - this is a post-apocalyptic story set in the future - 1986 (as seen from the viewpoint of the 1960s)  

WW III has happened - this is a post-apocalyptic story set in the future - 1986 (as seen from the viewpoint of the 1960s)
 

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This is a perfect example of why we need to visit the local comic book shop - I found this comic in the discount bin. It is from when I was a sophomore in high school, when much was beginning to change in the Cold War. This is one year before the collapse of the USSR and Glasnost was a buzz word. This comic is an allegory of old VS new, die-hard soviets/Marxists VS Americans in the waning years of the Cold War. Dosysnki stands in for the old guard Soviets who, understandably so, were not happy with the perceived caving in of the Soviet government.

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Rating - 5/5
Reading Level - high school
Basic Premise
A detailed history of how Iran's democracy was derailed by Great Britain and the United States over oil - culminating in the company of BP.
Factual - with the research I have completed, most seems to be on point. The appendix included the original CIA plan from June 1953.
Teacher Thoughts -
This would be a great resource for teaching AP US, AP Euro, or AP World. With the current ongoing Iran-USA negotiations this book could not be more timely. This is a book that could be read in one or two days and used as a jumping off point for further research. It is an unforgiving look at Western policies and how they have shaped some of the current Middle East issues. When European Imperialism is taught, it is often discussed as being over in the early 1900s or maybe even by WWII - however, this book certainly would suggest otherwise. Too often, Westerners read about "those" people in the Middle East and the violence - it is important to understand the historical underpinnings of these recent issues.
The book is beautifully drawn and it is interspersed with text and documents to bring everything together. I personally found it to sum up 60 some years of history quite succinctly and provided me with enough curiosity to complete further research on my own.
Connections -
Imperialism, 1979 Iranian Revolution , Cold War, Containment Theory, propaganda, Atlee, Churchill, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Dulles Brothers.
Potential Issues -
There are a few scenes of violence - nothing over the top. There are also two incidences of sexual activity - but nothing graphic and no nudity
Lesson Ideas
I would begin with a current events lesson on the ongoing nuclear negotiations between the US and Iran. Or perhaps begin with a discussion on 9/11 and why it happened. It would be interesting to see how students "feel" about Iran after reading about this nation through the Western media. These "feelings" could then be revisited after reading this graphic novel. While no side is clearly "good" or "evil" - the lesson is that the study of history matters when understanding current events.
Resources.
App store digital/interactive comic. I have not seen it - would love to hear feedback if anyone looks at it.
http://www.cognitocomics.com/operationajax/
http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB28/
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2003/aug/20/foreignpolicy.iran
http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-cia-index.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/operation-ajax/
http://www.npr.org/2013/09/01/217976304/declassified-documents-reveal-cia-role-in-1953-iranian-coup
http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/19/politics/cia-iran-1953-coup/

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Reading Level - High School
Length - graphic novel.
Basic Premise - Superman lands in the USSR and becomes their political tool.
Teacher Thoughts
The story opens with Lois Luthor (was Lane!) watching a televised speech from President Eisenhower warning America that
..."the Soviet authorities today released to the world secret government pictures of a costumed individual more effective than our hydrogen bomb... An alien superhuman committed to communist ideals" (instead of truth, justice, and the American way!) "whose very existence threatens to alter our position as a world superpower forever". What a great beginning of an awesome novel!
Lex Luther is then employed to come up with an anti-Superman weapon.
Luthor then somewhow caused Sputnik to veer off course to crash in Metropolis to see what Superman will do - Superman comes to America to save them even though he does not like the way the American press has portrayed him. Superman comes face to face with Lois and they have an instant connection - but he flies off wihtout a word as she has Luther's wedding band on. Luthor then plans to use Superman's DNA from the crashed sputnik to create an American Superman.
Superman is accused of being the "opposite of Marxist doctrine... living proof that all men aren't created equal"
Stalin is poisoned and dies.
Luther creates an American Superman - but he is really Bizarro. The two Supermen battle over borders.
The real/Soviet Superman and the monster American one fight in Great Britain - Superman turns the Britishi against the Americna Superman - saying that not everyone wants/needs American protection - certainly the argument over "Americanization" - Americans are the bad guys here - really well done. But then the American/Bizarro Superman sacrifices himself to blow up an American nuclear missle.
Joseph Stalin. Stalin = Man of Steel. Too funny!
After Stalin dies - USSR falling apart and people going hungry. Superman reluctanlty agrees to head the USSR.
Only the US and Chile remain unallied with the USSR - they are the last two capitalist nations on the planet and are headed for collapse. But - Superman is ruling like a dictator.
Batman enters the story - fighting against this domination.
Wonder Woman enters to help with communism - she thinks USA is disgusting as there are so many poor
Connections
Great tie in to American fears of sputnik - lots of parallels of an unseen being in the sky being able to look down upon them.
As the American Superman goes into Great Britain - the USSR Superman tells him that not everyone requires American protection - the Americans are going where they are not wanted.
Soviet terms - Purge. Collective
Lesson Ideas
Propaganda - have students go through the book and bullet the propaganda items that the Soviets are using (hammer and sickle in place of the Superman "S", etc) - then compare to how Superman and Captain American can also be viewed as elements of American propaganda.
Look up Red Son Motion Comic - this is a one hour adaptation of the comic to video

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