The following study used sales data to ascertain the presence of a link between current socio-political tensions (as measured by the Bulletin of Atomic Sciences’ Doomsday Clock and national crime statistics) and the prevalence and acceptance of so-called “vigilante justice” portrayed in the top-selling comic books during the period between 1989 and 2001. The purpose of this study is to understand what, if any, relationship exists between dark times and desperate measures; between a feeling of powerlessness in world affairs, and the belief that justice outside of the system is acceptable when that system, at home or abroad, fails to keep people safe.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Comic books, strips, etc.--History and criticism; Vigilantes in literature; Comic books, strips, etc.--Social aspects; Comic books, strips, etc.--Moral and ethical aspects; Stress (Psychology)
Communication and Media Technologies (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Communication (CLA)
Heerkens, Gregory, "Justice by any Means: The Relationship Between Societal Stress and the Rise of Vigilantism in Comic Books" (2018). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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